Postgame Quotes: Week 11 At Baltimore

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CINCINNATI BENGALS

Head Coach Marvin Lewis

(opening statement)

"For us, I think the difference being getting an opportunity to make stops on third down, the conversions on offense, and stops on defense end up coming to that, literally at the end of the football game. We didn't run the football as effective on offense as we have been. We didn't do a very good job at that. I think that putting the ball in Andy [Dalton's] hands and having to throw the ball way too much to make those conversions because we weren't positive enough on first and second downs. The defense came up with turnovers and a stop on fourth down; and those are big plays. We had two penalties in the kicking game today that literally set us back. They are penalties we can't do. They're huge plays and huge field-position opportunities; and we have a return both times, and we get penalties that we can't get. As we settled down on defense and began to play leverage, we did a much better job of attacking [Lamar Jackson]. [Jackson] runs a little differently and basically makes it 11-on-11 football. We just had to understand that and run for leverage and get him on the ground. A couple of throws he may have completed, we came out of coverage on, and he got the throw that set up the field goal before halftime. And then, later in the third quarter, they kept it going. That was just something we had to understand and do better."

(on not being able to control Lamar Jackson)

"It's hard for me to say right now. I have to look at the tape. We just had to make sure we stayed sound in the gaps and so forth. A couple of times we had the first guy there and made the tackle. But when we started to run the leverage with him and not wait for him, then we got him on the ground. We can't wait. We have to run and go take the leverage with him and get his legs down. It's option football, and everybody has to stay sound in their responsibilities all the way through. That's what matters. But, he has a big run on the quarterback draw. Probably the biggest run all day. We just had to get guys understanding the change at quarterback."

(on communication with the defense)

"Poor Hardy [Nickerson] had it tough early on, no doubt. He's standing there looking at me, and I'm pushing the wrong button. After the first drive, it kind of settled down a little bit. But there were a couple of times, even with the timeouts, he's looking at me, and I'm wondering why he's looking at me."

(on whether the defense played better today)

"I thought they played their tails off. They played hard. That was important. I thought they played better and did a good job with assignments. I thought that was good, and the tape will show, but I thought that was much better. I thought we did a good job with understanding that, and when they came to the sideline, they understood the corrections that were made before they went back out there and handled it well. We made some revisions and so forth on the sideline and at halftime; and they came out and played them. That first drive in the third quarter, before Shawn [Williams] got the interception, it didn't look like we played it very well. Then, we settled down because the first two runs went up there pretty good. Then, we settled down and understood what we were talking about. We continued to change up the front looks and did a good job with that as we went through the game."

(on the difference in not having A.J. Green)

"We're wasting rhetoric. We have what we've got. We've got to make plays. I wish I could say I saw more of the offense today."

(on defending against a quarterback that you have no film on)

"It's more the schematics of it and the guys understanding the difference is it ends up being 11-on-11 football. We have one guy where, generally, you have an extra guy. Today, it's one-on-one football, and, if you're supposed to keep leverage inside/outside, you've got keep leverage and get it done. That's the difference with a running quarterback. That's why the quarterbacks don't run forever in the NFL. Sooner or later, they get hurt, and they don't run the same. But, today, he could run, and he did a good job. We weren't able to get him stopped enough. We stopped him some on third downs, which was good. Those are big plays in the game, but we just have to keep going. It's a race now, and that's what we're here for. That's the thing, it's now a race to the finish. And we'll be a better football team coming out of this than we were coming in. And that's what's exciting to me is for us to be a better football team. Now that they understand the grind together, they fought hard today. [M&T Bank] is a tough place to come and play. We know that. The offense fought hard and responded. We just didn't get the kick through the upright. We just have to keep going. There's no reason to look around anymore. Now, it's right about us. Let's go."

(on taking encouragement)

"Well, we have to learn something. Today, I thought they learned something about themselves. We had opportunities, but we didn't take full advantage of them. We've got to take full advantage, but we learn. It's easier to evaluate a little bit after I've seen it. But, for them, they've got to be excited. We know where we are, and now it's a race to the finish. And they are in the same position we are. And now we've got to go."

(on the biggest thing they learned)

"You just have to keep fighting and playing until the game is over. So, let's make plays. We know that we can do that, and we have guys who can do that. We'll get some guys back and healthy, and that will make us better. And that will lift us up. But, right now, everybody that's getting the opportunity to play now just keep playing better."

CB Dre Kirkpatrick

(on halftime adjustments)

"I don't feel like we changed anything. We had seen [their offense], thinking, 'This is what they're doing guys. Let's make our adjustments and hunker down. We know what's coming.' They didn't pull out any new tricks. It was just a lot of misdirection. It was kind of like high school football, misdirection with a quarterback, bringing in three running backs sometimes. The game is changing, but I felt like we did a good job."

(on facing a Ravens offense with a different philosophy)

"It was totally different, a running quarterback who is a dual threat, pass and run. It makes you play smart. You don't know whether he's rolling or not, if the receivers are going to block you, or try to allow you in. So, it was a guessing game for the most part on things like that. I feel like we did a good job. We stopped them on third-downs and fourth-downs. For this team, that's what we've struggled with. For us to do that is a good sign."

(on head coach Marvin Lewis calling the defensive plays)

"It was smooth. I have no complaints. I got the calls. I got the checks, everything. He made us play fast. He put us in situations where we didn't have to do a whole lot of thinking. He gave us the best game plan that we could have for this game. We were playing fast, rallying to the ball. We had one takeaway. I wish we had more takeaways because that's something he harped on this week. It's hard to get takeaways when they aren't throwing [passes] outside."

LB Hardy Nickerson

(on head coach Marvin Lewis calling the defensive plays)

"It's one of those things where I think he's going to be more comfortable next week. But, to not do this since 2002, and to come out and call plays, I thought he did a hell of a job."

(on interacting with Marvin Lewis as the defensive coordinator)

"He's always leaned toward the defense in making our adjustments, but, today, it was a step up in terms of him being in my ear, literally, alerting me to stuff pre-snap, giving me the play calls and all that stuff."

(on preparing for multiple Ravens quarterbacks)

"We had as good a week of practice as we've had all year. Guys were on it. We were kind of up in the air until yesterday on whether [Joe] Flacco was going to play. We had a plan based on that and one with changing coverages. Before the game, we knew it was going to be Lamar [Jackson]. They had a lot of running with him being a feature back."

(on facing a different Ravens offense)

"The last time we played them, the run game was heavy, big fullbacks, lead, all of that. This game was more like a college offense with speed options, RPOs, things like that."

(on making third-quarter plays to turn the momentum)

"It felt like we were in the right place. We felt like we gave the offense a chance. But, defensively, we have to finish that fourth quarter, that 80-yard drive. We have to get off the field. Just looking back at it, you're disappointed."

QB Andy Dalton

(on whether he thought they were going to win on a late drive like they have before)

"It's no question. I thought we were going to go down and score, just we like we have in other games this season. We were close. We didn't get it done, but everyone had a feeling we were going to get a late score."

(on how much the team misses WR A.J. Green)

"That's a huge part of it. With A.J. [Green] out there, I'm sure the pass coverage would have been different. He has made so many big catches over the years. If we had him, we would have given ourselves a better shot."

(on the Ravens' defensive focus)

"They did a really good job of shutting down the run game. That's the way they've always played. They focused on stopping the run, and we couldn't get anything going. I'm getting used to all of the new receivers. That's just football. Guys get hurt, and new guys take their places. You just have to trust everyone to make a play. John [Ross] made a great catch in the end zone on that one-on-one play. I saw him do that in a lot of his college tapes, and it was great to see him do that today."

(on HC Marvin Lewis's comment that "this is now a race")

"We're 5-5, and they're 5-5; it's all about winning the next game for us. We have to understand that every game is important, and we're going to need every win. It seems like every season is like this."

(on the Bengals' trouble getting into rhythm on offense)

"It seemed like we would miss by a couple of inches when catching a ball or finishing a run. We weren't able to get any momentum in the first half. The big pass play to 'TB' [WR Tyler Boyd] was a big play; it got us our first touchdown."

LB Vincent Rey

(on what it was like to face QB Lamar Jackson) "It was very different. He is not Joe Flacco and we didn't know what to expect. Most of us saw him play in college. He's a good quarterback and reads plays well. He's very tough and has great quickness. He hit on some things that we weren't expecting. He made a play on a quarterback draw on third-and-long and we weren't expecting that."

(on the Bengals defensive improvement) "It was a step forward for us on defense. Now we have to put the pedal to the metal. I love playing for Coach Lewis. I've been here for 9 years and he's always in our corner."

(on the running of RB Gus Edwards) "Some of our guys may have been surprised by him, but I know all about him. He's a tough guy, he's got good size and he runs hard. I saw him play when he was at Rutgers and I know he has the ability to be a good back."

LB Vontaze Burfict

(on facing the Ravens with QB Lamar Jackson) "It's like facing two different offenses. With Joe Flacco, he just stands back there and isn't very mobile but he throws the ball hard. This guy [QB Lamar Jackson] is very unpredictable."

(on the play of QB Lamar Jackson) "He's a really good runner. He's very quick and he likes to run the ball. He really surprised us when he ran a draw on third-and-ten. I don't know how well he throws the ball but I guess we'll find out."

WR John Ross

(on the Ravens defense) "They did what we thought. Our coaches prepared us really well for what we saw. We have to compete for four quarters. You get a lot of opportunities. We got a real good feel in the first quarter, we just have to compete for four quarters."

(on the ability not to turn the ball over) "We put a lot of stress on that. You win a lot of games by not turning the ball over, so for us, it's something we should be working on more and more.

(on his touchdown catch) "It was just the perfect pass by Andy [Dalton] that gave me an opportunity to compete and get the ball. I was just trying to make a play."

(on the season) "It's not over. I think that's just football. It's an amazing league we're in. Games can change around, things can change; it's real tricky. Everybody's got to keep working. A lot of teams can change it around late. Everybody's got to continue fighting and continue to compete."

(on RB Joe Mixon) "His motor is unbelievable. I've never met anybody with a motor like his, his passion for the game, his ability to run the ball and do things like he does at his size. There's not too many teammates I've been around, in all the year's I've played football, as great as him. He wants to see everybody win and he does whatever it is that's best for the team. It's always great to have a guy like him around."

TE C.J. Uzomah

(on the offense) "We didn't come out fast like we wanted to. Whether it was us, hurting ourselves or just not executing, whatever the case may be, we didn't get it done offensively. We had preached all week about coming out fast, coming out with a hard start, but we've got to get that corrected. That's two weeks in a row that we haven't come out explosive, haven't made the play to move the sticks on third down. We've just got to get back to doing that. We did that in the early part of the year, and that's something that we're going to have to figure out and adjust to and get back on track with."

(on WR A.J. Green coming back) "He'd be important to any team. Obviously, having his presence on the field makes a difference. We have the talent and capability to step up at the positions we have and that's something we are just going to have to do. I've talked to some of the defensive backs about giving us a little extra during the week because we're going to have to make the one-on-one plays and the contested catches. We didn't make enough of them today."

Images from the week 11 contest as the Bengals face the Ravens.

S Shawn Williams

(on the defense) "I thought we came out in the first half and played slow. As a team, we kind of picked it up in the second half. We came out slow, because we didn't really know what to expect. But once we calmed down and the more we played, we got comfortable in what we were seeing and we just started playing more physical and relaxed."

(on the loss) "It's very disappointing. Anytime you play as hard as you play, it's a confidence game. It was going back and forth, and it comes out like this, it's tough. For me, I've got the opportunity to go out and try to be great or a really good football player. That's what I try to do."

(on getting WR A.J. Green back) "Anytime you can get a key starter back, that's something you look forward to. That's an individual that we need."

WR Tyler Boyd

(on if he thought they would score in the final drive) "We want to be great, and I feel like we can score on every single drive. On that last drive, and when we've been in that situation, we score, so why not believe it? We just didn't get it this time."

(on the season) "It's tough. It's the NFL. A lot of things change, a lot of things change quick. We got guys that are hurt; we're trying to get our guys back. Once everybody gets healthy, and we get our guys back, I think we'll be ready to trot."

(on the similarity of last year's game in Baltimore) "I knew that, and we knew that we wouldn't be put in the same position for that play. I knew I would get coverage over my way. It's hard because we always make it work. We just have to find a way."

(on WR A.J. Green) "It would make us a lot better. He's the best player on our team, and his help out there relieves a lot of guys. I feel like we just need to make more plays out there."

(on being 5-5) "We've got to win now. If we want to be great and go to the postseason, we have to win. I still believe that we can win. I believe that we can do it."

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