Postgame Quotes: Week 17 at Pittsburgh

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel takes questions in a news conference after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 16-13. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel takes questions in a news conference after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 16-13. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis

Opening statement:

I think the disappointing thing for us today is the fact that we hurt ourselves today with some penalties that set us back on both offense and the kicking game. It's hard to overcome those things on the road and we're unable to overcome them very often today. We really hurt our field position we stifled us on offense. That's hard to overcome. We got a little depleted with injuries as the game went on. But the guys stepped up and played. We just didn't get enough to get the ball back in field position to win the football game in the end. 

Re: Defense

I thought the guys did a nice job. I understand the plan; we talked about it all week. We weren't sure what personnel [groups] we would get, they have been doing different things, but whatever personnel was in there, we had to react to it, we had a couple runs we misfit. We were able to settle down. In the third quarter, when the ball got out a couple of times, and they got us offsides once. 

Are you disappointed that some of the missed tackles throughout the second half allowed them to get first downs? It seems like it is kind of the story for some of these losses. 

I can't point to a missed tackle. They're chasing guys across the field in coverage, that's tough. So, I don't know if that’s what you're referring too. I don't think we had a missed tackle at a point of attack. We had the quarterback in grasp, he pulled out of the grasp a couple of times, but I don't know. I can't recall a missed tackle that didn't, chasing guys across the field, man to man, is a difficult task. There is a lot of field in front of you. 

Marvin, you have talked a lot about your future...

I have not talked anything about my future. 

Do you find it odd, I know you see cameras kind of in your face walking off the field, do you find that whole...

It's ridiculous, I do. I think it's ridiculous. I think it's sad that’s the only thing they can point to. This isn't about me; this is about this football team and what they do. To make this about one person, it's not about one person. This is my job. That's it. 

With that being said, it's going to be a topic tomorrow.

So, go handle it tomorrow. 

So, I guess what happens next, now? 

We'll handle it tomorrow. 

Do you expect a decision one way or another tomorrow? 

I'm not talking anything else about it. 

Re: Joe Mixon

It’s hard to loosen things up if we don't complete some balls down the field. No question about it. John Ross went up and had a good effort at the one and didn't come down with it. We just were unable to loosen things up with Jeff Driskel down the field and get the ball down the field enough. 

What made you guys to pull Alex Redmond?

He had two penalties. 

It seems like he had those before.

He had two personal foul penalties. Frank Pollack has been making a point of it in practice and so forth. They have to grow through that. They are young guys, but they have to grow through that. We had a lot of young guys with penalties today. Which hurt us. You look at who committed the penalties, and there are guys that were playing for the first time.

Quarterback Jeff Driskel

How frustrating is it to end up on the losing end again?

Everybody worked hard to give everything they can to the team. I think that’s a given. It comes down to making plays and we didn’t make enough today. So yeah, it’s frustrating. At the end of the day, the offense just didn’t make enough plays.  

Do you take any pride in the way the team battled during the game?

I think that is something that should be a given and I think it is with these guys. It’s something you can hang your hat on. That we’re going to play hard. Give everything you’ve got. At the end of the day it’s about wins and losses and competing and making plays. And like I said, unfortunately we came up short today. 

Re: Rumors about Marvin Lewis’s job status affecting the team

I don’t think so. In the NFL there’s always going to be rumors floating around and that’s something that happens every year, so I don’t think it was a distraction. I don’t think we let it become a distraction. It’s something that never really came up in the locker room. It wasn’t really discussed so it was definitely not a distraction. 

Re: Marvin Lewis’s message to the team after the game

He was proud of the way that we played. We played hard. We played as a unit. We played with energy all night. And then just it comes down to making the plays in critical situations and we didn’t do so. That’s what it comes down to and we didn’t get it done. 

Re: Next season

I definitely think we have a talented group and along with the talent we have on this roster, the character that we have I think is what is going to get us over the edge. We were put in some tough spots down the stretch this year and a lot of us got some valuable experience. That’s something you can never take away. [I’m] just looking forward to the next opportunities because in the NFL you never know how many you’re going to get, but I’m excited for what’s to come for this group.

LB Nick Vigil

That was tied for the fewest points allowed by the defense this season against this offense in their building.

Yeah, like I said, I thought everybody was ready to play tonight and that's good to see, you know? We knew we didn't have a chance at the playoffs, but everybody stepped up and played pretty well, so that's good to see.

Did you guys run any different looks for Ben Roethlisberger in that back end? It seemed like he was holding the ball an awfully long time.

Yeah, we had a couple different looks for him and a little different personnel groupings that we haven't shown all season. And I don't think, a lot of times he knew what we were going to run, because he had never seen it before. You know, so that was good for us.

Ben Roethlisberger is a hard guy to get to the group.

A big guy.

WR Alex Erickson

Re: Rowdy fourth quarter and difficulty hearing at Heinz Field

This place is always a great atmosphere. The fans are always into it. It's always packed and loud. So, we knew that and that we knew no matter what the records were, what was going on in the games, it was going to be a good environment. So yeah, it adds another element to it and you have to change the cadence up, a silence cadence, stuff like that. It has its element, but I don't think it really affected anything we were trying to do.

How disappointing is it to get off to a 4-1 start and wind up with 6-10 finish?

Yeah, oh man, it's frustrating, it's frustrating. I feel like people have been saying this for the last couple of years now. We got all the pieces, it's a matter of putting them together, but we got to do it. We had a good start. People can sit here and make excuses about losing guys and stuff, but we're all professionals, we all get paid to do this so we're not going to make excuses. We weren't good enough and our record showed that.

S Shawn Williams

You seem like you really had Ben Roethlisberger confused. Whatever you were doing in the secondary seemed to throw him off.

I think it's hard to confuse him because he's played the game for so long. I think to you guys, he may being looking confused, but I think we played really tight coverage and a lot of his first and second reads weren't there because of the coverage so he had to kind of put it down and make time, and the stand plays that he always does. You can't confuse him, he knows, he's done this forever. He's a good quarterback. He knows when the safety is trying to bluff him, he knows what to look for.

I know you're disappointed to lose, but clearly the performance of the defense made you feel good about that.

Right, it's something that we can build upon, you know. We've been short-handed all year, but today I feel like this is one of the better games that we've played professionally all year. So like I've said, the standard has been set. We see how good we could be, and we're missing a lot of key guys, and guys are going to come, guys are going to go, but how we played today, we have to build upon that and play better next year. The same energy, the same positivity, and just that swagger, like that you can't be beat. If you beat me one time, let's turn around and do it again, and that's what we did today. They made plays, we made plays. That's what the NFL is all about.

Re: Ben Roethlisberger thinking he might have had a free play on the interception.

I thought he had a free play. That’s why when I scored, I was like 'What? I think it's coming back and we might have been offsides,' but they didn't call it, so it goes down go on the stat sheet.

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