BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
Initial comments ...
"That was a hell of a fourth (quarter) and fifth quarter. Not a very good third quarter. I'm proud of our guys. I feel good about the fact that we just kept playing — no flinch. A long run, a turnover before halftime — that's a six-point swing there. Then we come out in the middle of the third quarter and implode on ourselves a little bit. We righted ourselves (and) got going, and that's what the football season is all about. It's a long year against a lot of good teams, and we've got to keep that up. Today was a good step to understand that we can do that all of the time. If you get in those situations, you can keep fighting back and just make one play on top of another. That's what we were able to do with stops by the defense and returns in the kicking game. We have just got to keep doing those things and good things happen."
What swung the momentum back to your side in fourth quarter?
"I can't pinpoint one thing. Russell Wilson does a lot of really good stuff for them. We had to get him corralled and trapped, and once we got him trapped a little bit, we had an opportunity. Our defense getting a stop and offense getting a touchdown gave us life. We were 10 points down and (then it was) a football game again."
What kind of spark did Adam Jones provide?
"He sets up the short field and we got a big stop. He gives us a short field, and he energizes everybody."
What's been the biggest thing in Andy Dalton's growth?
"Andy's had that poise. He's had rare occasions where he let one bad play lead to another. To me, that's what makes Andy Dalton tick. It's rare for him to have one bad play lead to another. I think the confidence that everybody around him has — and the fact that they are getting to the right spots and providing him the opportunity to deliver them the football — it makes a huge impression for those of you who are watching. But for him, he hasn't changed. The other guys have raised their level around him. So when things don't quite go their way, they are mentally tough enough (to do the things to) let Andy do his thing. Whether it's the protection, or the defense making a stop, or the receiver being in the right spot making the contested catches — it makes a huge difference. If a quarterback doesn't have that, then it all comes down on him."
How often do you practice the fire drill kick in practice?
"Every two or three weeks, we cover it in practice."
You looked pretty calm at the end of the game ...
"If I'm a screaming idiot, then I'll have 11 screaming idiots out there."
After watching this team come back, I imagine you would have to be proud of them ...
"We needed a stop. The only time we got stopped offensively was when we stopped ourselves with penalties or the interception. Other than that, we moved the ball up and down the field for most of the football game. Any time you get a penalty, it can throw you off sync. Once we cleaned that up, we were able to get going a little bit."
Does this type of win make this team special?
"No. It's still early in the season and we have got a lot of football left. We know Seattle is a good football team and that's good. They play football like our division plays, and that's good for us. I went up to Pete, and we both said before the game that this was a great game for both teams to play because they are physical football teams. That's what we're used to playing in this division. That's good for us."
How many teams you've coached in the past would have been able to do what your team did today?
"I don't want to offend anybody, but these guys are doing what they're supposed to do, and that's a good thing."
Tyler Eifert seems like he's getting better and better ...
"He's a big target. The catch he made in overtime when the guy tried to cut him off — he's got enough athletic ability to still get inside, make the catch and keep running. That's a big football play there, and we had some big plays from those guys."
Did your heart skip a bit when Mike Nugent's kick hit the upright?
"I thought it was good. I didn't see it. I thought it had gone in, and then it hit. I don't really have a good vantage (point) from there (the bench)."
Dre Kirkpatrick made a nice play there in overtime ...
"We made some good plays on defense, and we made some plays that weren't so good. We were fortunate today to get the win."
What was Adam Jones doing on the fair catch?
"I think the back judge felt like he was waving a fair catch when he really was telling our guys to get out of the way because he was going to return it. It was his natural reaction. It was unfortunate, but we overcame it and that's a good thing."
Do you allow yourself to enjoy a win like this?
"We have to move on to Buffalo. We have a big football game ahead us on the road and against a really good football team that plays well at home. They're physically tough. We're going to have to load up."
How big of a win is that, going against a team that has been to the Super Bowl the last two years?
"It's a huge win for us. It shows the character of this team, shows the fight of this team. And for us to do that against a really, really good team, come back in the fourth quarter, get it to overtime, and for Mike (Nugent) to hit that kick to win the game, it was huge. We needed it. It was big for us and I'm so proud of our guys."
The interception at the end of the half was a point swing and a momentum swing. What got it back for you guys?
"That was my fault. I took a chance, left the ball inside. It was a bad throw. They made a good play. It did turn into points for them. Offense gave them 10 points basically. There was no quit in us. You play four quarters. Sometimes you have to play more than that. Our defense did an unbelievable job in the fourth quarter to get us the ball back, to get us in good field position, to have chances to get it to overtime, and the offense took advantage of it. It was a complete game. I'm so proud of this team."
How much more ownership of the offense do you have right now, every day of the week, when it comes to meetings that you're running with the guys?
"I feel like I've got complete control of this offense. Hue (Jackson) has an unbelievable job with the way he's calling plays, the way he's getting guys in space, getting guys the ball. For us, it's huge. We feel like we put ourselves in a good position. We've worked really hard to get here. We have to keep playing at this level."
How did it all change with you now running meetings?
"It's not necessarily that I run all the meetings. There's a lot of time spent between me and Hue and our quarterbacks coach, Ken Zampese. There's a lot of interaction there, a lot of give and take on what we like. It's been working really well for us. Our guys understand what we're trying to do. We've been practicing really well, and it's showed up on game day."
Was your touchdown run an audible, and if so, what did you see that made you change the play?
"Yeah, there was a good look. Everything was wide open on the inside, and it gave me an opportunity to just take it myself. It was a great play design and it worked. It was one of those things where you get those looks, you practice them throughout the week, and we got it and we executed it exactly how we wanted to."
Did you change it?
"Yeah, it was one of those things we saw."
Was it one of those 'check with me' or something?
"Yeah, however you want to look at it. We called the play for me to keep it and run up the middle."
You prepare the same for every opponent going in, but not every win is equal. What can a win like this do?
"It puts us at 5-0. We want to stay undefeated. We want to stay undefeated at home. This win shows that we've done it in so many different ways. Sometimes we've won where we've had to run the clock out at the end. Other times like the Baltimore game they score twice, we respond and score. This one got us to overtime and we ended with a field goal to win it. However you can win by one point, that's what we've done so far this year."
What have you done each year to hasten your release and get the ball out quicker?
"I've worked really hard. I've worked with Tom House and Adam Dado, and both of those guys have helped me out just pure mechanically. Not that there's a huge drastic change in my throwing motion, but there's fine tuning things to make sure we're getting the most out of it. They've helped me out a lot and it's been working."
When did you start working with Tom and when was the dramatic improvement?
"I've worked with him for two years now, and the more time I've spent with him I feel like the better I've become."
Where was your release when it started compared to where it is now?
"It's so hard to say. I feel like I've always had a quick release, so it's not necessarily that's it's speeding up, it's just making sure that I'm getting the most out of my body to be as accurate as possible."
They kind of changed coverage on A.J. Green in the second quarter. What was your response to that?
"We had chances. They ended up putting (Richard) Sherman on A.J. They even had some safety help over there. We had a couple of chances to hit some of these throws down field. We got big pass interference calls on Marvin (Jones). Mo (Sanu) was able to get open, and get loose, and hit a couple big ones to him too. It's one of those things if they're going to take away A.J. there's other guys that are going to be getting open."
When you're down 17, do you believe you can win or is that something that builds more with each score and each defensive stop?
"There's so much game left that we knew we had a chance to get down there. If we just got the momentum on our side, and we were able to score and put ourselves in a good spot. That's the biggest thing. We got down, and even going down into the fourth quarter the way we were, but there's no quit in this team, because we knew there was a ton of time left that if we played our game then we'd be able to come back."
What is it about Tyler Eifert that you trust him to make those really tough contested catches?
"He's so talented. He's like a receiver playing tight end. He's got unbelievable skills, can go up and make different catches—whether it be over guys or diving. That diving catch that got us down there to be able to kick the field goal at the end of the game was such a big play when we needed it, and that's what makes him so special."
What does he add to the offense that you didn't have when he missed all of last season?
"His ability is so good. It was tough losing him last year and not having him. When we got all our guys back we feel like we're pretty good."
Did you have to say anything to the team to remind everybody about poise, and not trying to do too much, and to make sure to stay calm throughout that fourth quarter?
"Absolutely. I'm walking up and down the sideline, first off, saying to our defense 'Let's get us a stop, and let's get the ball back.' A couple times saying 'Get us a three-and-out and we'll get a score.' And that happened. With our guys, we don't have to try and do anything else but play our game. We don't have to try to make bigger plays than we need to. We just have to stick to our offense and our guys did a great job."
How does that balance when you're doing all the pre-snap stuff and watching the clock to try and do it as fast as possible?
"There's give and take there. When you're getting different looks you might have to change some things or you might have to do stuff. At the end of the day it worked out."
With no timeouts left do you do any kind of shortcut with the stuff at the line?
"It just kind of depends on the situation and what's being called. I thought we had pretty good clock management. It worked out where we had to get down there. I took that big hit. To run the field goal team on and hit the field goal was huge. That's something that we practice and it paid off."
Were you thinking 'I've got to get down?'
I was saying 'Okay if I can extend this a little bit, and see if we might have someone get open,' and then I'm thinking, 'Just throw it away,' but then I don't have time to throw it away.'"
Is it tough to gather yourself and get to the sideline after a hit like that?
"No, I was fine. I felt it, obviously, but I got to the sideline pretty quick."
They were coming with five guys pretty consistently. Did you make any adjustment there to pick that guy up at all?
"They kept doing different things with blitzing. Sometimes we were able to pick it up. Sometimes we had to throw hot. It just kind of depends. There's different stuff that happens."
Is this the most confident you've felt in your pro career right now?
"Absolutely. Every year that you play and every game you play, and when you get wins like this it adds to your confidence. I feel really good about this team and where we are, obviously being 5-0. When you look at the schedule and see where we're at, you draw it up as you want to be undefeated and that's where we are."
So much has been said about this team's inability to win in the big moment. What do you think this does?
"It's huge. We played a really good team. Seattle's going to win a bunch of games. Yeah, they're 2-3 now but let's see what their record is at the end of the year. They're going to win a lot of games. This was a big game, because we were facing a good team and because it was the next one on our schedule. That's the mentality we've had."
Where does this rank for you as far as the comeback?
"This was a fun game to play in. Obviously you'd like to have it not come down to the end like that. It's another thing I've told our guys. This is what we're built for. All the work that we've put in is for situations like this. Like I said, the hard work has paid off."
The diving catch you made to put the game into overtime was pretty spectacular ...
"Andy let it go pretty early, and I was just trying to catch up to it, but that's something we practice all week. When we get a certain look, I just try to run it how I've been coached, and Andy threw it up and I just tried to make the play."
You had two touchdown catches today and five touchdowns on the season — you and Dalton are really clicking, aren't you?
"Things are going well right now. Obviously, that wasn't exactly how we drew up the win, but Coach (Lewis) always tells us it doesn't matter how we get the win as long as we get it, so we're happy to get out of here with a win."
The running game wasn't dynamic today, but you were persistent with it ...
"We don't decide what's called; that's the coaches' job, so whatever call comes in, that's what we're going to run, and whether it's a run or whether it's a pass, we're going to stay consistent. And we finally got things rolling there late in the game, which obviously helped us win."
It got quiet in the stadium for a while and then you started coming back and the crowd was electric. How big was that support in the grand scheme of today's win?
"That was huge. That's what we need all game long. Late in the game when they started getting really loud, I was like 'This is how it's supposed to sound.' It was a lot of fun, and the cool thing about that win was no one flinched. No one started blaming other people or getting on each other. We just said 'Let's get the ball and let's score. Let's get the ball back and let's score.' No one got flustered like we have in the past, and I think that's a testament to guys really growing up and being more mature."
When you were down in the fourth quarter, and to rally against this team the way you did, that's unbelievable ...
"There's no quit in this team. We play to the very end. We've had some tight ones this year, but this is what this team is made of — to win in those situations."
In Baltimore, you had to come from behind twice. Did that carry over in this game for you?
"Definitely. Being in those kind of situations gives you the experience of knowing how to handle them. We came out in that game (with a win) and we were able to come out with a win in this one, too."
There was a stretch of seven possessions where you had five punts and a couple of turnovers. You guys came out of that lull with authority, so were they doing something differently before you turned it around?
"On the one interception, I didn't throw the ball in the right spot. I should have led it outside more. They made the play and they got points off of that one. It's not going to work every single time, but that's why you push through and keep playing to the very end, and that's what we did."
You obviously have to tip your cap to the defense when you have a 17-point comeback and win ...
"Our defense played unbelievable. Our offense basically gave up 10 points, and our defense stepped up when we needed them to and gave us opportunities to go down there and score. And then in overtime, they gave us two really good possessions and we were able to score."
Since the AFC North began when the teams were re-aligned, no team had gone 5-0 in the AFC North until today. What are your thoughts on the achievement?
"It's huge. We've worked really hard to be where we are at and for us, we're trying to get to 6-0. Each week's important and we've put ourselves in a really good position to start this week off."
What did you think when you saw the special teams unit rushing to get on the field to kick the field goal that would send the game into overtime?
"It was awesome. (Bengals placekicker Mike) Nugent was awesome. We practice that. He did a tremendous job, struck it and it went through the uprights."
Is it too much to say this is a win that can make people believe this team is capable of greater things?
"To us, it's a big win, but we just have to keep taking it one game at a time. You can't look too far ahead; you can't look back in the past. Now, this game is over and it's in the books and we've got to keep chipping away."
Describe the team's mentality as you were down 24-7; what kept you poised and able to make the comeback?
"I was just saying, 'We can't score 20-something points at one time. We just had to stay even-keeled and drive that train straight, and that's what we did. We took it one play at a time, one drive at a time, and we were able to put points on the board."
Would this serve as a 'statement game,' and what was the mentality of this team going into the game?
"We treated it as another game we needed. It was a big game for us. We came out, prepared really well and executed really well at times, and there were times we shot ourselves in the foot (with) bad penalties and turnovers and we can't do that. We've got to take care of the ball, our quarterback and take care of our assignments."
What change has enabled you to be able to execute wins in games like the one today?
"Last year, we did worry about it when things were going bad. This year, we're not worried about it. Our offense knows we've been in all those positions and situations, and we know how to handle them. This is a mature team, and as you can see, mature teams come from behind like that and win with poise. It's in the books."
Does this feel like a bigger win than just being 5-0 right now?
"Of course it does. Of course it does because if you looked up with seven minutes left, we were down 14 points, so of course it is. But at the end of the day, we fought hard, we came back, got the 'W' and now it's time to enjoy it and go on to the next one. Six-and-0 sounds a lot better than 5-and-0."
What changed for you guys after the score hit 24-7?
"I think we just got more focused. We got more focused — not saying that we weren't focused — but we just had to bite the bullet and realize 'Hey, this is the fight we've got ourselves in and now we've got to dig ourselves out.' Everybody grabbed a shovel and went to work."
What's it like watching this offense right now?
"It's exciting. Tyler's playing — you heard about Gronk (New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski), but that kid (Eifert), man, he's one of the best tight ends in the business. Effortless, it's so effortless how he catches these balls and how he gets these yards. I'm so excited every time they get the ball, it's exciting to watch them and see what happens and know that we've (on defense) got to go out here and get (the opposing team's offense) 3-and-out."
Does this feel like one of those wins that makes you thing about bigger things this team can do?
"No, not at all. The only thing we're thinking about is enjoying this win tonight and the Buffalo Bills next Sunday. We can't control anything else. The only thing we can control is ourselves and winning these games."
Did you watch Nugent's game-winning field goal?
"Of course we did. Of course we did, but hey, it went in."
Russell Wilson was scrambling effectively in the first half, but in the second half, the defense seemed to cause him more trouble ...
"We just calmed down. We calmed down, got our feet up under us and continued to play together and play hard and smart. We were prepared. They hit us for a lot of plays, but at the end of the day, it's about that final score, so we were able to stand tall when it counted."
A lot of people viewed this game as the team's toughest to date. What was the defense's mentality coming into the game today?
"We just wanted to finish. We knew they had a good team regardless of their record and were going to come out and run the football, and they were able to do that. But we were able to keep playing. And when it got tight at the end, we were able to stand tall and get the size we needed to win."
Was this type of game fun?
"Definitely. Definitely — that's when you see what you're made of, when your back is against the wall. It's easy to be up and happy when everything is going your way, but when your back is against the wall, it lets you know what your team is made of and the character that we've got. We were able to stand tall today, and it's good to see that."
It's one thing to say you believe in yourselves, but you guys haven't really been tested like this, have you?
"Faith without works is dead. We went out today when it got the toughest and keep battling. This is a tested group and we passed today."
You're 5-0. How does it feel?
"Great. We've just got to keep it going. We never wavered. The mentality was great and we just kept pushing it. It's exciting, but we have an ultimate goal and we just have to keep pushing."
Last year, you were hurt, and now you're healthy and a major part of the offense. How has it evolved to where it is now?
"It's been great. Obviously, when we have the type of players that we have, and everybody that brings different attributes to the game, it's going to be a great offense. That's what we knew from the start, and with the players that we have, that's why we never wavered. Obviously, I was out last year and now I'm back and we're all just one (as a team)."
Several players have talked about how the team told itself to stay calm when you were down 24-7 ...
"That was the easy part. That's the thing — we've been through this. We've been through this. It was kind of the same feeling as when we were at the Ravens — 'Just stay calm and let's go score.' We go score — 'Let's go do it again.' That's the type of mentality that we have and it's great."
What is the key from reveling too much in your success and staying focused week to week?
"Coach (Lewis) said right before this game we have to reinvent ourselves. Every week, we're going against a different opponent and we have to reinvent ourselves and go back to square one and have that work mentality."
To win this game at home the way you did, what does it say about this team?
"We're resilient. We've shown it and we're going to keep showing it because that's the feeling we have (about ourselves) in this room."
How did it feel to hit the winning kick?
"It was good. On a day like today, you just have to get out there and get a win with a team like that. No one pointed any fingers when things were going wrong, and everyone stayed behind each other."
It has to feel good to get the win over a team like Seattle ...
"It's unbelievable, just because of what goes into a game and what it takes to beat a team. Every single team is amazing, but especially a team like Seattle. So the fact that we came back from 24-7, I couldn't be more proud of the offense and defense. The defense brought a lot of energy to the crowd."
Some people were ready to write you off, and then you kicked the winning field goal. How does that feel?
"I'm extremely lucky to have people around me that are very patient. I've had some disappointment with the slow starts, and that's kind of a thing that's happened in my career. But I have coach and the guys close to me. They're very patient — they know it's a team game — and that 'We're going to need you at some point.' I missed a couple early, but the team took care of those misses. Hopefully I made up for that a little bit today."
Talk about the game-tying field goal ...
"It was just great execution. A lot has to go right for us to get out on the field. The O-line getting up there quick, and then we have to get the snap and hold on time. It was a really good job."
On the team's attitude that sparked the Bengals' comeback ...
"The most impressive thing to me was that I kept hearing young guys saying what we preach — staying even-keeled, just ride the train and let it keep moving forward. Even when the lead got to 17 points, that's all guys were saying on the sideline. It wasn't 'rah-rah' speeches or anything, just, 'Hey man, stay exactly who we are and we'll get ourselves back in this thing.' The truth is, that's the reality. We gave them 10 points, and it was a 17-point lead, but it was really a 10-point lead that we gave them. We knew we had a chance to get back in and be better than them."
Seattle usually doesn't give up lead when it has them. What does a comeback like this say about your team?
"You don't know what it means for your season, but I can tell you this: That's the most talented group of rushers and (overall) defense that we've ever faced. They've got guys everywhere that are good. We've said all along that this was going to be an extremely talented team, but we believe we are too. Being able to overcome what we did against that kind of talent is a heck of a message."
Did you make any adjustments when you were down 24-7?
After a win like this, how does it feel to come back in the locker room and celebrate with the guys?
"It feels good. We're 5-0, and that's huge. We've just got to go on, watch the film tomorrow and correct some things. But it's a huge win for us. We know what we have to do. We're getting ready for Baltimore (Buffalo) now, and we have to move on. Hopefully we can get to 6-0."
A lot of people are waiting to write you off, so how did a comeback like this mean show about the poise of this team?
"We know the playmakers and players that we have on this team. It's not about the outside media is saying, it's what we do in-house. We've really just blocked everything out and been on our groove, and hopefully we'll continue to be on our groove and keep winning."
How much better does it make you to win in this manner?
"It shows a lot of grit. Hue (offensive coordinator Hue Jackson) has been talking about that. Even in controversy and doubt and when things aren't going our way, we find a way to get out of that jam and fight back."
On the punt return where they said you were calling for a fair catch, what was the hand motion you were doing?
"I was telling Darqueze (Dennard) just to slide out, so I can have the space to have a one-on-one with the gunner."
The defense got the ball back when it had to several times late in the game. What was the key to that?
"Forgetting about everything else and worrying about what we have in front of us. We've got to make a stop. If we make a stop, we've got a chance to win the game. I think we did a good job of team defense."
How much more stress was there to stay on your routes because their quarterback excels at extending plays?
"You know that he's going to run around all day. You've got to make sure that you're covering not just for five seconds, but for 15 seconds. Paulie (defensive coordinator Paul Guenther) and V.J. (defensive backs coach Vance Joseph) did a great job of letting us know that this week. I thought we did good job as a whole."
What was it like to see Mike Nugent hit that winning field goal?
"I was loving it [shouting]! I knew Mike was going to hit it. I don't care how it went in, it went in."
What changed with the defense when you were down 24-7?
"We were just tired of being in that situation and not overcoming it. That was the goal. We wanted to show the world that we are great team and we are a great defense. We've just got to play together at all times. Toward the end of the game, we started playing together, and a lot of things started rolling for us."
What is different about this team that allowed it to come from this far down?
"I just feel that we have great depth all over the board. The coaches are doing a great job of utilizing the guys that are on the bench to be that 13th or 14th guy to get on the field. It's great. We have a great rotation going on in the secondary. Obviously Leon (Hall) dropped out toward the end of the game, but we had young guys in Darqueze (Dennard) and Josh Shaw come in and make plays."
SEAHAWKS POSTGAME QUOTES
Initial comments ...
"It's difficult to come out of the game with this outcome after playing so well. This was probably the best job we've done this year — for three quarters — against a really good team in a tough situation. It's difficult to leave here without the win. I have to look right at me for not finishing like we need to on defense, offense and special teams. It starts with me. We have to find our way to execute and get off the field and make first downs. It's unfortunate because it was a terrific day of running the football and we did a lot of great things on defense after the first drive. We let these guys get back into the game and they took it over. It was a great job by them. There were a lot of good things today, but it doesn't feel right to leave like this. Hand it to the Bengals — they did a good job."
Was there a schematic change that the Bengals made in the fourth quarter?
"I didn't see it that way but I have to watch the film. This is really important film to watch so that we can see what happened differently in the fourth quarter compared to the first three quarters."
When you say it starts with you, what do you mean?
"When there isn't a specific area to direct your focus because no one is getting it done and finishing, I have to make sure I'm doing it right. It begins here."
Do you feel that your message of "finishing" isn't getting across?
"I don't see it that way. That's too easy. We have to figure out schematically how to finish at the end of the game. It's about outlasting and for some reason, that didn't happen."
After Thomas Rawls's big run, the offense seemed to go stagnant ...
"I don't know why that would have happened. We didn't change anything and we were still mixing it up. I feel good about the way we ran the football — and we didn't leave that. We didn't curl up and not try to throw it, either. We kept doing what we were doing, but we didn't convert."
Where was Thomas Rawls at the beginning of overtime?
"We just changed the packages like we often do."
How do you feel your team is responding after a tough loss?
"Yeah, it's a really tough loss. The main thing is that we all shared in it and we all have to work to fix it. There were too many things that happened across the board that led to this loss. That's why it starts with me and I have to take care of business and figure it out."
How do you feel Russell Wilson played today?
"I don't know. I know that we were doing great for a while. We were doing great for three quarters and in the fourth quarter we didn't get much done. I'll have to watch the film. I don't know how anyone played today. I don't have a feel for that. Other than Thomas (Rawls) ran how we hoped he would. He was pretty solid today."
When you had a younger team, you preached about learning to finish. Now that you have veterans, what do you think happened?
"That's why I'm baffled a little bit. We're very clear about what we want to do and how to get it done. What's startling is that it's not happening. We've had to be terrific in this mode for years to be able to do what we've done. The last three games have been the same story line at the end. If we can fix that, we can change the season and that's what we plan to do."
How is Bobby Wagner?
"He has a strained pec, but he finished the game. I think Jordan Hill has a quad strain."
Putting Richard Sherman on AJ Green seemed to pay off ...
"Yeah, it did pay off. Richard did a great job."
How often have you been baffled?
"Last year. We were three-and-three last year and going nowhere. I think we're closer now than we were then. We know the O-line is improving. I'm anxious to see what happened in the fourth quarter."
Do you think you'll bounce back this year like you did last year?
"I hope so. We're not dead and gone. We don't feel like that at all. We just need to fix some things and I think we can. These guys are forthright and strong individuals who will hang together and work to get it done. The baffling part of this is that we played so strong for three quarters. The Bengals have been on fire and they showed it in the first drive and we were able to handle it. We just need to finish the game."
There were a few calls that could've gone either way ...
"You guys saw it better than I did. I didn't think either one was a penalty, but I can't tell. The refs are doing the best they can."
Do you feel the offensive line played better?
"Without question. The line was much better all day. I thought we wore on them pretty good and that effect should've carried over to the fourth quarter. We needed one more first down in the fourth, but it didn't happen."
What happened on the first punt return by Adam Jones?
"I don't know what happened. It was across the board."
Did you sense fatigue after a short week?
"I didn't think that. We really took care of the guys. I thought we would feel stronger as we finished because of the week that we had and they were seeming so fresh throughout the game. I'm surprised that didn't factor into our favor."
Early on, everything was going well with the offensive and offensive line clean. Then what happened?
"We didn't execute, in the fourth quarter especially, and even in the third quarter a little bit. We had opportunities and we didn't capitalize. It starts with me and it goes from there. We've got to find ways to continue to convert, and we kept the defense out there for too long. The defense was lights-out all night up until the fourth quarter, and that's our fault on offense. We have to lean on each other and continue to believe. There's no doubt in our locker room that we believe in one another. We had that feeling like we were electric tonight, all the way up through the third quarter. We just have to make sure we bring that for four quarters. In overtime, when we get the ball, we're expecting to win, and unfortunately we didn't."
How do you think you played today?
"I think I played pretty good, but not good enough to win. ... I'll watch the film and study and try to get better — that's for everyone. Our mindset every week is, no matter win or loss — how can we get better? I'm looking forward to getting back to work and looking forward to watching the film, studying and getting the opportunity to play again."
You had three third-down conversation opportunities in the third quarter. What kept you from being able to convert?
"They made a couple plays, and honestly that's what it was. Unfortunately we weren't able to. We know what we have to do. We have to convert on offense. We did a great job of that in the first half. We have to look at the film and see where we can get better there, evaluate it and just move on."
On the deep throw to Tyler Lockett late, did you think you had him?
"I thought I had it, yeah. I got hit pretty good on that one and didn't get enough 'oomph' on it. Hopefully we'll make those plays and I'll be able to get a little more 'oomph' on it next time."
You were running the ball well. Did they make adjustments to stop the run, or was it execution?
"Just execution. They made a couple tackles and stopped our guys. The good thing is we were third-and-short for the most part in the third and fourth quarters. The unfortunate part is we didn't convert. In overtime, they were long distances. Those are really tough to convert, especially against a great defense like that."
You took some hits today. Did you survive them OK?
"Yeah. I'm looking forward to next week — studying the film, seeing where I can get better and where we can get better as a team, and moving forward from there."
Since you've been here, you guys have had so many comebacks like that. How did it feel to be on the other end?
"You know, there's a first for everything. Unfortunately we lost today. I thought they played well. They finished well — they finished better than we did. It's as simple as that, really. If we can convert one or two third downs, the game's over. That's our fault on offense. Our defense, they always step up, and unfortunately they weren't able to today. Next time they will. In terms of team morale and all that, we're disappointed — obviously, we're disappointed. We hate losing. It's on all of us. We're going to lean on each other and do whatever it takes to go 1-0 next week, and let the season add up and just see how far we can take it. We're looking forward to that. If anybody likes a challenge, we do. We'll step up to that challenge."
How much did Thomas Rawls help offensively today?
"Rawls was lights-out today. He played physical and ran the ball extremely well. It's not a surprise. The way he practices, it transfers over to the game. He's a physical guy, he extends the play in practice and he always runs to the end zone. It all starts with the offensive line. I thought the offensively line was phenomenal today, honestly. They did a tremendous of blocking both rushing and passing. Rawls got loose a few times there."
What happened offensively in the fourth quarter?
"We didn't finish."
How hard of a loss is this when you had a big fourth-quarter lead?
"It's frustrating, obviously. I think the more frustrating part is that we did just that — we didn't finish. We've been known for finishing. We're the ones who always preach, 'You can't win a game in the first half; you have to win the game in the fourth quarter.' And we didn't do that today."
Is it strange to lose a game at the end after having a big lead?
"It's football; it's going to happen at times. But it's extremely frustrating knowing how talented we are, knowing how good we are, and knowing how poised we can be in those moments, and (then) not to finish, not to pull it out, and not to be successful in the moment that we train so hard to be successful in. I don't want to take anything away from the Cincinnati Bengals — they played extremely well in the fourth quarter. But as far as we go, we didn't play very good in the fourth quarter."
Did you run anything different defensively at the end of the game that allowed them to start moving the football?
"We didn't change up throughout the game. We ran what we ran. They just started to convert. There were a couple penalties in there that allowed them to get down the field. Those are unfortunate. Not that it mattered. We did what we planned to do."
You covered A.J. Green quite a bit after the first two drives. How did you think that went?
"I think it went fine. There was an opportunity there to help the team, and coach asked me to do it, so that's what I did."
How frustrating is it that the defense was not able to close out the game?
"It's not frustrating at all, it's something that happened. The ball falls your way sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't. We go on to the next game and we get another opportunity to play. That's all you can ask for."
Does this team feel like itself?
"Yeah, we feel exactly like ourselves. Like I said, the ball doesn't always fall your way. You can't let that discourage you. We made the plays that were there. They made more plays."
The offensive line played clean for most of the game and you were able to find some holes and get a lot of yards …
"Like we said last week, we were going to watch film and improve. We improved. Just in these few weeks, we've gotten better. We're going to do that."
What worked so well for the defense early on?
"Just playing great Seattle football. But you've got to finish. In the Super Bowl, we didn't finish. Green Bay, we didn't finish. That's on us. The offense gave us a nice lead. And the defense, we've just got to step up and finish."
How much of the first quarter was spent feeling out all of the different offensive looks the Bengals were throwing at you?
"Yeah we had to get adjusted to that. They came out in a lot of funky formations. After that, they started settling down and we started making plays, just not enough."
What was the biggest difference in the fourth quarter and overtime?
"They just made some plays and we didn't. I feel like we had our opportunities to close the game out, but they got us."
Is it a matter of wearing down at the end of the game?
"No. I think it's just us having to show up and finish. Like I said, we had a lot of opportunities to close the game out, but we didn't."