Postgame Quotes: Saints at Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals postgame press conference


NOV. 11, 2018


MARVIN LEWIS, Head coach

Initial Comments ...

"Obviously in the football game, both teams took the ball and drove down the field. We didn't do things well enough on the first drive to get them off the field. After that, we seemed to erode as the day went on with our responsibilities and our execution. Offensively, I think we had a three-out-out the next time (after the first drive). It seemed in the game like we'd get a little off rhythm, come back and make a few plays the next series, and then stall at midfield. As I told them, you can't lose sight of where we are. This hurts everybody, but we have to get better. We have to coach better, play better, and the focus has to come down to preparing better and getting ready for the next game."

The team has allowed over 500 yards in three straight games. Can you put your finger on what's gone wrong with the defense the past few weeks?

"It's hard to speak for today. We talked about the other things we need to do better. We need to play better, and we need to do better on third downs. I looked up (at the scoreboard) at halftime, and they were six out of six on third downs. That's the key to winning football games, and we're not doing a good enough job right now."

Do you think it's a problem with the scheme?

"I'm not going to get into any observations today with that."

Looking at the stats, your defense is on pace to break the record for most yards allowed in a season. At what point would you consider coaching changes or anything like that?

"Again, I'm not going to talk about any of that stuff."

How much after a game like this do you worry about rebuilding confidence that may have been lost with your team?

"Obviously your confidence gets shaken. I just addressed that with them. They have to focus and get determined. It's their job to do it right."

HB Joe Mixon had a good start to the game. It kind of seemed like you guys went away from him ...

"We didn't go away from him. We had an interception, then had an incomplete pass, so we didn't go away from him, the scope of the game changed. We came out in the second half and handed it off on the very first play. Nobody goes away from things. We continue to try to run the football, but we have to make first downs, which is part of the game. We're not just going to hand it off and expect to roll up and down the field. The reason he was successful early is because we were able to mix up the run and the pass. That was the thing that continued with Bill (Lazor) all the way through. He did a good job of trying to do that, but at some point you get off-rhythm a bit, and that makes a big difference. We had a sack on second-down, and that hurt us. Every time it's second-and-long, we won't fool anyone by handing it off and making eight, ten or twelve yards, whatever the down and distance is."

I meant Mixon specifically not the run game overall ...

"Again, the offense unfolds based on coverages, defenses and so forth. Andy (Dalton) does a good job of distributing the football based on what he sees."



Andy, can you put your finger on the level of frustration after looking up and seeing the other team scoring 51 points?

"Yeah, I mean it's very frustrating, but we all had a hand in it and we obviously didn't play well today."

On the offense, does it feel like you have to outscore teams with the way things have been going during these games?

"We go out there to score every time we have the ball. This game was just tough. We hurt ourselves. With the second drive we have, we're going to go for it on the fourth down and jump off-sides. We hurt ourselves. You look back and we're going to try to see what we can do better. We have to be better. Regardless of what they were doing offensively, we have to score."

Obviously, you're a leader in this locker room. How do you make sure 1-3 in the last four games doesn't snowball into something bigger?

"It's one game right now. We can't let this affect our next one. So, as we start to move on, we've got to figure out where we need to play better and everybody's got to challenge themselves, on Sundays, to play their best. If we do that, we'll move on quickly."

With the first series, things were obviously clicking really well right down the field. Going forward, the game changed a lot. Was it challenging without A.J. Green or do you think this offense can do what it needs to do without him?

"We definitely feel like we can still do things without A.J. (Green). Obviously, we want him out there but we've got guys that can win. We've got to just go out there and do it."

This team has struggled against teams like the Chiefs, like the Saints who are viewed as some of the best teams in the NFL. I know you guys want to get there, does it feel like you're a long ways from that when you have an offense like this?

"No. I mean, for us, it's unfortunate we played the way we did against those two teams. I mean we're still in a good spot. We've just got to focus up and find a way to win next week. I think that's what it comes down to. There's still so much in front of us, so much ahead of us that we can achieve and we've just got to put the work in."

Andy, you've talked about when you face a Hall-of-Famer like Drew Brees and when you're on the side watching him, it couldn't have been very pleasant to watch what he was doing today. What was it like for you not being able to get back on the field because they were converting all the time?

"Yeah, it's tough. Drew (Brees) is so good. Like you said, he's going to be in the Hall of Fame. He's one of the best players in his position and it's what he can do. He can keep drives going and keep drives alive. It's what they did and they kept scoring touchdowns."

What was the big difference between matching them on your opening drive and not being able to get in the end zone again until late?

"Negative plays hurt us. For us, we've got to keep trying to gain yards, keep trying to stay out of the three-and-out situations. We've got to get better on the third down. Obviously, we didn't convert well on third-down, but if you do that, you give yourself a chance. We didn't give ourselves a chance today."

What do you think went wrong for the offense today? You started out with a great drive and it just kind of sputtered after that ...

"I think the negative plays hurt us — not scoring early, obviously we scored on the first drive, but not putting another drive together. They got points and we got behind. You can't get in those situations against a team like this."

With the fourth-and-one, it's a tough play when it's a false start ...

"That's tough. You can't have that happen. I think everybody understands that. We convert there, it could be a different game, but that's just one play that we'll go back and look at and see that we have to have it fixed."

The other fourth down pass to John Ross, what happened? It didn't look like it was that far away from him, it looked like he didn't see the ball ...

"I'm going to have to look at it. I think, for me, I can give him a better shot to get it."



What was the main problem that resulted in today's loss from your perspective?

"I don't know. We didn't tackle well, and we didn't get off the field on third down. It's the same thing that we've been doing all along. We didn't tackle well, we didn't get off the field, we never got them behind the chains. A lot of stuff didn't go our way.

"I don't think the ball that was in the end zone (on one play) was a catch. I got blocked in the back on a touchdown (and) they didn't call it. A dude came back and pushed off on a touchdown, they didn't call that. I don't know. You just have to play football I guess."

Are you growing more and frustrated by the week?

"I'm always frustrated when we lose. I don't play or do this to lose. I expect to win every time I play."

Are you able to put a finger on the problem or is this just one of those days that things snowballed, as they say?

"It's just not one thing. Like you said, it's a snowball. There's a lot of things we're just not doing well enough. We're not tackling well enough. We're not breaking up passes, we're not getting them behind the chains. It's always second-and-five, or second-and-four."

How do you expect to let your (defensive) ends rush when they're in second-and-two, or third-and-one?

"We just have to figure out what we need to do better. Obviously, we've got a lot of guys out that we depend on, so we have to get those guys back. But you've got to play with the cards you're dealt, so for right now, guys have to grow. We've got to play and figure out what we're doing (wrong)."



How do you prevent losses like today's from happening again?

"(Guys need to ask themselves,) 'What are you not doing right? How are you hurting the team? How are you contributing to us being a losing team today?' Don't blame anybody else — blame yourself, because you're one of the reasons we lost. Myself included."

If you win the next two weeks, you're 7-4 and back in the playoff mix ...

"That's the funny part about it. It feels like things have been going haywire, but we're going to Baltimore — a team that we handled at our house, and a team that win (in the season finale) last year. Right when it feels like the sky is falling, you go to Baltimore and take care of business, and you're right in the middle of the fight (again). Coaches are going to be on our tails tomorrow, and rightly so. Every man needs to point (the finger at) themselves, because each person had stock in this loss. Everyone had a share in it."

Do you think we'll see in the following two weeks what this team is truly made of?

"Yeah. It's November. You become who you are in November. Once Thanksgiving comes, that's who you are — and Thanksgiving is coming. We're going to find out who we are. Thankfully, we've got guys like Nick Vigil coming back, Vontaze Burfict coming back, Darqueze Dennard, Tyler Kroft. We've got a lot of these guys coming back that are going to help us. The rest of us, (though), we're still going to be in the jerseys. We've got to go out and make plays, get off blocks, hit guys and make plays, and not let our guy make the catch. Just fight, fight, fight. There's no cavalry coming, as some people say. They're not coming. Yeah, we've got some guys coming back like Vontaze, but hey, we're the same guys. We're going to have to go out there and make plays."



You had over 30 yards rushing, a high completion percentage of passes and a touchdown. Despite today's team result, you have to be happy with your performance, right?

"Yeah, it was a tough game overall. We didn't really get much going there on offense so (we) came out with a great drive to start the game and it felt like we were doing everything we wanted out there — I don't think we even had a third down on that drive. We were staying in front of the chains and making things happen, and then at the end of the game there, I just got in, went in there and competed and put a nice drive together."

The Saints' Taysom Hill showed a lot of athleticism in the game, and the Ravens — next week's opponent — have Lamar Jackson, who has done the same. You showed athleticism today as well ...

"Yeah, I'm athletic, but I'm a quarterback. That's what I am first. When I'm called on to run the football, I feel like I make explosive plays, but that's not what I am first."



You guys had some plays to disrupt Drew Brees. Why didn't that work out?

"I have no idea. I'm not a lineman or a linebacker. I just have my guy on the outside, and thought they threw a play in the end zone, which they dropped, but he's Drew Brees, so they gave it to him. It is what it is, so we'll get back to work this week."

What do you need to do as a team to bounce back from this loss?

"We've just got to stay level-headed. We know we're about to get all the fake fans all on our (social media/news) page(s) bashing us, but we're just going to get back to us, and, hopefully, next week, we'll get the win."

What did Marvin Lewis say to you guys after the game?

"We've got to go on to the next game. We're still in the hunt. We can still do this thing. We've got a division game next week, and that's what we're focused on."

Are the Saints' offensive numbers mind-boggling to you? Two of the last three games have been kind of ugly ...

"Yeah, there have been some ugly games, but we've just got to figure it out, and hopefully next week we get the win."



You've missed time with an injury — do you feel like the mental reps you've had while you missed time were on par with what you needed today?

"Yeah, I saw what the defense was doing, the tendencies and things that they like to do. I saw that and expected it. I've got to be quicker with the eyes, (though). I think the eyes really tell a lot because you can block a man physically or you can block him with your eyes, and that's what I have to improve on."


Wide receiver

You guys had a shot on a fourth-and-one play that didn't come together due to a penalty while the score was close early in the game. Was that a significant moment in your opinion?

"That was definitely the turning point of us (staying) in the game, in my opinion. I mean, we still had other opportunities to score and cut the lead down and at least give us a shot in the second half, but I really can't say much about that. That was just a tough loss."

The first offensive drive of the game looked pretty good, though ...

"Right. When you get a great drive like that, it seems like everything is clicking: This is our home field, we've got the advantage, we're controlling the game. It's tough to go back (for) the rest of our drives and put up no points. It's disgusting."

Is something like this a game that shakes confidence? If so, how do you get that back?

"For me, I'm going to continue to play and be a hard-nosed football player and grind no matter what. Hopefully, the rest of the players have that same mentality. Everybody just didn't click this game. I think the way for us to bounce back is for us to beat the Ravens. That's going to be a game for us to solidify our spot going forward and try to go into the postseason. This is a huge one, and if we get past this one, we'll be fine still."



Can you describe your frustration right now?

"It's at an all-time high for me. I haven't seen anything like it. Every week we're giving up too many yards. I got to look at myself and find a way to help this team. I need to help a lot better if we're going to be better at defense."

During the Saints opening 15-play drive it looked like there were several opportunities to get off the field. But after that there weren't many third downs the rest of the game ...

"We did a poor job on first and second down. If they did have a third down it was third-and-two or third-and-one. They were converting. I don't know if they punted but it didn't seem like they did. We have to find a way. All of us have to look at ourselves and it starts with me. I have to look at myself and find a way to help this defense get better."

The team is now 5-4, how do you find a way to bounce back and stay in the playoff race?

"We have a lot to play for. We have a lot of division games to play. We have to go to Baltimore (next week) and get a big win. We don't know who the quarterback is going to be, but we have to find a way to get a big win and shake this rust off. We can't keep giving up 500 yards and except the offense to score 50 if we can't get anything. So, we have to get better."



Is it embarrassing for you as a competitor to lose like this?

"Yeah. Obviously."

What is causing the issues defensively?

"I can only speak for myself, I have to do a better job."

Where do you go from here and how do you bounce back from this?

"We will watch film and we will be hard on ourselves. We need to be our hardest self-critic and don't worry about the "buts" or point fingers. Just focus on myself and what I can do personally better and collectively if we do that we will be alright."

In your mind, is the only way this team makes the playoffs is if the defense gets better?

"I feel like we are complimentary. The offense needs us to do a better job. It's hard for the offense to win when we're giving up 50 points. We have to do better."


Defensive end

What were you thinking as the Saints offense continued to tally up points?

"I just kept saying, 'let's just get one stop' and go from there. In order to get two (stops) you have to get one. The whole time we were saying 'let's just get one'. We weren't able to do that today. We will have to go back and be really critical of ourselves tomorrow as we come back and review the film. We just have to keep working. In 2012 — all I have to draw from is history — we were 3-5 and we won seven of our last eight to make the playoffs. We started 3-5 and we came out of the bye and we lost to Denver at home similar to this, but it wasn't as bad as this. Who knows maybe we look back at this as a turning point. Hopefully we can turn it into that where we're playing better. We all have to look at ourselves and just do better and do our jobs better. There's no magic or this is going or that is going. We all need to do our jobs better."


Wide receiver

After the first two drives it looked like it was going to be a shootout, what happened?

"I can't tell you. We got to get back and watch the film. It's hard for me to point a finger on what went wrong. We all know we didn't play our best game and we need to come in tomorrow and correct it and move forward."

Did you feel good after the first drive? How did the mentality change?

"We knew from the start of the game we can run with anybody. We have the offense with or without everybody, we have a lot of talented guys."