Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 27, 2014
"I will tell you that after watching the tape last night, and then this morning again, the things that were pleasing about the game, and were huge in the game, was taking the ball and going down the field the first series, and then the goal-line stand by the defense. When you have a goal-line stand, and keep all points off the board, those are generally big, big transitions.
"The turnovers the defense created were great, but we had three other opportunities, particularly two interceptions we had in our hand. We have to come down with those plays. I think we had our hand on two balls in the first 12-13 plays.
"The short yardage by the offense were keys to the football game. The defense did a much better job in the second half on third-down conversions. In the kicking game, we're being productive there, we just have to keep it up and get better. We keep ending up with some new guys. We have to keep doing what we're doing and doing it better."
Your secondary has done such a good job of not allowing big plays. Is it just as simple as to say these guys have been playing together for so long that that's a big part of why they've been so good?
"Part of it is the experience of you recognizing situations, alerting each other pre-snap, pre-series, formationally, setup wise, situation in the game -- all those kind of things. It all works hand-in-hand, and obviously the ability to have the deep speed. Those are a couple of very fast guys Baltimore has, and guys that have vertical take off speed, and it was a great job there yesterday by Terence (Newman) in the couple of times he was challenged with that. He was running like he did in 2003, when he came out."
You mentioned after the Indy game your disappointment with lack of attacking. Were you pleased with mentality of attacking a little more?
"People are getting the ball out of their hands, and that's part of it, and we have to keep doing it, and then covering it when it comes out, and being able to rush. We saw quite a bit of six and seven-man protection yesterday, which has been the norm. When we got the five-man stuff we were able to get good pressure. That's part of the game, being able to adjust to what we're seeing by situation and down and distance."
Were you thinking about challenging Marquis Flowers' near INT?
"I was told his feet weren't in."
You mentioned that play up front on offense and defense was going to be big in the game. Did you like what you did in that regard?
"I felt like we held our own. At a minimum we held our own. We didn't have a free runner on the quarterback, which was a good thing. I thought the identification was good, the recognition was great, and the same thing defensively. This is a group whose blocking style is to try to get you on the ground, and you're going to have a guy occasionally go on the ground, but we have to keep getting better at that. We did okay. We have improvement to make."
The last couple of weeks you've talked about guys on defense trying to do too much. How much better were you yesterday with that?
"We were a little better. We still have a ways to go. You can't allow the last play to affect the next play, positively or negatively. You have to keep playing it each play at a time, and play with what your eyes see and what your responsibility is."
How did Geno Atkins play this game compared to what you had seen the past six games?
"He keeps getting good pressure. He keeps playing very well in the run game. That's the key thing to keep doing that, because that's the way back. He was credited with his first (solo) sack of the year, which is a good thing. He has his quickness and penetration, and the things that Geno does, and the more opportunity we have to get in passing situations, the more opportunities Geno has to make plays as a pass rusher."
You said you were happy with the progress you saw in A.J. Green last week. Does the factor of the Thursday night game after this weekend affect your thoughts on bringing him back this week?
"We're just looking at everything one game. He's been doing very well. We'll see how things are this week, and how he comes through the week."
A couple of guys got stung a little bit, with Kevin Zeitler with the calf and Vontaze Burfict with the knee. Do you have anything to report on those guys?
It wasn't real bad news though?
"It's not bad news, but we've got some bumps and bruises, the usual thing that you have after the game. The biggest thing is as we go through the week to see how guys bounce back from things."
Did you notice the play from yesterday being as good on film as that of the first three games this season?
"I thought we played better, really. We didn't play as good as you guys said we did in the first three wins. Offensively, we did good things in the passing game in those three games, and at some point made explosive plays. Mohamed (Sanu) made a couple explosive plays yesterday, not quite for touchdowns. We were better on third down on offense yesterday.
"We weren't as good on defense on third down as we'd been. Those are key elements. Some of the things we did much better. You've got to have progress. We're obviously playing with some different people, particularly at linebacker and on defense at times. That's part of it too. We've got to adjust. That's the way it is right now. We have to play with the people we have, and move forward, and we're finding different ways. Greg Little has come in and made a huge contribution in his second game for us, and that was great."
How much of playing better yesterday is because of the adversity you've had to go through with injury and having to come from behind late to win?
"We kind of stayed the course, and didn't hang our heads and let it get worse. Andy (Dalton) did a great job of making a very big third down play by moving the pocket, avoiding the rush, and then Mo (Sanu) coming up with the big catch. That was a huge play in the game, because the first-down ball kind of sailed away from Andy a little bit. It was probably a ball he shouldn't have thrown up in there without having seen clearance. Then the second-down ball was a little low, and Greg (Little) can't quite get to it. Then it's third down and 10, and I'm thinking about maybe having to play defense, and seeing that there's three-something on the clock and three timeouts. That's the scenario we're in right there unless we make up considerable yardage."
Are you happy you didn't have to try and make that decision there?
(Laughs) "That's a good decision not to make. Unfortunately, those are the decisions we get into there. We had three timeouts left, and the two minute warning, so I think you've got to punt the football if that situation arose."
You've mentioned that Andy has had a great propensity since day one of blocking out bad plays and moving on to the next one. Mohamed Sanu seems to be able to do the same thing. He stays very even-keeled, doesn't he?
"That's part of his personality and makeup. He's a well-put together, well-rounded guy. He's a pro. He's making huge contribution."
Is there any trait your three veteran corners share?
"I think the biggest thing they share is football. They share the ability to learn football, to understand football, and to communicate it very well. That's the key element. They're all three good leaders. They all do it a little differently, but they are good leaders, and want to win very badly."
Since 2012 they've really been a cornerstone to the team...
"Obviously Adam (Jones) has done so well, and continues to still, with his maturity in the league to keep working to get better. He keeps listening to coaching, keeps taking to coaching. Huge play yesterday when he kept the kickoffs in. We haven't seen him do that. So he showed great judgment there. That was a positive step forward for things and for the football team. In fact he even corrected me the one time and said 'You know coach, they're kicking off from the 20, alright?' And I said, 'Oh, okay, I forgot. 'Take care of the ball here. Make a good decision.' "
That's a little different from how Leon Hall might respond...
"Well, it's like you're talking to a Doberman, particularly on game day when you talk to Adam. A hungry Doberman."
Three different guys have multiple interceptions this season...
"That's good but we've got to keep it up. We should have had one more on the third down, and we all would have rested quicker. We've just got to keep doing those things right all of the time. Play the situation, play the play, and make plays on the football."
It's probably not surprising to you that the AFC North race is so close ...
"We always realize that. We know that we're always battling Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, and Cleveland might be the most talented team in the division. That's the way we've always felt. There are four very good teams that are going to play physical and tough, and you've got to play your best football. That means taking care of the football, it means being efficient on defense, getting off the field, and when you get opportunities to take the ball away on defense you've got to make them."
It's the only division where everyone has a winning record. How big was it to get the sweep over Baltimore?
"It's big as we keep going and taking care of our business. We've got to keep taking care of business. The next opportunity is Jacksonville, and we've got to really focus on them. I'm not sure what their record is, but they're a very, very good football team. They've got big, strong, explosive guys up front. Their secondary plays well, and offensively, they've got great skill guys. I know they're playing with a young quarterback, but he's really talented. This is going to be like an AFC North game when their defense walks out on that field."