BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
NOV. 29, 2015
ST. LOUIS AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"I think it was a good win overall for the football team today. We had the one turnover on offense (Andy Dalton's interception) ... We had the big play we gave up defensively (60-yard run by Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin), but we settled down and played a good second half and just stayed on track. We had a good focus this week, and we just have to keep going. Overall, again, it was good (football) in all three phases (of the game). We did a lot of good things today on special teams; we were very alert there. They obviously have a good returner back there in Austin, so I thought Kevin (Huber) really punted the football well to give us good opportunities. I thought Mike (Nugent) kicked well in the kicking game because those were key elements for us today because of what they could do back there (in the return game).
"Again, controlling that field position is key. I think the one thing that we continue to improve at is getting off the field defensively on third down. Again, that's huge. That's the one thing — they converted a few third downs there in the third quarter — but we've just got to keep doing a better job (of preventing that). Overall, I'm pleased. It was kind of (an) uneventful (game), but that's what we need."
You rarely single out line play, but as a whole, the defensive front spent a lot of time in the Rams' backfield. Can you speak to their efforts today, please?
"I just think it was a key to the game (for) both sides (in) controlling the line of scrimmage. We were able to get that done today, and that was key."
You have to be happy there were fewer penalties today — just three — than the past two games, although I know you're not happy with any penalties occurring, yes?
"We've got to keep cleaning things up. We had two personal fouls, and I'm not happy with those."
The offensive line seemed to do a good job. The pocket was pretty clean for Andy Dalton today ...
"It takes everybody — it takes all 11 guys on offense — to do that, and that's key. He's got to move when he gets opportunities. He's got to take off and go. The route, the progression, the read — everything has to work together, and obviously that was key today ... (as was) staying out of the third-and-long situations against their group, because they're very good on defense at that."
Jeremy Hill seemed to get on track today with some good runs. How much does he add to the offense when he's doing that?
"Jeremy runs as Jeremy runs as we block as we block; it all works together. I've not seen a back yet gain much yardage if we don't block. We've got to continue to get better at that in every way, whether we're running one back, two backs — whatever we're doing. Jeremy is doing everything he can do all the time, so we just keep doing what we're doing."
It must be nice to get some production out of him — to get his confidence going in a positive direction, right?
"Obviously, we needed to be able to run the football today to negate the rush today and it was good."
Tavon Austin had a productive first half with handoffs and short passes, and then was not able to do that in the second half when they tried those plays. Was the defense more disciplined in the second half and/or was as stopping that a point of emphasis at half time?
"Well, we gave up one play for 60 yards. I already kind of addressed that."
Some people might say the Rams aren't as good as the Arizona Cardinals. Do you feel your team got better today regardless of the competition this week versus last?
"Every time we come out here, the goal is to get better and hopefully we always accomplish that goal whether we win, lose or draw. The goal of the football team on the journey through the season is to get better each and every opportunity out here."
Were there things you saw in the Cardinals game that were addressed by your team today that leads you to believe they did play better?
"Well, again, there's positives from last week (and) positives this week."
Was that a good game for you guys all around to get some things re-established?
"For sure. After losing two in a row, you want to come out and get a win. I felt like we played well in all phases of the game. It feels good to get a win, and good to get a win the way we did."
It seems like one of those games where everyone succeeded and is sharing credit for the way the team played ...
"Yeah. Offensively, we ran the ball well and set up some things in the pass game. Guys made big plays — A.J. (Green) with two touchdowns, and Tyler (Eifert) with another big one (touchdown). To get the score in the second half, and then Leon (Hall) getting the interception for the touchdown kind of sealed it. That was a very well-played game by the whole team."
The Rams didn't get much pressure on you today. Did you guys change any protections this week that helped with that?
"Our guys played well. We knew the challenge we were going to face — they've got a good (defensive) front. Our guys responded. They were stout up front. That's what you have to do when you face a team like that."
Was that a broken coverage on A.J. Green's first touchdown, or was that just a certain look that you got and capitalized on?
"With the coverage that they were playing, we knew that we had a chance to take advantage of that. The corner kind of jumped on the inside route and left A.J. open. So it was good execution, and a great play call by Hue (offensive coordinator Hue Jackson) at that point."
There wasn't much drama down the stretch today, as opposed to the last few weeks where the games came down to the wire. Was it nice to get the win in that way?
"Yeah. They're not always going to be like this, but it's nice to control the game, especially the way we did where we could sit back in the fourth quarter and it not be a nail-biter."
From the very first offensive play, Jeremy Hill seemed to have it going a little more today. Do you think that changed things, or was there a different energy today with the run game going?
"For sure. I thought our guys played well. Jeremy ran really hard, and Gio (Bernard) does such a good job of making guys miss and doing what he does. We did a good job in the run game."
The team's record is very good with you at quarterback when you run the ball 30 times or more. The circumstances dictated more rushing attempts today, but how nice is it to remain balanced between the run and pass?
"It obviously worked today again. Every game is different depending on what's going on. It's a good thing that we were in the position where we had to run the ball at the end of the game. You want to be in that position in every game that you play. The way we executed all over the field today was good."
Did you want to get the message through by running the ball?
"No. We really just said we had to run the ball efficiently and not put ourselves in similar situations we got ourselves in the last couple weeks with third-and-forever."
Any particular reason the running game took today?
"We're getting better and better at it, and today we able to operate. At this time of year, it's going to be important to win — to be able to rush the ball."
Did you guys slide to Rams DT Aaron Donald a little bit?
"We really just looked at our protections and not necessarily made an adjustment, but we made sure we knew where he was. I think the guards did a great job against him. It was a great job of executing today."
So it wasn't really a sliding, but making sure of where he was?
"It's more of a situation where the guards and the center have a plan on how to block him, and then go out and execute."
Looks like you're in pretty good shape at 9-2 with five games left to play ...
"We're in good shape, but you've got to go out every week and try to win. It's going to be a challenge. If we keep forcing teams to play us all the way to the end, hopefully it always works our way."
Another good defensive effort today ...
"I thought we did our jobs today. (Todd) Gurley had what? Nineteen 19 yards or something? And he's the best player on the team. We took care of him and took care of No. 11 (Tavon Austin) for the most part, except for that one drive where he had that reverse. That was the key to the game — stop No. 30 and stop No. 11. We did a good job of that."
What happened on the Austin play?
"We kind of got our formation we were talking about at practice; we just didn't communicate it well. We took care of business after that. It's good to get back on track and bounce back from a tough loss last week."
What does this game say about this defense right now?
"It says a lot. We've got a lot of players in our room. They've done a great job putting this team together. We just have to go out and continue to grunt."
Was it good to see the running game going today?
"Yeah, for sure. It's a team effort. When the offensive line is blocking like that, you kind of get the defense on their heels."
There doesn't seem to be much celebration. Why not?
"We were definitely happy. We know we still have a lot of work to do. We still have five games left. Everybody's happy. We came in (from the field) and people were yelling and stuff like that, but at the same time, we know what we have to do. We have to keep going and finish it out well."
To bounce back this way and put it on the Rams the way you did, what it does it say about what this team is capable of moving forward?
"You've seen it since the beginning of the season. We've had some close games, but we're still rolling. You can see it on everybody's face, especially when we're on the sideline. We're determined. That hasn't faded away. We have some tough matchups coming. We know when we go to Cleveland, it's always a dog fight. And Pittsburgh ... we have some games that we really need to hone in the focus, and that's what we're doing."
What did you learn from the two losses that really helped you shine today?
"We learned that it's the NFL. Sometimes you can't have all of them. We want all of them, but we've faced some pretty good teams, too. We just have to do what we have to do, and go out, put our best foot forward, and things will come out in our favor."
How does it feel to snap the two-game skid?
"It feels good to get back on a winning streak. We let two slip away by seven total points. It feels good to get back on the right side."
At times it seemed to look easy for the offense ...
"We game-planned well and were prepared."
After two losses there was a little panic among the fans. Does it feel good to shut that down today with a win?
"This locker room is together. Coach Lewis does a great job having us block the noise out. Of course we'd like to be undefeated, but things happen. We're still in a good position."
Winning the way you did, what does it say about this team?
"It's just another game. We're nine and two. That's it."
Does it feel good to bounce back with a two-touchdown game?
"Anything I can do to help my team win feels good."
How good did it feel to get a touchdown on the first drive?
"It felt good. It felt real good. Everything started rolling after that — but it's still just another game."
Does it feel good to be back on the winning track?
"Yes, it feels good. It opened some eyes when we lost two in a row. We know we're a talented team and we know we can win. It's about playing all four quarters. That was our focus this week. We let the chips lay where they fall and we're happy to come away with the win."
Nick Foles seemed to struggle. Did you see something different from him?
"All week we talked about seeing the ball come off the hand. We were able to get good pressure up front and then react to the ball. It was nothing special. It's the same thing we've done all year. Sometimes you'll have great games, sometimes you won't, but it's about doing it right consistently."
What does this win say about the Bengals?
"It doesn't say anything that we didn't already know. We've proven that we can win. It's about being consistent week in and week out. When we walk out, we expect to win. We need to continue doing the right things."
You had a big play where you tipped one of the passes ...
"All week we've talked about watching the ball come off the hand. When you know the ball is coming out quick, you're able to pursue the quarterback."
You guys made it very difficult on the Rams' offense today ...
"We just wanted to stop the run early and pin our ears back and take advantage of things."
Did it make a difference playing at home this week?
"Yeah, playing in front of our fans at home is second to none. Every Sunday our fans are as loud as can be, and today they came to play, too."
The secondary seemed to benefit from the pressure up front ...
"Our secondary is having a heck of a year. It's like they know what the receivers are going to do. Everyone is putting in time and studying and winning those one-on-one matchups. They look great, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
You seemed to hobble off the field early in the first ...
"I'm fine. I just rolled my ankle. Same thing happens in basketball all the time."
Lots of energy out there today ...
"Yes — those two losses, early on — back to back — we don't want that feeling anymore. I realized today that when we come out with high energy, everyone feeds off of it. I told the defense, 'You feel that? That energy?' I feel like we need to come out like that for every game. That's a championship trait."
The defensive front put a lot of pressure on the QB ...
"That's why we praise them. That's why they get the big bucks. They matched the challenge today and had a great week in practice, which showed in today's game."
You had an odd three-week stretch with the scheduling. Was that a factor in the losses?
"No. We don't make excuses. We're a good team and we can overcome adversity. We need to continue playing hard and getting wins."
RAMS POSTGAME QUOTES
NOV. 29, 2015
ST. LOUIS AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"Well, obviously a disappointing loss — they're a good football team. If things happen differently earlier in the game, maybe it's a closer game. I'm disappointed in the turnovers. We had a chance to go in the locker room down 17-10 and didn't. Credit to them for making the play. They made the play that stalled that drive, and of course our defense gave up some plays in the second half. So, I'm disappointed overall. We're not getting much production out of the offense. We understood the matchups this week, and we tried to get the ball out sideways, and we made some plays, but not nearly enough. Credit them — they're a well-coached and outstanding defense. As far as our decision to go with Nick (Foles), Case (Keenum) has not passed the protocol. That's why he was third and inactive. When Case does pass it — and we're hopeful that it is this week — that he'll go back under center as the starter. We had leg practice on Friday, and we were kicking, and apparently Greg (Zuerlein) had a little hip flexor strain in the middle part of practice and didn't realize it until after I had a meeting with you guys. He just wasn't in a position to kick today, so we went ahead and made that roster move, and we'll see how he is. That might be a one-week thing. Zach (Hocker) did a nice job with the kickoffs under difficult circumstances, but he didn't get the work that I hoped he would've gotten today."
With Zach Hocker, you didn't have any time to work him out. You just signed him?
"That's correct. Saturday at walkthrough we had time to just time up his approach. His approach is different than Greg's, so you have to do all those things and go through all the 'what-if's,' and situations, and scenarios. We did that Saturday."
Sean Mannion not ready to make a run?
"Not at this point, no, not enough time. And that's why I slowed the game down at the end — to give him an opportunity to get in the game. He was excited to play."
Are you OK with the effort of your team right now?
"Yes. Anyone that implies it's an effort issue—they can kiss my (rear). There is no effort problems with this team. That's what happens when you lose four in a row — people say it's effort. Come to practice, watch this team play, and ask any other opponent or opposing coach. It's not an effort issue right now. It's execution. It's 70 percent offense and 30 percent defense. I'll leave (special) teams out of it, because our teams always play hard."
How about yourself, do you feel like you're doing a good enough job with this team right now?
"I've lost four in a row, so no. That's not acceptable. But we're going to keep working at it. We've got to get more production on offense."
Coach Jeff Fisher said it wasn't an issue of effort, but rather an issue of execution. What does that mean?
"Each play is designed for a specific coverage and blocking scheme. We didn't do our job well enough to get the ball in the end zone and put points on the board. That's what he's talking about. We've got to execute. It's the fine details of football. There are 11 guys out there trying to execute one play, and we just have to be more precise than we are right now."
You have accomplished a lot early in your career. Do you have ever question what has happened to you as a player?
"I still feel like the same player. It's one of those things where it's just a bump in the road and you learn. It's a lot of character building and a lot of adversity. Every week you want to turn it around, and it's one of those things where it's longer than you think. You just have to keep working on the fine details, like going in the weight room and watching film. You just have to keep working at it because you can't give up. There is no choice. I know I'm not going to give up, and I'm going to keep working."
How emotional was this week?
"It's been an emotional week thinking about Stedman Bailey and everything he is going through. We're praying for him and we wanted to go out there and play for him. That's what hurts. We know what he's going through. It's just one of those things where we're just praying for him and hoping he gets through this."
Coach Jeff Fisher mentioned the plan was to get things going on the perimeter ...
"It's just like we talked about — that it comes down to execution with every single person doing their job, and that's including me. We just have to keep working and be more precise. In the NFL, everybody is pretty good, and that's a really good team right now. You have to be extremely precise and execute for things to work."
Did you not see the guy on the interception when you were scrambling?
"Yeah, I was scrambling and trying to step up, make a play, and try to convert. I saw him and tried to get the ball over him. It's one of those things where I was trying to make too big of a play in that situation."
Was it hard to adjust with Geno Atkins in the middle?
"They are a talented front. When it comes to adjustments, that's what the offensive line goes through, and that's what they are working on. We just ran our game plan. We just kept working and trying to get something to pop."
As a team leader, how do you keep the team going?
"Everybody is feeling emotional right now. I'm feeling emotional right now. It's tough. You put a lot in during the week, and you want to go out and execute and win for the city, the coaches, for Stedman Bailey, for everybody. It's one of those things where guys got to do what they do emotionally and just realize, in the grand scheme of things, we are very fortunate and blessed to do what we do. There are not many people in the world that get to do this, and we're among them. We're very fortunate, so just look at yourself in the mirror and realize that. We're fortunate to have health; we're fortunate to have a lot of things. I'm just going to go out there and keep working."
How did Tavon Austin play? Obviously he's dealing with a lot of emotion ...
"He's dealing with a lot of emotions right now. He always plays like that. He plays with a ton of heart and with everything he has, every game. I'm excited about what he's going to continue to do, and what he's going to do in the future."
Was it hard to concentrate out there with the news of Stedman Bailey?
"It was tough, but he's definitely in my prayers. We aren't going to make this about me. It's about all of us. We are going to keep on pushing."
Were you able to put his number on your uniform?
"No. I wasn't able to do that. My brother's in my heart, that's all that matters."
You always play hard, but did you try a little harder to pay tribute to him?
"I always try hard. I will try to do anything to get us a win out there, especially for him. For me, I'm playing for two out there. I'll take his load and keep on pushing."
Have you been able to have any contact with him?
Do you think if Stedman was watching he would have been smiling on your 60-yard run and the touchdown?
"I know his girlfriend is telling him right now. I know that she's right by his side. She was telling him play-by-play what was going on."
Is it tough to go out there and play with all the emotions?
"It definitely is tough, but at the end of the day, we are all professionals and we have a job to do. All of us want to go down there and visit him, but we can't. We will keep on doing what we're doing for him here. He's definitely smiling inside."
How did you end up being the kicker for the Rams today?
"There's not typically a kicker on the practice squad or backups on the team, so they have to get somebody off the couch, and that's exactly where I was at. I was actually watching Arkansas play Missouri on Friday afternoon on the couch with my fiancé and her parents, and I got a call at 3 p.m. and hopped in the truck and headed to Saint Louis."
Where were you?
"I was in south Arkansas. I was watching football and eating some leftover turkey, and then headed up to Saint Louis. It's a blessing. Anytime I get to be on the football field, I'm not going to take it for granted. Greg (Zuerlein) will be back before long, but I'm just happy to be here to fill in for him."
How did it feel for you out there?
"I was glad I got a chance to go in there and play a little bit. I wish the circumstances would have been different."
How was the speed of the game?
"You get a taste of it in the preseason. Everybody tells you, and I think it's true, preseason is a whole different animal compared to the regular season. It was great to get in there. I tried to play a simple game. I focused on getting the ball out of my hand fast, being accurate, completing some passes. I think the other thing is trying to stay engaged all game long on the sideline — helping the defense, doing whatever I can to help Nick (Foles) — tell him if I see anything, or ask if he wants me to look at anything in particular. I think staying engaged all game long really helped me to be prepared for the looks. I just tried to complete some passes and operate the offense."
How do you move forward after this loss?
"We have to keep playing football. You have to put something on film. We are just playing for each other really."
Jeff Fisher said that the effort on this team is there ...
"We play hard as a team, especially on defense. We do what we do. We come out here and play every game, no matter what. It doesn't matter the situation. It doesn't matter who we play, where we play — we just play the type of football we play."
Can you describe Andy Dalton's play and what made him successful?
"He's a good quarterback. He's been winning games. He's having a good year. They made some plays. He put some balls up there, and the receivers made some good plays."