MARVIN LEWIS PRESS CONFERENCE – MONDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2014
"I think as we move forward, we look to be able by Wednesday to hopefully get back to full speed with things. You know, it was a physical football game last evening. We've got some guys with the normal bumps and bruises, but time should help us to get over those and get guys back to work and involved this week in the (game) plan. I think the game last night, after going back and watching the video, we probably weren't patient.
"We showed a lot of patience at times, but offensively, it was a night we needed to be patient all the way through. We were able to move the ball on some drives by converting third downs and being patient making first downs, and we probably needed to do a better job of that throughout the night. The turnovers kill you. It's hard to overcome the turnovers. It took points off the board, it took field position off the board. We were able to maintain after the first interception (and) get the ball back and go ahead and drive for a score. Those are things that are important and then obviously, the punt return is a huge factor in getting us beat, and we were kind off on some of our returns. We didn't get any real punch to handle with any of the kick returns. And then lastly and obviously, we gave up the big play at the end defensively, so we have an opportunity to fight back in the football game but we don't get it finished out.
"But that's behind us and we really have to move forward and focus on what's important now. It's a new season. It's brand new and everybody starts from scratch. We've got to have great preparation for this week in traveling over to Indianapolis."
What did you need to have more patience about as a football team in your view? Play calls? Running plays?
"Patience. Patience all the way through everything. Just everything we do – (be) more patient and keep going and we'll be fine. We made plays, we scored, we did what we needed to do – we just needed to stay patient with it and understand that."
Is that a big thing this time of year – having perspective if you get behind by a score and being able to stick with the game plan?
"I think it's always important. Obviously, this time of the year where we are now has more urgency to it, but you can't lose sight of the plan. And the players can't lose sight of the plan, and they can't flinch. They have to stay on course and stick to the plan."
Is that harder to make guys remember because it's January and a playoff game, which guys wait all year for?
"No, I think it's probably a lesson that's been well-learned now though the experience of what it is and (just needing) to stay with it."
On the late touchdown in the Pittsburgh game to Antonio Brown, was Dre Kirkpatrick in pretty good position?
"He was in pretty good position; the ball ended up on the other side. That happens. That's one for them."
Could you see Kirkpatrick staying in a rotation at cornerback with Terence Newman coming back?
"I'm not going to comment on how we'll play our guys."
Can you put your finger on what has contributed to the lack of the downfield passing game over the course of the last month or so?
"Well, people aren't going to give up a big play (willingly) and that's part of being patient. You can stand guys as deep as you want them, and just take them off and run them at the snap. People don't want a big play, and you can usually prevent them that way. The ball has to be completed underneath and you've got to work the length of the field. If that's what our task is, that's what we have to do. We've got to be patient with it and run it, and consistently run it as we did at times, and then you end up in the same spot eventually. That's all that matters."
You had a good 15-play drive late in the game …
"It was there throughout the football game. We had a long drive and missed a field goal. We had a drive in the first half and we threw an interception when we got down there. Those things happen. We had a drive there in the fourth quarter where we fumbled the ball, so those are all drives with patience. The ball wasn't going down the field … But we have to have accurate throws, we have to catch it, protect it and then run it. That's all part of it as well, and it converts to the same thing defensively. We have to recognize patience and play it one snap at a time. I know that the ultimate goal is to just get off the field."
Is that – patience – the word for the week?
"No. It's my word for yesterday."
Does it seem like it's been a long year for you?
"There were some guys that were in the room a year ago after the season was ended and you've got to give them credit for being here again. Now all the things that were 'would've, could've, should've' get a chance to be rectified. (You) get an opportunity to make the very, very best of it and a chance to be world champions. It's there in front (of us) one (game) at a time and now you've got a chance to do something about it."
How do you feel this team is different than it was a year ago heading into the playoffs?
"Well I don't know about last year's game. It's a different football team. That was last year's team. I don't even remember who was on last year's team."
How is it different?
"This is this year's model. I can tell you what's different from the team that opened up the season against whoever we opened up against? (Was it) Baltimore?"
Yes. What's different?
"There was a lot of enthusiasm of players offensively, this guy and that guy – those guys aren't playing. We've got a different feel to us offensively. We've got a different feel to ourselves defensively than we did at the beginning of the season. That's what's important now. Wherever we are, we've created our own identity that way and the same thing special teams wise. As the season goes on, you matriculate into certain things, so I think that's the key element of it -- we have a pretty good understanding right now of who we are, where we are, and now we've got to use it to our advantage."
In preparing for this game, do you pull a lot from the previous meeting with the Colts or is it hard to do that since these teams are so different now?
"Well, again, I think we're still within a lot of the same people, a lot of the same people who were in the Indianapolis game up there. They beat our tails, so they handled us and they certainly have our attention."
Were you pleased with how the running game was played defensively last night?
"They really didn't run the football very often, so for the limited runs we had, I thought we did a good job. The one where they got the holding penalty called (against them), we kind of lost our minds. We didn't exhibit patience on that play. We exhibited more panic than patience but it got called back with them tackling Brandon (Thompson) at the point of attack. But, yes, throughout the day, there were some good things. Early in the football game, we missed about three tackles that made a huge difference."
Is there more pressure that comes with a playoff game?
"Well, the pressure of the playoff is the finality of it. That's all. That's part of what it is. That's why they call it playoffs. It always is the same. Only one team at the end gets to feel good about things."
Do you treat this week differently -- in terms of preparation -- than you do during the regular season?
"Our players need to know (to do) whatever it takes. I think that's the thing: They've got to buy into 'This is why you do this.' Some people don't ever even get these opportunities, so you've got to be all in, and do everything possible that you can do as a player to be the best prepared you can be."
There have been several guys who have been through the losses the last few years; do you want that feeling to stick with them as they prepare for this game?
"Nothing can stick with them other than you move forward and it's a new thing to move on. The preparation and the opportunity, it all has to come together."
How has your personal mindset from 2005 to the present changed regarding the playoffs?
"I don't know that my mindset has changed a lot. I think in '05, I still had the same focus of what ultimately was most important and the steps that it took along the way to get there. Fortunately, I've been through those things before, so I knew what was important.
"When I started out in the NFL in Pittsburgh, we didn't win a playoff game for three years, so I knew what that took. We had the best record in the AFC and got beat in the second round, so I had been in those situations before. I knew what it took and had been to the championship game and lost. So when we got our chance to do it in to the championship game in Baltimore – maybe I had a little more say so in some of it – I thought our guys were on point and they played very well. I think that's what we have to do, so it's not for a lack of knowing how to do it, but we've just got to convince the guys and massage them, and be repetitive with doing it."
Do you feel the group you have now is as receptive as the group you had in 2000?
"I can't compare that."
Do you feel good about them buying what you're selling?
"I feel good about the leadership of our players from the guys from within, and them bringing it together as they did last evening afterwards and realizing that's behind us now. It's disappointing, but it's behind us and now we start over."
Do you think the identity that is formed is closer to a playoff identity than some of the other teams you've had before?
"I don't buy that. I think this is the identity of this group. You're going to keep asking questions and I'm still not going to compare one to another ever (laughs)."
Would you say this is the best running team you've had? The stats would say that.
"If the stats say that, then I'll agree with you (laughs) … If the stats say it, then it must be true, right? It helps in January on both sides of the ball (if you run the ball well). We have to play great – great – against the opposing quarterback as well."
You had an unbelievably talented defense in 2000 with Baltimore. This team may be structured in a different way, but do you feel you have enough components to follow the blueprint of 2000?
"I think the one thing that's consistent is that every week we felt like we had to play better. We felt like we hadn't done anything and we keep that mindset as a football team here. That's the thing – you haven't arrived. There's only one arrival and it comes a few weeks from now, so let's go to work."