Marvin Lewis News Conference Opening Comments:
"There wasn't a lot to be happy about with yesterday's game. The important thing is to take the critical look at it, and move forward and make corrections. We didn't play well in any area that you'd feel good about. It's a tough Monday; time to go to work, play better, and improve. There's nobody here but the people in the building to get it done, and they have the ability to get it done. I have confidence in that."
Did you see any indicators of that level of play during the week leading up to the game?
"We had a good week of preparation. But you have to play well in all phases. Particularly defensively, 11 guys have to fit together all the time. That's really important. Offensively, we were able to move the football, and then stalled on third downs. We ended up with so many third-and-longs yesterday. You don't want to end up in that situation. The plan for the game ended up being flipped from where we would have liked to been. The tables were turned."
Why do you think the 'little things' that players are talking about aren't necessarily being fixed? Is that surprising?
"Its a constant. There's always little things to fix. It's a good message from them. It doesn't surprise me. I came in here all last season with the same little things to fix, and we'd come out on top in the score. That's part of professional football. Eleven guys have to stick together all the time and do it right. We're not going to be happy with it when it's not all the way right. You get pleased with some things and have to correct other things. That's where we are."
Are you surprised by the uneven play from the offensive line?
"We can play better. I thought we did a lot of good things yesterday. When you have pressure at times, it comes from different groups. It's not always their responsibility. They get the brunt of the commonality of it. We need to play better. We need to play better there, and all the way around. We have to give the quarterback opportunity and time. Sometimes its up to him to make sure he takes care of it.
"The good thing is, Andy continues to play very well. He plays within himself and takes care of the football. Our receivers and backs are as well. We have to continue with those huge positives and moving people up front. Those are good things and we have to stay on that course. As I said after the game, we had two red-zone opportunities and converted both of them. There are things to keep going on, yet a lot of areas to improve."
Was it encouraging to see patience from Andy Dalton facing such a deep deficit to get out of?
"Yes, and the same goes for all the people with the ball in their hands. You need to make sure you protect the football first, then continue to work for yards and plays down the field. You put more pressure on your protection as well when you have to fight your way back."
Has it been good to see Brandon LaFell step up and solidify himself as the No. 2 option?
"I think with one of Brandon's TDs yesterday, Andy moves and makes a throw. On the second one, Andy makes a good throw and Brandon had the good route and the opportunity to get free and make the play. Like with the catch in the middle of the field, he continues to make good plays. I'm pleased with the things he is doing. His leadership throughout the football team is important."
What do you look for in a response from players after a game like that?
"The NFL is so different now. Our players saw the video on the plane last night. By the time they come here today, they've seen it two or three times. They know the plusses and minuses. That's what you have to feel good about; they know what they have to do better."
Does it say a lot about the character of the team in how they will respond to this?
"Oh, yes. They won't feel sorry for themselves. They don't have the opportunity for that. They have to buckle down and get to work."
Was it surprising to see Dallas so effective, given that they didn't do anything too surprising or different from their style?
"As you said, Dallas is paid, too. They're a good football team. They did good things and executed well yesterday."
Did Jeremy Hill reinjure his shoulder?
"No. He's not serious, but he did land on a sore spot, so he'll be ready to go on Wednesday."
Was his lack of touches before that part of him being scaled back?
"Yes, just to try to protect him as much we could. Rex (Burkhead) was a little banged up going into last week, so we should be better off next week."
Gio Bernard really seemed to put forth his best effort in replacement ...
"I think Gio carried the football a little more than he's done, yet still had his usual amount of catches. He had a bigger portion of the offense yesterday and did a really good job. He did a good job in protection and all the things he's asked to do."
How do you start to find some form of consistency as a team?
"I think the positive that I can take away from the sideline yesterday was the fact that we gave up a first score, the offense moves to midfield. We punt it from the 40, they get a holding on first down, now they get the ball on the five, and score a 95-yard touchdown drive. We move the ball again, punt, and they score again. After all of that, nobody's demeanor changed. They knew responsibility-wise the errors they made. Then we miss a field goal and the first play after on defense we give up a 60-yard run. We again stayed to the course. We ran out of time a little bit, but stayed the course. A lot of people would become very divisive at that point, and we didn't have that. Guys understood responsibility and the mentality of 'I need to do that better.' To that point, there was some character gain yesterday."
How do you flip that consistency into actual production?
"The offense felt like they needed to make some explosive plays. We had a ball down the field, and A.J. (Green) felt like he needed to make a play on the ball, and Andy felt like he needed to get the ball a touch further. You want to have an opportunity to make those plays when they exist. It's about finishing on the block a bit better and springing the runner that much more. They're all saying the right things. There's a lot to correct on defense and the same thing on special teams. We're one block away. We can't have a holding play or take-down the very first play, albeit when its good bad or indifferent. We can't do it."
So you're looking for those types of 'spark plays'?
"Yes. We had a chance to down a punt and the ball goes in the end zone. Those kind of things the team understands that you have to do in order to win close games. They make a huge difference."
That turnover (fumble) of theirs could have been a touchdown for you ...
"The learning lesson there is in traffic, make sure we get the ball. When we've got it out of traffic, it becomes a different situation. Them getting the ball is so important. It was a good job by our guys keeping it alive. When they have it, Dansby comes and knocks it off their guy, when Geno (Atkins) first doesn't recover. Those things you do in training camp all the time where the defensive line looks at you like you're crazy when you talk about bending your knees and being a shortstop to scoop it up. That's why. Dansby did a good job of knocking it away from their guy, and Vinny Rey was able to get it after Dre fumbled it away trying to get it. We kept moving the ball toward our goal-line, which is good."