BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
OCT. 12, 2014
PANTHERS AT BENGALS
Initial comments ...
"You want to come away with a victory there. That's a shame. For all the things we didn't do right throughout the game, to fight back in and get the opportunity a couple times throughout the game and then not get it done is disappointing.
"But again, it's what we got today. When you don't make the field goal at the end ... I think offensively and defensively, we have enough corrections to make to move forward with in every area. There were a lot of good plays today. We moved the ball up and down the field offensively, but we can't have the turnovers that we had, which hurt us. And then the penalties throughout the day were the two things that really set us back. Those are the things that we have to correct and do better. You can't have those kinds of penalties in a football game like this. All you do is extend their drive, and when the quarterback is a factor to run the football, like Cam (Newton) is, that makes it a tough day."
Mike Nugent made a lot of those kicks like that last year. How do you get his confidence back up?
"He's just got to go back out there and kick it. He's just got to kick the football. Nobody feels worse than Mike."
You put Adam Jones back there to return kicks. Was that a gut thing?
"We played by the game plan. When the plan says to use Adam, we use Adam. It's nothing special, it's just what we planned to do."
Are those guys wrung out, physically and emotionally, as you have seen them in a while?
"You're spent right now. You're spent. I don't know if you're wrung out, you're spent. We had a good week of preparation and we got right to work. You have to bounce back. We have to bounce back quickly."
Can you talk about the offense and how they stepped up in the absence of A.J. Green?
"There were good things on every side of the ball. Offensively, no doubt about it. There were big plays made by Mo (Mohamed Sanu) today. Jermaine (Gresham) got us started and going good. (Brandon) Tate had big plays, and (Dane) Sanzenbacher. That's what you have to do. When you're minus a player guys have to step up and play. James Wright had the big catch there in the overtime."
You have some more guys hurt, are you concerned about the injuries?
"We'll have to patch together and find a way. We'll see how injured we are, but that's what we have to do."
With (Vontaze) Burfict, who had a couple penalties. How do you balance his emotion with making the right plays?
"Do your job. He has to keep doing his job. Play within the rules. If we're contacting with our head on plays, you can't do that. That's part of the rules. Most of the time when he's gotten these fouls, when they've looked at them, they haven't been fouls. I was told on the quarterback run that he didn't need to hit him, but we'll see. It's hard for me to judge. I haven't seen the tape."
How do you sum up today's game?
"It's a missed opportunity. It's a game that we had in control in the first half, and we had the turnover in the second half, which put us a little behind. We gave up the drives on defense and we didn't get the stops on third down. Right, wrong or indifferent, if we don't stop them on third down defensively, the other team is going to move the ball down the field. That's been the case for two weeks now. We have haven't stopped the opponents offense on third down. That makes a huge difference. That's the opposite of what we were doing earlier in the year. We have to do a better job of that. We have to understand it, we have to execute on everything we're doing. We have to do better on third down, whether it's containing the quarterback, or whatever it is — tight coverage, tackling. All of those things go together when you don't play good enough on defense."
What does it appear to be?
"It was a little bit of everything today that we didn't do right. We didn't get off the field on third down. I can't tell you what we didn't do right. I'm not going to tell you what we didn't do right. I haven't watched the tape."
Was it more difficult due to the fact that Cam Newton was more of a dual threat than he's been recently?
"He is a threat. We know he's a threat. We knew that going into the game he was going to be a threat. He was a threat last week. So, that didn't change."
How are you feeling right now?
"It's a weird feeling. I've never been involved in a tie before. We had our chances. It's not a win — that's the thing that's tough. We played hard, and that was shown today. Guys fought really hard and played until the last second, so that was good to see. You want to come out with a win, but it wasn't able to happen."
You did enough to get yourselves in a position at the end of the game to win ...
"You have to have confidence in your team. On the last drive, I thought we'd go down there and put ourselves in a position to win it. We did that — we were close. You can look at the last field goal that didn't work out, but there were so many other opportunities to win before that. It's unfortunate to come out the way it is, but I guess it's not a loss."
Was your arm hit on the first interception?
"Yes, my arm got hit on that one."
What about this game sticks out to you?
"Just the way we played. How hard we fought. If we gave up a touchdown, the offense came out and picked it up. If we turned it over on offense, the defense came out and got a stop. There are so many things that happened that showed what this team is. We knew it would be a physical game, and we stood in there and fought just as hard as they did."
With A.J. Green out today, you had some other guys step up ...
"That's what happens. Other guys have to step up. Mo (Mohamed Sanu) had a big day and was able to step up, and he's a guy who has been around for a while and we have a good feel for each other. Jermaine (Gresham) did a good job stepping up today. Brandon Tate scored a touchdown. At the end of the game, James Wright had a big catch to put us in position. There were so many guys that stepped up. I feel like we have a lot of depth on this team and we showed that today."
When was the last time you were in a tie?
"This is my first time."
Some of the guys in the locker room said they didn't know how to feel. Do you?
"It's a weird feeling. You didn't lose, but you didn't win either. It's strange."
Your first NFL catch was a huge one, putting the team in good field position to attempt a game-winning field goal. Describe that play ...
"The coaches told me to be ready when my number is called, and Andy (Dalton) put the ball on the money — right where it needed to be — and I caught the ball. Things just didn't work out, but we'll be all right. We'll shake back and be ready for next week."
When the game ends up 37-37, it's not a win, but it's not a loss either. You're still unbeaten at home in your last 12 games (11-0-1), but this is one of those games that's hard to deal with, isn't it?
"Nobody likes a tie, for sure. I don't like to lose, but I don't like ties either. We all wanted to win but things happened the way they happened. We're going to keep looking forward, keep getting better and making our strides."
There were more injuries today. Hopefully it's going to turn around and you'll start getting players back instead of losing them ...
"I hope so. We've got a lot left to offer. We had a lot of big-time players that didn't play in the game. Football is a violent sport and injuries happen. We (bounce) back, the next man (steps) up and makes plays."
How does a loss differ from a tie?
"This is my first-ever tie, so I really don't know. I'm pretty much looking forward to Marvin telling us about it tomorrow."
You're out there for four hours, so is it just different than it would be if you just lost a game?
"We didn't play the way we were supposed to play."
How do you describe your emotions after this a tie?
"I really don't know what to feel like. I'm going to lean on Marvin, since he's been through this before. We're going on to next week when we play the Colts."
How much will you kick yourself around for missing this kick?
"You've got to have a short-term memory. I'll learn from it — I know what I did wrong — but it's good to watch it on film. You hate to look back on games and wish you could have that kick back."
Can you think of a more painful moment in your career?
"Probably not, just because it was a very long game. It was a difficult game. I only have one job to do, and I didn't do it today. You've got to be a closer, and I didn't finish it for us."
What did it mean to have Terrance Newman come over and talk to you and put his arm around you to console you?
"It's great. It's tough right now, because it's something hard to face. Like I said, I have one job to do, and when you don't do it, there's going to be a lot of people say that there are a lot of things that went on in the game, but that I've got to do a better job."
You say you've got to have a short memory. That's easier said than done ...
"Learn from it and just move on. I can't really say I'm having a good season anyway. It's not like it's the first moment of the season. The biggest mistake I can make is just not caring about the kick, not watch it, not learn from it and try to work on it. I've just got to learn from it and move on."
How different is it mentally in that situation than at any other time during a game?
"I feel I did a good job getting out there and just thinking it was just another kick. But when I hit a ball like that, my plant foot's really far in front of the ball — I don't want to be that far in front. When I got that way, my toe hit to the right, and I think I just had a little excitement and came in way too quick. It wasn't under control."
What are your emotions after a tie?
"I'm a little discouraged about it, because you always want to get a win. A tie just seems like it's not good enough. A tie could end up biting us in the tail as the year goes on, so you always want to get the 'W.' But it wasn't a loss. The way we played today, we had way too many penalties. It's probably the most penalties I've seen on our defensive side of the ball in years. That's something that's on us that we have to clean up as a unit and as men."
How do you clean it up?
"Just being more disciplined. It starts with doing the little things right, and that goes from Monday to Saturday. If you work on the little things and try to get those things right, the big things will be a lot easier. We kind of killed ourselves today with so many penalties and mistakes. We've got to look in the mirror and see how we can fix this."
As you were driving down the field with two minutes left to go overtime ... did you think you were going to go down and win this?
"Yes, and I think everyone in the stadium did, too. When you have an opportunity there at the end after playing a sloppy, sloppy game — when you still have a chance to win — that's pretty cool. But we didn't. We missed, and we all had a hand in it. We can't point fingers at one person because it's a team effort and a team sport. We all had a hand in that."
There were a lot of penalties. It seemed like every time you guys took a step forward you took two steps back ...
"We had a lot of penalties that we need to eliminate. We have to work throughout the week to eliminate those."
After the loss last week and the tie today, how does this team bounce back?
"We just have to keep working. We're a team that grinds. That's what we have to do."
Does this one hurt?
"Yes, it does hurt. You play your hearts out as a team, and we didn't get the result we wanted at the end."
You played well today. What did you take away from your performance?
"I was just trying to do anything I can to help the team."
Describe the touchdown catch you had ...
"Andy (Dalton) just put the ball where I could go get it, and I did everything I could to come down with it."
There were so many lead changes and so many ties today. Is there any consolation in just staying with it, and continuing to fight?
"Yes, definitely. The mood on the sideline is always up tempo and upbeat. We have a lot of leaders and savvy veterans. We knew we were going to have to go out and make plays on offense. Obviously we would have liked to make that kick at the end, but we just have to live to fight another day."
After these last two games, does your confidence take a hit?
"I think we're still very confident. We had turnovers, and anytime you turn the ball over you're going to have a hard time winning football games. We did some good things out there, but we also did some things we wish we could take back. We're still confident, and we're going to put ourselves in good position to win next week."
You had a bit of a nod to history with the "Ickey Shuffle" celebration ...
"Ever since I got here, fans and people in this building have been asking me to do it. Then the commercial came out, and there's been a lot of buzz. It's good to get out there and have a little fun. Obviously we would like to win the game, but we just have to get back to practicing and working hard."
Does it feel more like a loss than a tie today?
"I think coming off last week, it just feels the same when you don't get the W. We knew what we had to get accomplished going into this game. We didn't get it done, so we have to go into practice this week, prepare well, not turn the ball over, and we'll try to get a win."
You had the longest kick return of your career. How did that feel, and do you look forward to more?
"We didn't win the game."
When guys make a mistake, are you able to stop it during the game, or does it just evolve?
"We go over everything on the sideline, so you have to be professional about what you've done and do your job. Some of the younger guys who are not in the game who get put in later, need to pay more attention on the sideline. We'll look at things tomorrow and get better from it."
Is this something you're going to tell your teammates?
"Oh yes, definitely...tomorrow. It's little stuff that we keep messing up on. It's really simple."
Did you ask (special teams coach) Darrin Simmons to return the kickoff?
"Yes, I did."
Have you asked him before and he's told you no?
"I've done it more in practice. He told me to just be smart with the ball. It all worked out for the best."
PANTHERS POSTGAME QUOTES
OCT. 12, 2014
PANTHERS AT BENGALS
Initial comments ...
What do you tell the team after something like this?
"You talk about the missed opportunities. We had some opportunities to make some plays and some opportunities to stop them from making plays. The biggest thing we have to do is take time to study and understand the mistakes we made."
You've never been involved in a tie as a player or coach, what does this feel like?
"Odd. I really don't know what to tell you. I had to think about what I was going to say to the players. The big disappointment is productivity. Some guys played tremendous football today, but we have to go back and correct the mistakes we made. It's the little detail things that come back to bite you in the end."
What was your thought process behind kicking a field goal at fourth-and-one?
"A little too much. It was hard to see how far we had. If it had been a little bit inside the one where I was trying to get it to be, I thought about going for it. But it was outside the one, so I figured we would kick it and see what happens."
Given the way the game ended, and you were seemingly on the verge of a loss, does this feel better than you expected?
"Very much so, even for a half game in first place. We are going to build off this and continue getting better."
The kickoff after the touchdown ...
"Disappointing. Very disappointing. We had an opportunity to get after it, and they split us right up the gut. Our guys on the inside have to know they've got to squeeze down and eliminate the holes. Pacman (Adam Jones) hit it full stride. It was a great effort by the guys who were chasing him down to try and give us a chance."
Defensively you scored 37 points. Is that a game you should win?
"Without a doubt you would like to believe you're going to win, but it goes back to not making mistakes. A good offensive team like Cincinnati took advantage of the mistakes we made and made something happen."
From your vantage point could you tell their final field goal was no good?
"Well the biggest giveaway was their crowd. It was silent. As soon as the ball got up in the air you didn't hear the crowd."
Why was today the day to take the wraps off Cam Newton?
"Because everything pointed to his health. I said from the beginning we weren't going to do anything to jeopardize his health. We took our time and did everything the doctors and trainers told us to do. He did everything he was asked to do. It came down to watching him throughout the week. It's the culmination of all the work he's put in."
Do you think a game should end in a tie?
"I think you have to because these guys are at peril anyway going into the fifth quarter. Guys are getting dehydrated. You don't want anyone to pull or tear anything."
With that in mind, will you give them a day off tomorrow?
"No, it's not a victory Monday."
What are your feelings on the first tie of your NFL career?
"This is the first time in my life. It's kind of a weird feeling. We did show flashes, but not enough. Coach always says that when you play just good enough, you play good enough to get beat, and you play good enough to win as well. But today, we were kind of 50-50, for the most part. It was kind of weird, and I don't know how to act right now. I am proud of a lot of guys who played through adversity as a team. We still didn't come away with the win, but there was still some good effort out there."
You say you'll do whatever the coaches call, but did you expect to go out there on fourth-and-one in overtime and go for the first down?
"Well, if you ask me, we had first down, second down and third down, and we should have put ourselves in better situations. Moving forward, I don't have any regrets of the game. Of course I'm going to do whatever is asked, I was just disappointed that we couldn't muster 10 yards with the first tries on first through third down."
Given how well you were running the ball, did you like your chances to possibly pick up the first down in that situation?
"Hind sight is always 50-50 — or 20-20 — whatever the number is (laughs). We didn't go for it. Who am I to judge? Players play and coaches coach. That's what I was told to do. We made the field goal and put our chances in the defense's hands, then we got a much-needed (field goal) miss from those guys. But still, it didn't come down to a fourth-down decision. We had ample opportunities to get it on first through third down."
When did you realize you were going to be running the ball a lot today?
"It was kind of weird. Now everybody is questioning how much am I going to run, or if I'm going to run, or why I'm not running. When I was running, people were saying, 'Don't you think you're running too much?" But in the situation today, I was just doing — like I said — whatever coach asked. And it was there for me to take. I tip my hat to the offensive line and the running backs for running hard — Fozzy (Whittaker) and Darrin (Reaves), 'Baby D.' Those guys came in and made a big impact."
Did it feel good to run the football?
"It would have felt better if we got a win. But it's just whatever is asked of me, I'm going to do it."
Was you running the ball that much in the game plan, or was it something you guys just noticed?
"Well, when you call one play and it gets 10-plus (yards), you highlight that play moving forward. It's surprising that the run plays that were called for the quarterback, they were obviously read plays, but dictated upon what the defense gives you, it's designed for the quarterback to pull it (from the running back) and run it himself. So when you pull it time and time again and keep getting numerous yards, you have to keep calling it. That's just the simplicity of football. Coming into this game, I didn't think I was going to run the ball as much. But like I said, that's my attitude — anything it takes to win, I'm willing to do."
You said you've never been involved in a tie. Did you know the overtime rules?
"Yes, I did."
Ron Rivera said that your early success running the ball may have been an eye-opening for you to realize that you were closer to 100 percent than you thought you were and could go out there and run the ball a little harder. Did you feel that?
"I wouldn't say that, because I always find a way to surprise myself. But this week, I had an unbelievable rehab with my ankle. Starting with Monday and getting in there and spending extra time with RV (Ryan Vermillion), our head trainer, and just going back to the basics. We kind of veered off a ways from doing physical therapy stuff, but we went back this week and started doing it. It was great movement and it was challenging at times, but when it pays off on Sunday, that's when you appreciate the process."
Did you feel better or different on the ankle this week?
"You still feel it when you're running. I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't feel it. But being able to run like I did today puts it assured that you're getting closer to 100 percent. I don't think that with the way the offensive line was blocking today, I didn't have to be at 100 percent. Those guys create gaping holes for me. I would hope that we build from this and come back next week again."
What do you mean when you say you guys went 'back to the basics' with your rehab?
"Early on, after surgery, it's a lot of physical therapy — motion things, balancing. But here in the past couple of weeks, it's just kind of been therapy, ice and trying to speed up the recovery process. But now, going back to what we initially had started with trying to strengthen the ankle — movement, get range of motion — those things came to fruition today. I felt better, and hopefully it looked like I ran better as well."
You said earlier this season that you would feel a 'thump' in your ankle at times. Is it less of that now?
" 'Thump,' meaning it's just a sharp pain. Not an actual crack, but like a thump as if somebody were to step on your toe, or something like a sharp pain. I'm pretty sure I'll feel that thump tomorrow morning with the soreness. But it's all in the game, man. Who am I to start crying and complaining about what we already expect to come from the game of football. Like I said, I'd feel even better if we had come away with the win."
Jerricho Cotchery was disappointed when he wasn't able to hold onto the ball in the end zone in overtime that would have gotten you the win. When you let it go, did you think he had it?
"I was just trying to get my guys the opportunity. I liked to see Jerricho come back. He felt as if he got held on one of the early throws I threw in the fourth quarter. I came right back to him on one of the next pass plays, and he made a big catch for a much-needed first down for us. Whether it's Jerricho, Greg (Olsen), Benjy (Kelvin Benjamin) or 'Vant-A.' (Jason Avant), it doesn't matter. I give those guys the opportunity to make a play, and he was just this close. It's how the day went for us — it was just that close on certain plays offensively and defensively, as well as special teams. But we've got to have more genetics as a team of winning tendencies. We had some winning tendencies today, with the long, methodical drive to answer those guys (the Bengals) coming back. But still, for us to finish or call ourselves a playoff-contending team, there are a lot of things we did today that can't happen."
Did the ball sail on you on the interception?
"I felt a little pressure, so I was trying to anticipate it. I hit somebody's head in the pocket. But I shouldn't have made the throw. I've just got to settle for it. Those guys get paid, just like I get paid. Just call it and get a punt. It put our defense in a bad situation, but if I remember right, they still held them to three points. But who knows (what it would have been) if we had punted it away."
What were your emotions during this game?
"Just up and down. Both teams put up a good fight. We took it to OT, we just didn't finish it out and the result is a tie, a half a win. I prefer to get the win. We had a couple plays, if we could take a couple plays back early in the game, but the emotions are always different every Sunday. Both teams fought and we came out in a tie."
The offense moved the ball well. It looked like you put a lot of effort in the run game this week ...
"It was good. We got the (quarterback) runs in; that helped out a lot. They didn't have an answer for that. For the most part we ran the ball, we passed the ball well. We were balanced. Coach Shula did a great job with the play calling, we just got to finish."
What was the deal on the roughing the passer call at the end of the game?
"I kind of grazed his facemask, so I guess they can call it. They called the simple things."
What was your reaction when Mike Nugent missed the field goal?
"I was glad he missed it. I didn't know what to expect when I went back out on the field (after the game)."
Was it frustrating to be on your heels following the Adam Jones' long kickoff return, just after you took a 7—point lead?
"No, after the play happened you've just got to go back and get it right, get the job done and move onto the next play. I don't even think about that situation."
Does the read option open up the running game for you?
"Yes sir, it definitely does just because it's hard for the defense to get a bead on exactly who has the ball, or who they want to attack. They have to account for both of us, and it kind of creates more gaps and space for us to run through."
What did you think about Cam Newton's performance?
"He's the leader of the team, leader of the offense. Whenever he goes, it makes everybody else go. When he's out there making plays and getting everybody involved, we're a hard team to stop."
What's the general feeling about the tie? Is it unsatisfying?
"Yeah you don't play football to tie. It's not as bad as a loss, but it's pretty close. So at the end of the day you want to win. We came to Cincinnati to win. When you think about playing, you never think about tying, growing up. Like I said, it's the second tie of my life, both in Cincinnati."
Was the first time with the Philadelphia Eagles?
"With the Eagles, yeah. With the Eagles, I was kind of oblivious because I didn't necessarily know that you could tie. So but this time I knew once the clock went down, I knew if he missed it we would be in a tie. I was hoping and praying he would miss it."
Did you think about that game with the Eagles today when overtime period was almost over?
"I really thought that we were going to score a touchdown that last drive, so I really didn't think about it too much. I was just saddened we put the defense back on the field one more time. We were trying really to get it over with. We wish we would've gotten an opportunity to make a play at the end."