Marvin Lewis Press Conference Transcript

Opening comments:"The key to the game that I set out when I talked to our guys last Monday was, 'We can't turn the football over.' This was going to be a real key to beating the New Orleans Saints. Obviously we accomplished that goal. We had the one fumble which set us back a bit, but we didn't turn the football over. That was big in the game.

"I thought we had to be able to play more physical at the line of scrimmage. I thought offensively we showed signs of that, but not as good as we wanted. Defensively, we had plays of that, but not consistently long enough, and we allowed the big run and a couple other runs where we didn't fit correctly. They got first-down runs and obviously, the big touchdown run.

"I thought the other thing that would be important was third down. They're obviously a very good team on third down. We did a very good job defensively on third down. Offensively, not as good as we'd like, but if you put the fourth downs in there, that's a pretty good percentage. That's what I was looking for, and I thought we won that part.

"Where we lost the game was the explosives (plays). You have two to three offensively, including the pass interference, but defensively you give up five plays of that magnitude, and all the field position that we gained through special teams and offensively making some first downs, we kind of gave back. Those are the things that disappoint you. There were some positives there, but not enough of them to push over the hump and get the win, and that's my responsibility."

On continuing problems with penalties, particularly pre-snap penalties:"Well, we had a couple with the cadence. They hurt us on offense."

More on crucial plays:"Obviously, we missed the extra point. I choose to go for it on the fourth down (in the second quarter), and we don't get any points out of that drive, which was big. We gain the two-point conversion, but we left at least three points out there, no question. And we had an opportunity at third-and-one another time that ended up being third-and-6 and set us back."

On getting more consistent play from the return teams:"I thought it was our best this year, the best game we've played in the return area consistently. We've been close. We've had close returns, but that was the most, other than on the first kickoff return, when we were just one guy away, but that one guy made the play at the 20-some yard line. We've been working hard at it. We've gotten some guys settled in for a few weeks in a row, and I think that shows. And I think on both sides that's occurred. You go through losing the defensive players like we have to injury, and the guys playing in those areas are now playing on defense, and it makes a little bit of a difference."

On why Bengals did not call a timeout with a minute left, looking to preserve time after a presumed Saints tying field goal:"They had three timeouts left. When we hold them to a field goal there, then we accept the kickoff. Now they have an opportunity to get the ball back with 40 seconds left. So, it's a matter of how you want to play it. You can look back on it now and say, 'Maybe if you had done this ...' but they had three timeouts left. If I call a timeout, they will get the ball back. If we don't make a first down, they have the chance to get the ball back with 40 seconds and field position, unless we return the kick to midfield.

"I don't know that it happens that way all the time. So the percentage of that was probably more the other way, that we are going to start at the 25-30 yard line at the most. And if we throw the ball, they have the ball and a timeout, just needing a field goal. I thought we'd force them to kick the field goal (with 30 seconds left by not using a timeout), and we would go into overtime."

On Terrell Owens seeming frustrated in his postgame remarks:"I don't know what Terrell's comments are. Sorry, I don't always read what Terrell says. I'm sure he's frustrated. We're all frustrated. And we are not here to lose football games."

On whether Saints explosive plays were caused more by mental or physical mistakes:"I don't think its physical. Well, maybe one was. I think it's just understanding the concept and going to play it and making the play. We undercut a ball. You can't do that. We got beat on the double move. We didn't' fit a gap right on the long touchdown run. We had two other coverages we could have played considerably better. But there are a lot of those plays occur in a game. Lot of those plays are played correctly, and they become a positive the other way around. But on those particular ones, we didn't play correctly. They were good enough to execute it and get up and down. We made some of our own. But those two weren't good enough."

On if he talked to Pat Sims about his crucial offside call:"One play didn't lose the game. There are a lot of plays we could have turned around and played better. Brees does a good job moving his left foot and draws Pat."

On Bernard Scott, Evan Mathis and Anthony Collins seeing significant action:"I think with Evan, that's the most he's played this year. I think he made a good contribution. With Anthony, the more he's gotten an opportunity to play, he's used his snaps and they've been good, positive snaps. He had a couple errors that we'd like to get corrected. Bernard's had snaps in every game, but I think this was the most yardage he's gained. He did a nice job of being patient. He's just got to stay with it. Bernard's going to be in the game at a certain point in order to give Ced (Benson) a breather, because you can't know how the drives are going to get dictated. It gives us a little bit of a change of pace, because of his style of running."

On Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap raising the level of pass pressure:"They're doing a good job. It's good to see. It's been one of the positives to come out of this, those guys and their development. They're building some confidence that they can put pressure on the quarterback, and they are. They made him (Drew Brees) throw the ball out of time a bunch. He's usually able to check it down to the guy standing in the flat, but we were tackling the catch and getting off the field, and that's what you have to do. Those guys have done a good job. I think it has built confidence that they keep getting better and better. Some of the things they're doing are better and more efficient, and then just their individual rush (has gotten better)."

On Dunlap's progression:"He's still catching up. You wish this was the way it had been in August. You wish he would have seen the impact he could've had. Nobody's going to give it to you. You have to prove it and show it play after play. I think his practice habits have improved and he's been rewarded with playing more, and that's what we told him from the start. It's no different from the progression that Andre (Smith) went through. You've got to show it here in practice, and then you'll get an opportunity in the game, and he's making good on it in passing situations and in base downs."

On Dunlap's natural abilities:"He's a big man with long arms who can run, and he's smart. He makes very few assignment and game plan errors. He understands his job inside and out. Even the week he was sick and missed practice, he sat in the meetings and came back and he was 100 percent right doing things on Saturday when we put him out there for the workout. I told Jay (defensive line coach Jay Hayes) to give him all the snaps just so I knew whether we could dress him or not, and he did a good job."

On Dunlap's sense of urgency:"It's getting a little better. He's still got a ways to go. I think he just needs to keep doing it. He can be special if he turns that corner."

On Geno Atkins getting a second wind the last couple weeks:"I think that, and just learning to play the game at this level. In preseason, you're playing a lot against guys who are no longer playing right now. You show a little better. It's been good for him. He's playing a lot of snaps as a rookie player and this is a good first year for him."

On the growth of Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley:"They're both conscientious guys. They feel bad when they have a bad play, and they come back and make a good play. Jermaine gives up a sack and then comes back and makes a third-down catch. Those are the kind of things you want to see from him. If he's not making a blocking assignment right the first time, next time around he usually nails it and blocks the guy into a pretzel. That's the type of guy that he is. Jordan is kind of the same way. If he's not quite right with Carson, he gets it right and keeps going."

On Gresham's two-point conversion:"It just comes from playing. He did a good job getting his feet in the end zone, and Carson does a good job getting him the ball, and he made the contested catch. But those are things you have to do by continuing to play. He missed some practice time and had some error, and it showed up a little bit."

On if he's happy with the team's effort:"I am. I'm very happy with that, and I want to correct something. It's not that these guys don't expect to win. They do expect to win. They expect to make the plays at the end of the game to win it. I don't see a lack of confidence. Even yesterday when New Orleans got the ball (for their final drive), that someone would tip the ball, make a play and we would win the game. A team that doesn't expect to win doesn't return the ball to midfield. Same thing at the end of the first half. You don't make the play on the squib and get it to midfield if you don't expect to do well. You have the ebb and flow of the game."

On the locker room responsibility and accountability the players are showing:"I think there is a lot of that. There's real good leadership by the guys. It's not one thing. It's my responsibility to get it all right for 60 minutes so that we can enjoy a big win. This is what we need. Maybe I haven't gotten my job right as well as I could, or as I tell them, 'When you're in the NFL, your good players need to go and win the games for you.' I think that's what has to happen. Guys have to go win the game. Be the guy that makes the play to give you an opportunity to win the game."

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