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Postgame Quotes: Bengals at Browns

Driskel Postgame News Conference: Week 16 at Cleveland

Marvin Lewis

Bengals Head Coach

Opening statement:

“[We had] an opportunity there at the end of the football game to have a chance to get back and have a go at it at the end. I thought throughout the day early on we were playing back and forth. We gave up a couple of completions, particularly on third down, which ended up setting up plays, which made a difference. Conversely, on the other side, we weren’t converting any third downs. That ended up, going into halftime, being the difference in the ball game. We just didn’t make some critical plays today in critical moments. When we are in coverage positions, we have to come up with the football. I think that is important. That ended up being unfortunately the tale of the day. They made more plays in those situations than we did.”

On whether it was too soon for an onside kick:

“Yes, we did what we wanted. We blocked the punt. We got the ball. Then, we got another chance to do it again. We had to get a stop. With two minutes, we can get the ball back with 1:50 or make them throw it, one or the other. They helped us the first time.”

On the possibility of Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict being disciplined for actions toward Bengals Trainer Paul Sparling:

"He just has to go through the protocol. Sometimes, guys don’t want to hear that [they can’t reenter the game]. They say they are fine, but they still have to go through the protocol. They settle down and then they go do it.”

On if the number of head injuries Burfict has sustained is cause for concern:

“You’re not a doctor. I’m not a doctor, either.”

Bengals QB Jeff Driskel:

On the Brown’s commitment to stop the run:

“They came out in the first half and played a lot of single safety and blitzes. We expected that. That’s been their M.O. over the past few games. We just didn’t do a good enough job of making plays in the first half. We just never really got anything going. We didn’t get into a rhythm. During the first half, we didn’t do much offensively. Then, we came out in the second half, and they still had their same game plan. We were able to move the ball and find some guys down the field. It was just one of those deals where it was just too little too late. We got rolling in the 4th quarter, but we were fighting against the clock, and we came up short.”

On not being able to capitalize offensively:

“It’s tough. It just comes down to execution. Whether it’s me getting under the right protection, throwing accurate balls, or just being able to hit them whenever they’re bringing one more guy than we can protect. There’s a lot of space out there, and we weren’t able to capitalize off of what they were doing. It wasn’t a shock. We knew what they’ve been like the last few weeks. We just didn’t do enough to make enough plays to win the football game.”

On what to take away from today’s game:

“We lost the game. That’s obviously what we’re playing for, to go out and find a way to win no matter how you do that. In the second half, we moved the ball, we scored, and the two-point-conversion was huge to come within striking distance. At the end of the day, we didn’t do enough to win. Because of the character of the guys, you couldn’t tell that we were losing. The character of the guys said ‘We’re going to go out there and we’re going to score on this next drive.’ And, I think that’s my takeaway: the character of the guys in that huddle.”

On the play call for the two-point conversion:

“It was a play action. A play action pass. We had guys, (Bengals WRs) John (Ross) and Cody (Core), who were running away from man coverage. Cody did a really nice job of extending the play. The DB had his back to me so, I gave him a high ball, and he went up and made a good play. That was a really big play to come within one score.”

On the Bengals finishing fourth in the AFC North this year:

“I don’t think you look at the roster. I think you have to look at yourself. ‘What can I do better to prevent this in the weeks and seasons to come?’ Obviously, we came into the season thinking that we were going to be able to win this division. We go into every game thinking that we’re going to win the football game. So, we have to find a way to win tight football games. We have one more this season, and we’re going to do everything we can to get a win so we can end the season on a win.”

On Bengals RB Joe Mixon:

"He’s a great running back. He’s a guy who can hit the holes when they’re there. When there’s nothing there, he can create. He’s tough and he’s going to keep running hard. He’s done that all season long. He’s been very consistent for us and, I think he’s just going to keep improving. He’s tough. I love playing with that guy. He has a ‘next play’ mentality. I think he’s probably looking at the game just like everyone else. ‘What could I have done more?.’ He’s not out there getting frustrated or pointing fingers. He’s putting his head down, running the football hard and doing what he can to help us score points.”

S Jessie Bates:

On finishing last in the AFC North:

“I do not think that really matters. I just think we have to win.”

On playing against the creative plays by the Browns:

“That has nothing to do with us. We just have to do what we have been coached to do and continue to work hard.”

On attempting to intercept Browns QB Baker Mayfield’s 66-yard pass to TE David Njoku:

“That is what I have been taught. That is what I have done my whole football career. I did not make it. It is what it is.”

On if he agreed with RB Joe Mixon saying he is not used to losing:

“Exactly. I am sure that is everyone’s in this locker room mentality. Like Joe said, hopefully we can turn it around next year.”

DE Sam Hubbard:

On the physicality throughout the game:

“I mean, it’s the ‘Battle of Ohio.’ We’re both out of the playoffs, but we’re playing for a lot of pride. We’re competitive teams and we’re definitely out there getting after it.”

On his reaction to Browns QB Baker Mayfield’s post-touchdown celebrations:

"I’ve been playing Baker for years. He’s a competitive dude and he talks a lot, but obviously he backs it up. The way to get him to quiet down is to beat him, and that’s what we have to do.”

On Mayfield’s development from the teams’ previous matchup:

“[Mayfield’s] decision making. We were rushing hard, and he was getting the ball out fast. He knew where he wanted to go with it before it was even snapped it seemed like. He was just slinging it, and that’s the sign of a good quarterback. I just think he’s come a long way in that respect.”

On adjusting to Mayfield during the game:

“You just have to keep rushing. We got some stops there, and had a chance to come back and win the game. It didn’t go our way. We didn’t make the plays we needed to, but you just have to keep chipping away. Towards the end there, we were getting closer and closer, getting our hands on him, but credit to [Mayfield] and his offensive line.”

RB Joe Mixon:

On finishing last place in the AFC North:

“To me, it is what it is. People can make a lot of excuses on why we finished last. It is what it is. At the end of the day, we have to come to work every day to work. If you are not doing that, you are not going to get the results you want. For me, I’m going to keep on coming, ready to play for 60 minutes each and every week and finish this last week strong.”

On if the loss diminishes reaching 1,000 yards rushing on the season:

“I told you all that I do not care about the individual stats. If we did not get the win, I do not give a damn. It is cool, but at the end of the day, we have to keep on getting ready to work. (We) have a big week coming up and we have to finish strong.”

On how the Browns held him under 100 yards rushing:

"You saw how it was. There were nine, 10 in the box and I was still busting out there. It is hard to get through that, but you can only hope to contain me, you are not going to stop me at the end of the day. They did a good job containing. Hats off to them. They beat us twice. I do not have an excuse for our performance out there. At the end of the day, we are just going to keep on coming out, ready to work. Like I said, we have to finish this week off strong in Pittsburgh.”

On the frustrations this year with the losses:

“It is very frustrating. I have never been a part of a losing program. I am never going to get comfortable with being part of it. At the end of the day, I am going to take it for what it is this year, build, and try to get better and get ready for next year. We still have another week coming up. It is a big one. I promise you, we are not going to be in this for long and that is a fact.”

LB Chris Worley:

On playing in his hometown:

“It was great. I just went out there to compete, and it was great to have an opportunity to play the game of football again. We didn’t capitalize as a team and we didn’t finish the deal, so it’s kind of bittersweet.”

On physicality in the game:

"It was a division game, and the AFC North is the most physical division in the NFL. You know it’s going to get chippy when you get two AFC North teams playing each other. It was a physical game for sure, and guys just got a little heated.”

On the renewal of the Battle of Ohio rivalry:

“It always is [a rivalry]. You have teams that are three things: in the same state, in the same division, and in the same conference. That ramps it up even more, and it’s the ‘Battle of Ohio,’ so it’s always going to be a little crazy when you add that in as well.”

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