Q: Opening comments:
"I feel good about the finish today and being able to stop them at the end. The defense, throughout most of the day, did a good job. And offensively, we really got off to a fast start - a nice job of taking care of the advantage we had in field position - but then we kind of fell off there in the second quarter, and also when we had it there again in the third quarter and we didn't take advantage of it enough. On the last drive where we drove for the field goal, we got the ball to mid-field and then were able to keep churning it down into field goal range. It was big to have that 10-point, two-score differential. That was big.
"I'm disappointed in the way we covered kickoffs today. Rock Cartwright is a really strong runner, but not one to make you miss. We didn't go a very good job of fitting the wedges today, so we've got to get back to that because we had been doing those things exceptionally well.
"Offensively, at times, we were a little soft in the protection, but we were able to get some runs today. They played a lot of eight-man fronts and single-high coverage against us. I thought we did a good job of throwing and catching the ball for the most part.
"The guys worked hard. It's a good victory for them. We're going to work really hard to finish this thing off. And now we get to go play the Browns."
Q: What did you see on the goal-line play that you challenged?
"We didn't think he got in. I thought his progress was stopped prior to scoring."
Q: How much of a help is it to be able to watch the big video boards for replays?
"It's a help at home. You get more of an advantage at home, no question. But on that one, they had already told me that they felt like they had seen it upstairs. I don't think fans and everybody realize this, but on the road, you don't get replay. At home you get replay, and that's the inequity we have right now in the system. So that was good. That was big, being able to see that and getting an opportunity to see that he was probably down."
Q: Your coaches upstairs saw it first?
"Yeah, I thought basically that everybody came in. Both wing officials came in and marked him down, and then once everything had unpiled, they said he did score."
Q: The forced fumble at the goal line was a big play by Corey Mays:
"It's a big play by Corey. He tried to extend the ball out over the goal line. That's the danger of doing that. You talk to your backs all the time about that. When you extend the football like that and you're still moving forward, as he was, you risk losing the football. It was a good job by the guys batting it out of his hands."
Q: On the fast start and giving the defense a lead early:
"Yeah, we got a lead. We did some good things on third down, and then we kind of fell off there a little while in the second quarter. But we started out hot on third down, and we finished well on third down. That's the key to playing defense. Other than that, we did get a turnover today. We had a couple of (other) chances, and we just didn't come up with the football."
Q: You were able to run the ball well today. What did you do differently that made you successful?
"It was more than the blocking. It's a combination of everything. Sometimes you have to get everything blocked and blocked on the perimeter. You've got to get in front where you have an advantage. Sometimes, they have more people than you can block. That's why, if you can learn our Check with me' systems, then you're back with throwing the football. But sometimes I don't want us to be all totally like that. We've got to try to get a hat on a hat, and try to get a guy over in motion in order to even things up on them. Today, they did a good job. We did a good job starting them out and got some movement. Cedric (Benson), hopefully we'll verify it on tape, stayed within his tracks and was on his points."
Q: Chad Johnson had the unfortunate penalty. Did you see that?
"I didn't see it. I guess he gave the ball to Clinton Portis, who was sitting on the bench, which is a penalty. We've got to be smarter than that. He knows better than that. It put us at risk. We were able to overcome it and get the field goal, though. But we had to go back on the other side of the 50."
Q: How was it to turn that first turnover into a touchdown?
"It was great. I think one of the things that Marvin (Lewis) talked about that we wanted to do going into this game was to give the crowd a reason to be excited. That comes with a fast start. The turnover was huge, and to go down and score early was a big deal. It got the crowd energized throughout the day, and they were great."
Q: It opens up the playbook a little bit when things start to work early, doesn't it?
"Cedric had a great start to the game. He ran well all day, and he ran hard. Just running the ball early with Cedric and the guys pushing up front helped out. Then he (Cedric Benson) had the big screen play where he took off down the sideline. It was good to see, and it was a good spark to our offense."
Q: Did you see something in the Redskins defense to call the naked bootleg?
"No. It's one of those plays that you always have, and it never gets called. It's one of those plays where I turn my back to everyone and spin around, and hopefully don't get smacked in the jaw. It was great because I saw a lot of green grass out there."
Q: After the 79-yard screen pass, did you guys feel a lift?
"We definitely did, and that's something that we have been lacking all year long. It's funny that it comes on a play like that, which is one of the most simple plays in our offense. It was just a great call at that time. It was set up perfectly, and Cedric just took off. He looked pretty good on that one."
Q: Chris Henry really stepped up today:
"You know, he's been doing a great job for us. It's probably been a little frustrating for him because he hasn't made as big of an impact as he probably thought he was going to make. On Cedric's screen play, I think he was on the opposite side, you saw him sprint 70 yards to make a block for Cedric. His effort has been great all year. He definitely has a changed attitude, and he's fun to play with. It's good to throw balls up to him and have him come down with them."
Q: Why did that screen play work so well?
"It was just one of those things that was drawn up, and the blockers got in front of Cedric, and it was just good timing. It was set up perfectly, and then Cedric made the most of it."
Q: Did you get the call from the bench to go for the quarterback sneak on fourth-and-one?
"That's usually a call from the bench. In the Jets game earlier this year when we scored, that was a call by me, and the linemen up front. But this was a situation where I was going to let Marvin handle it, and he gave us the green light."
Q: You went for the quarterback sneak with no huddle:
"Sometimes you want to catch them off guard and you can get it. It's something that we've done in the past."
Q: T.J. Houshmandzadeh made a great play on third down:
"It was a typical T.J. play. He didn't have a lot of balls thrown to him today, but he helps us out in so many other ways. He stayed in the game today even though it was probably frustrating at times not getting the ball. That was a huge play that extends the drive and takes some more time off the clock."
Q: How does it feel to get a win?
"It feels great. We've got two left, and we are ready to extend this winning streak. The way that the defense played today: I think that this is one of the first times we've played as a team (on offense and defense). We fed off each other with the turnovers and the scoring. There was good energy on the sideline today."
Q: Washington is one of the league leaders in not turning the ball over, yet you were able to force two turnovers against them:
"Jason Campbell all year has been really smart with the football in terms of limiting interceptions, and he was again today. Our defense created turnovers, and they knew our offense has been struggling. To get a spark like that and get the ball means a great deal for us. Then to go down and score - it's almost like rewarding them for their efforts."
Q: You had 120 yards from scrimmage in the first quarter alone. That's getting off to a pretty good start:
"Yes, but it's just as important to finish strong as it is to start strong. It's a four-quarter game, and you have to play them all. It's very much to our advantage to get off to the start we did today."
Q: You knew you would get most of the action today because so many guys behind you are nicked up:
"Yes I did, and I look forward to opportunities like that. You always want to be in there when all odds are against you. When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
Q: Ryan Fitzpatrick said that the Redskins stayed with the same defensive game plan in the second half, and it was just a matter of them executing a little better than they did in the first half:
"They came out in the second half doing the same things. I was expecting them to do some different things, but all they did was tighten down in some areas."
Q: You seemed to avoid getting tackled in the backfield today with some nice moves. It must have felt good to get past that line of scrimmage:
"Yes, it was a big relief just to get the running game going and executing some longer runs. I can't say enough about the guys up front. They came ready to play today, and that contributed largely to the victory."
Q: You guys were really able to the run the ball well today:
"We talked before the game as an offensive line, and we said we were going to go out, have some fun, and push some guys around. With a back like Cedric, we know he'll be able to make guys miss. We just tried to give him room to run."
Q: How about that long run by Cedric?
"Hey, we'll take it. It's fun. We had fun practices this week and we brought the fun to the game. We had no pressure on us. We played loose, we played hard, and we took it to them."
Q: It didn't look like you did anything wrong when you tossed the ball to Clinton Portis, yet you got flagged for 15 yards. It didn't cost you in the end:
"It wasn't going to cost us. I'll always be able to make up for whatever happens. We had fun. We came out very explosive. It was a great day today. We had 17 points on the board before I knew it, and it seemed like the Bengals of old. We got the win. It wasn't pretty in the second half, but we got the win."
Q: Was it nice to give the defense a big lead? That hasn't happened in a while:
"No, it hasn't happened all year. We got a turnover, which gave us great field position, and that made it easy to do what we wanted to do offensively."
Q: You guys had the ball for six or seven minutes on that last drive. That's huge to be able to hold the lead when you had to:
"Yes, most definitely. We played really well. Our defense did a great job all day, and if they would have had to come back out, I think they would have done the job again."
Q: Was the strong start for the offense the difference in the game today?
"They gave us opportunities to go up early, and we took advantage of them. We almost let the defense down late in the game. We became stagnant on offense and couldn't really move the ball. The defense came through again though with the fumble recovery at the goal line. It's not so much what we did on offense, but what our defense did with some timely turnovers."
Q: With the win today, you guys won't be as bad as the 2002 team in terms of wins and losses. Do you remember much about 2002, and does that motivate you at all today?
"No, it doesn't motivate me. Football is fun for me. It's always been fun and I always have fun. It's very different now. We have more talent on offense than we did in 2002. It's really a different atmosphere now."
Q: Did your eyes light up when you saw the ball being held out, unprotected at the goal line?
"Yes, we were all swiping at it trying to knock it loose."
Q: It's big to be able to create that turnover and take points off the board for them:
"It's a big momentum swing in the game. It's good for the offense to be able to get it back and have a chance to add to the lead."
Q: Initial comments:
"To summarize today's game, I feel that there were many plays that were difficult. We needed to convert positive yardage and points in situations that we didn't. The Bengals stopped us on the goal line, and that was one of the key points in the game. We only had inches to get into the end zone and we turned the ball over. I thought the call was a good one, and that we would surge in for a score. Obviously they played us very tough on the goal line. That drive flipped the momentum in the game.
"Early in the game, we were stopped a couple of times when we went three-and-out. We stopped ourselves. They continued to stay in the game, and that created trouble for us. We could not sustain momentum.
"So many little things occurred throughout the course of the game that we must take a look at. We must play better if we want to earn the right to win. You have to earn a win in this league. We must play better if we are going to earn the right to win. We certainly didn't earn the right to win today."
Q: How did penalties affect you in the outcome of today's game?
"They devastated us. Penalties really hurt us today in the kicking game. They can dramatically affect field position. I recall one that resulted in a difference of nearly 40 yards. When you get backed up in field position and you are playing from behind, things can get very tough for you. When we were trailing, we weren't playing in desperation, but we were playing on the wrong end of the field in terms of field position.
"We are all up for the challenge of having to cover a long field to put ourselves in a position to win the football game. When we lost all the momentum in the game on that drive, it really took the wind out of our sails. We were not successful when we lost all of our momentum on a 40-yard penalty."
Q: After a 6-2 start and having beat some good teams, how do you motivate your team when you are recently defeated by teams like the Rams and Bengals who have sub-par records?
"After losing four of the last five games before coming into today, I would commend our players on how they have prepared themselves. They really worked hard this week to get ready for this game. We needed to come in here and show our stuff.
"I am proud of how hard everyone has worked. Everyone stayed into the game the whole way through. There was no bickering or finger pointing on the sideline. The game was a frustrating one to be a part of because we were not successful in certain situations. We committed some errors and turned the ball over. All the little things add up and start to take their toll. We could not bring things together in our favor today."
Q: Did playing two backup offensive tackles affect today's performance?
"I think it made a difference early in the game with a couple of adjustments. It certainly wasn't the main reason that we were not successful today. That was not even spoken about at any point in the game among our staff."
Q: Are you able to keep your focus in building a foundation for this organization, even with a setback like today's game?
"I am frustrated. Believe me it is heart-felt. I can sense all these emotions beginning to well up within me because things have not gone our way as of late. I am also objective enough to see that we do have a long way to go. I am confident enough in my abilities to stand strong and firm. That is what I am going to do. The speculation and criticisms are there, but I don't let them guide me."
Q: You have some holes to fill in the offseason. Where will you begin to continue to improve the organization?
"We have had only one year to begin to put this team together. We are going in the right direction. When you are trying to build a foundation and setbacks like today happen, you must quickly move on and continue forward. We sincerely must push on."
Q: What happened in today's game?
"We came in here anticipating that we would play at a high-level and put some points on the board and win the game, but we just came up short. One thing you know about games in the NFL, turnovers will always get you. We have to prevent those so we can be in a good position and not have to come back."
Q: Can you talk about the three tries from the one-yard line?
"We worked so hard to get down there - it was like an 80- or 90-yard drive. To get down there and have that opportunity and not come away with any points - that was tough and it kind of deflated us after that. But we are all professionals, and we have to find a way to respond and get back up there."
Q: Did the Bengals defense do something you didn't expect?
"They played hard. They've been playing hard on defense all season. They played extremely hard, but we still had opportunities. We just have to capitalize on the opportunities."
Q: Did you feel like Mike Sellers had a pretty good shot at getting in the end zone from the one?
"He is a big guy and has a big frame. He is such a big fullback, so why not. Like I said, it's something that happened, and if we had to do it all over again, we would probably do the same thing. Mike is very talented - we are able to get the ball out to him as a receiver - and he is a good lead blocker."
Q: Where does this team go from here with two games to play?
"It was a tough loss for us today. I'm not sure what happened on the other games today, but today was an opportunity for us to take care of our business and keep ourselves alive with a home game against Philly next week. We let a great opportunity get away. How we respond is we have to try to come together as a team."
Q: Is there enough talent on this team at the skill positions for you guys to do the things you want to?
"I think it is just a matter of us continuing to work and get some guys more experience, and at the same time trying to keep progressing and keep moving. No matter what, we are trying to come together and trying to step up. Once we got the momentum, I thought there was no stopping us, because we thought no matter what we were doing, we were going to be successful. Even on that drive that we got all the way down to the goal line, if we scored, I am pretty sure we would have scored some more after that."
Q: Any explanation for the flat start?
"I am not sure. I really can't answer that one. We are all professionals and prepare, and it's just something that happened. The Bengals put themselves in a good position early in the game, and our backs were against the wall and we had to fight to get back in the game. It is one of those things that happens, and for whatever reason, we just to have to focus as a team, try to get a winning season and get something to carry over for next year."
Q: Talk about today's result:
"We've got to find a way to win. This loss is our fault. We've got to go out there and execute. You can't put that on the coaches. That was us on the field. They (the Bengals) won the turnover battle. They converted on third down and managed clock control in the fourth quarter. Those are the ways to win games, and that's what they did."
Q: Are you frustrated about having a first-and-goal situation from the one-yard line and not getting a carry?
"No. The coach made the call. Everyone had confidence that Mike (Sellers) was going to get in."
Q: Talk about being 6-2 and now finding the team in the situation of being 7-7:
"We were sitting at 6-2 and understanding we needed to find a way to win to get seven, and then eight wins. Finding us at 7-7 - we found a way to win one game and to lose five. I'm sure there is no one in this organization that imagined we would do that. There was not one single person you could (credit) when we were having success, and there is not one single person you can blame on this team for what we've turned into. We've got more two games left and we need to find a way to win those two games."
Q: Does the talent level on this team need to change?
"I think we've got a lot of talent. When we were 6-2, we were one of the best teams in the NFL. All of a sudden, it unraveled."
Q: Talk about Santana Moss's touchdown celebration penalty:
"The officials are going to call what they want to call. We know they judge the game. They are going to make those calls. The NFL told us before the season the officials were going to flag those moves and fine those moves. It was no surprise. I'm sure he didn't think taking his towel off was considered a prop."
Q: On a lighter note, talk about Chad Johnson giving you the football out of bounds and receiving a penalty of his own:
"I think he looked up and was shocked to see me. He just handed me the ball. All of a sudden, that got him a 15-yard penalty. The officials are watching everything."
Q: Do you feel like that first-and-goal situation was a turning point in the game?
"I know we kept playing. I think we could have come out with seven points out of that situation, but to come away with nothing: The guys came back and responded. We kept fighting and went down to get into position to score again, but came away with a field goal."
Q: Is it hard to go to work now with this team likely having it's postseason hopes dashed?
"We still have a job to do. We still have two games to play. Cincinnati hasn't packed it in (when they were eliminated). That's why they beat us. We need to use that for motivation. We need to play the spoiler against the Eagles and get rid of their playoff hopes. We can finish our season strong and look forward to next year."
Q: On today's game:
"I think it's tough that we continue to lose. Today was another game where we didn't play nearly as well as we could have played. I don't think anyone in here has an excuse right now. It wasn't good enough for anyone on the field.
"This was definitely the hardest loss I have had since I've been (in Washington). We gave ourselves a chance to be in the playoffs, even though we stumbled midway through the year. We felt like if we won the last three games (of the regular season), we could get there. So, it's very frustrating that we came out and performed poorly today.
"It was really like a playoff game for us. To come out and lose today was a major disappointment."
Q: What has changed on this team since you were 6-2 and now stand at 7-7 today?
"I think that's what all of us are looking for right now. That's a great question in this locker room.
"Obviously, we have stopped scoring points. We ran the ball a little better earlier (in the season), but we are still doing the same things. We are still practicing hard. We are still working hard. That's the luxury of Coach Zorn to be able to answer that question."
Q: What happened on your first-quarter fumble?
"From what I've been told, someone pulled me on the neck to the side and (the Bengals) put a helmet on the ball (causing the fumble). I felt like if I had put my head down and secured the ball a little better, I would have been fine there."
Q: Talk about today's game:
"Every week we've got something different to say about why we lost. I really don't know at this point. It doesn't feel good. A loss is a loss. I don't have any good answers."
Q: When the Redskins were 6-2, could you have imagined this team not making the playoffs?
"Nope. There is so much frustration right now. I don't know if I can talk anymore."
Q: Talk about the penalty following your touchdown reception:
"It really doesn't matter. I scored a touchdown, but we didn't win. "We needed something to boost us. I scored a touchdown, so I was feeling really good."