CINCINNATI BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS
"The decisions I made today didn't work out for [us]. We didn't get to make the break and it seemed like this-or-that decisions today. Put us in the situation whether it's fourth down when they make a stop. The two-point conversion, so forth. We didn't get to make the breaks. Our guys who settled down on defense did a better job. I though offensively we set out to run the football early in the game. Did a nice job. We were able to come back out in the second half and sustain it again. Again, [QB] Jeff [Driskel] continues to grow, the quarterback. Obviously, today, the margin of error and the opportunity — they make the big pass there in the start of the fourth quarter that gives them the field goal and makes a difference in the game there. We have the two penalties — the one on the goal line and later on, the one in the one minute that gives them the opportunity for the field goal — disappointing. We've got to do better. Young guys that have a lot of football ahead of them and they've just got to understand the situation and do it better."
On the overturned touchdown:
"Well, with the way they changed the rule now for quarterbacks, whether he's sliding, diving, whatever, when he first goes to begin it, that's the down-side of that."
On signs of progress:
"Well, the team needs to win. That's the only progress that really counts, is winning. We've got to keep putting them into position to win. Obviously, when they're in that position, they've got to make the plays to win the game, and keep grinding and finding a way to make plays to win the game. We've got guys playing big-time football, and we've got to make sure we're doing it all the time."
On the decision to go for two in the first half:
"I just thought, you have a lot of time left. You have a lot of time. You can look at it either way. We felt good about the two-point play. Obviously, we didn't get it. Those are the things we've got to do. It was fourth down and four inches basically. It's aggressive, but it is four inches. We've got to be able to pick that up."
On if failing to get two on that play is indicative of the season:
"No, I just think that in that point in the game, we needed to pick that up. That's part of what we set out to do in this football game, is to handle the inside run and do a better job."
On QB Jeff Driskel's progression:
"It's hard for me to say. Sometimes I have my back turned, but again I think the biggest thing is keep taking care of the football. That's the thing. We're constantly talking about [going] to the next down, continue to play within yourself and we'll rate his progressions as we go. There were some where he was a little quick, and he had opportunity — even on the two-point play — he had the play, and he went away from it. So, those are things that over time he will do better, and he's got to understand that. Again, he's doing everything he can. This is great for him and his career. This is career-changing for him to continue to play the way he's playing."
On how much use he has for moral victories:
On if moral victories mean anything considering what the team has been through:
"No. That's not what this is about. This team, the fans — they deserve a win. We've got to keep pushing and grinding and get guys in position to make plays. To say [it's] a moral victory for [WR] Tyler Boyd, that isn't worth [anything] when he's playing his tail off week in and week out, day in and day out. [RB] Joe Mixon, guys stepping up and playing on defense today. They did a great job. They put us in position with some things — the way they do things — we had to change our style, and I thought the guys did a great job of understanding the plan and changing our style after the touchdown on the screen play."
On the defensive performance:
"After the first two drives, we settled down and played. That's what you have to do. There is nothing that happened early in the football game that they hadn't been through. They didn't invent new plays. They only had 11 guys out there and we have to do a better job of understanding it and getting our job done. We have to go in and get ready for the pace of the game. For whatever reason, we have to get hit in the jaw before we respond. So I guess I have to take a bat into the locker room before the game and do something different, but it just takes us time to respond. Then to jump offsides at the end of the half, you can't do that. Those are the things that are talked about all the time — understand the situation."
On if he has ever given thought to not deferring to the second half:
"No, it's the only way you can get two possessions. That's really the only way that you get an opportunity at that. It worked out, if we just had the sack and get the ball and any momentum they may have had from stopping the two-point [conversion], we gain back. If there is something anything such as momentum at halftime, not that there is, but again, we have the opportunity to get off the field there with the sack and all 11 guys have to execute the plan all the time."
On utilizing players in different roles:
"They came in in some substituted defenses, that's all. It's just next man up. It gives them an opportunity to get out there and do something. I think [Offensive Line Coach] Frank [Pollack] felt it was appropriate to have a couple roll-throughs in there at guard."
On if their performance on defense after the first quarter and if that is the standard he has set for the team:
"That is how they should be able to play for four quarters. I thought corners had a tough duty. 13 [Chargers WR Keenan Allen] is a hell of a player. He did a nice job except for the over-route there later in the game. We did a good job trying to keep hands on him all day long and make it hard. We made them have to go to the second option. We made some plays, had some tipped balls early on, they just kept falling to the ground. We never got them in our hands. Again, these guys have worked hard. It's a long trip out here and we wanted to come back with a W and we didn't get it done."
On how a team that played how they did in Cleveland turned around and played how they did today:
"Just doing your job. In the Browns game, there is nothing that was different. Just do your job. It's a simple thing. In that case, experienced guys, young guys, it was a collective collapse in the first half of that game against the Browns. It's just not right. Since then, they've settled down and figured it out. You have to coach them hard. We'll continue to do that correct hard. We had a little bit of that in that first drive. You have to do your job. If you don't do it, who is going to do it? I can't come off the sideline and make the tackle. I want to, but they won't let me. That's the thing, we have to do it and do it right. Hopefully we have gotten it to where when we have a breakdown, they understand where it is. I think that makes a big difference."
CINCINNATI BENGALS QUARTERBACK JEFF DRISKEL
On how he felt about the game:
"I thought we played well on offense. I thought we played well on first and second downs. We just didn't make the plays, we made some plays but not the ones we needed. We have to find a way to convert those. There are no moral victories in this league. We have to fight, scratch and claw to get a win."
On being surprised with some of the play calling:
"We have to play aggressive to win a ball game and that's what we did. [Head] Coach [Marvin Lewis] had full confidence that we would convert on some of those plays and same with everyone else on offense. Unfortunately, we didn't."
On the rule change not to give himself up:
"I was not giving myself up, that is within the rule book and how it is interpreted, it is what it is. I wasn't giving myself up, I have to figure out another way to get myself in there."
On Head Coach Marvin Lewis going for it with fourth-and-one:
"It's one yard and he thought we were going to convert. I thought we were going to convert. We knew that was just the way we were going to play that game. We were going to play aggressive and if we picked that yard up it might have been a different story. We just didn't execute and when you get an aggressive call like that you just have to go out and execute and we didn't."
On if he was supposed to throw to DE Sam Hubbard on his overturned rushing score:
"He was an option. He was out on a route and they had it covered. I was trying to make a play there, but yes he was definitely in the progression. The call was unfortunate. I did what I thought I had to do to get in and that call was just tough."
On the two-point conversion with the sack at the end of the game:
"It was a pretty simple look, they didn't surprise us with anything on defense all day. We didn't convert and we didn't execute. We just have to find a way to do that. The first two options that I had I didn't think it was clean enough to let it rip so I just tried to create because you have to find a way to get in on two-point conversions. I don't know who got me, but we've just got to make that play."
On TE C.J. Uzomah being the first option on that play:
"Yeah, it's all dependent on coverage so anybody out in a route is a viable option and we just didn't get it done unfortunately."
On the headset and communication issues:
"There were a few times where I wasn't getting anything in the headset and we were prepared for that. I didn't let that affect us. I looked over to the sideline and got some hand signals. I was able to get the calls in and that doesn't happen too often, but we were ready for it."
On if he ever called a play himself:
"No, I didn't make anything up, I looked over to the sideline and got the call from the sideline and got it into the huddle. Unfortunately, that stuff happens sometimes and we just have to have poise, which I thought we did."
On what he was attempting to accomplish on the two-point conversion:
"On the two-point conversion we have two of our best guys over there to the left — C.J. Uzomah and [WR] Tyler Boyd. I have to find a way to get them the ball whether it's a get them the ball right now or make somebody miss and find somebody late. I just didn't get it done. That happens in football and it just comes down to us not making enough plays as a unit."
On if he was banged up during the game:
"Football is a physical game and stuff like that is going to happen. I'm good. There's really no issues, but sometimes you get banged up a little bit and you get looked at. If the doctor says you're good and you're good, so I was fine."
On making a committed effort to get the ball to RB Joe Mixon:
"Yeah, you always try to get your best players the ball and I thought Joe did a nice job hitting the holes. Even sometimes when there wasn't much there, he created. I thought he ran hard. I thought he really battled and that was big for us today being able to run the ball effectively."
On going for it on fourth-and-one:
"I love when they want to be aggressive, Coach [Lewis] had full confidence that we were going to get it done and unfortunately we came up short. When you have your head coach's confidence like that, that's encouraging."
On if the two false starts were communication issues:
"Sometimes things like that happen and it's something that we've come a long way with ever since I've been playing. It's still something that we've got to get cleaned up and those are things that hurt."
CINCINNATI BENGALS SAFETY JESSIE BATES
On penalties and how they can be deflating:
"It's very frustrating. It's as simple as staying onside. It's what we learned since the first time we played football. It's disappointing that we keep having the same thing come up. It costs us points as well. When guys are scoring a touchdown, kicking a field goal that's a huge part of the game and it shows up."
On how they played today:
"We lost. It's still frustrating that we're losing and you can't get it turned around. Hopefully next week, we play our last game at home in the 2018 season, and hopefully we can give our fans a win."
On the field goal made by the Chargers right before halftime:
"It's frustrating. I'm not sure what the score was at halftime, but we had a lot of momentum. The offense was getting the ball back coming out so jumping off sides and giving them free points was a huge part of the game. We lost by five points so it's a different ball game. You have to continue to have discipline and take this thing by winning."
On if it's frustrating to have the loss with the way they played after the first quarter:
"Everyone out there knows it, we have talent and we can play anybody. It's just playing it for four quarters and winning ball games. Unfortunately, we didn't do that tonight. I thought we did well we just didn't win."
CINCINNATI BENGALS WIDE RECEIVER JOHN ROSS
On coming back home to Southern California:
"It's one of the best feelings I've had. Definitely the most fun I've had playing in a stadium since I've been in college or in the NFL. Nothing can beat playing in front of your family and your friends and your son."
On having people from his foundation at the game:
"I sponsor a class down in Long Beach, for Jackie Robinson [YMCA]. I selected four kids out of a raffle, bought them tickets and let them come watch the game with their parents."
*On what it means for the kids at his foundation to come to the game: *
"It means the world. I know we all come from the same area and a lot of kids are not fortunate enough to do something like that. I wasn't when I was younger. So, just for them to come out and be able to enjoy something like this I know they had a great time."
On when he hosts camps at his foundation:
"Every season. I'm all-year round. I did a toy drive yesterday at my old high school. That's something I do. I'm thinking about doing something else for Christmas in Cincinnati. It's just always a thought process and whenever I'm free. I love to give back and help the kids. I know they deserve it."