Taylor, Dalton Recap Week 8 Against The Rams

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at Wembley Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at Wembley Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Zac Taylor

Cincinnati Bengals

Another tough one. Feels like I'm a broken record a little bit. We give ourselves opportunities. We feel like we can win these games, and we don't find a way to finish them off in the second half.

In the first half, I thought we came out with good energy. Guys were ready to play. Obviously, the third downs defensively really hurt us in that first half. There were some times the offense got to the fringe, got knocked back a little bit, and prevented us from scoring points there or potentially going for it on fourth down and putting ourselves in a better position to get some points. So that stuff was frustrating. I told the team, hey, this is a good football team. This is a team that has a chance to go deep in the playoffs. I didn't see anyone quit. I saw you guys fight for all four quarters to give ourselves a chance to win this game.

We didn't do enough. We've got to create some turnovers. We had an opportunity to get some turnovers there. Those are game changing plays we've got to find a way to come up with. So it was a tough day. We've got to find a way to make those plays and give ourselves our best shot.

On Los Angeles wide receiver Cooper Kupp's performance today:

Well, one play he was doubled. They completed down the field on a third down. He had two guys that were covering him. Made the play, great throw, great catch. They ran a trip play. We were in position to break up the pass or make the tackle at the point of completion and didn't. So he scored a touchdown there. Then had a couple where we had just poor zone discipline on the third down where we should be in those areas and not suck up underneath players, and we didn't. We had poor discipline there, so he made some catches over the middle. It was really the same concept over and over. I think it calmed down a little bit in the second half. The first half is really where he went off. Made some adjustments for the second half and were much better, but, again, they had some big plays there in the first half.

On why they got away from the run game after having success with it early on:

Well, they played a lot of different -- yeah, exactly. The way that the drives factored into the second half, we wanted -- we called some runs there late. It was just we're down two scores, ten minutes left in the fourth quarter, I think it was. So the better way to get back in it was the chunks. We tried to mix in some runs there, but it wasn't as easy there down two scores in the second half to get as many runs off as we did in the first half. Found some things that were working for us well. So that was an encouraging thing to see.

On if he still feels like it will just take one win to get going this season:

I do. This bye is coming at the right time for us. You get a chance to take a couple days off, get healthy. Free up your mind a little bit, come back, and now we have the second half of the season. Just put this one to bed, come back, and let's just focus on having a great second half of the season starting with the first game. So I'm not discouraged -- it's frustrating the way the season has gone to this point, but I'm not in the least bit discouraged with the guys. I do feel like we're close. People probably don't want to hear that, but we're giving ourselves a chance. We've got to create our own breaks here. We've got to get that turnover. Someone's got to make that big play on offense that gets us a 60-yard touchdown, breaks a tackle, goes and scores. We just need the guys to step up in that way. But they're still fighting to do the things we ask, and they're giving us a chance. We've just got to get over that hump.

On what the team has to play for in the second half of the season:

We still have eight games remaining. These guys all have a lot of pride, and I'm not going to speculate about the playoffs or any of that stuff. We don't worry about that yet. We're halfway through the season, but these guys are hungry for a win. They're +hungry to show the world that we're improving and that we've got a good team here. Those are all the things we're still fighting for when we come back from the bye.

On their approach in the game:

I feel like there's a lot of things, but, again, when you don't win the game -- you probably don't want to hear it, but I do feel like we're making incremental progress in a lot of different areas, and it's going to pay off. The stuff's going to pay off. These guys keep believing in each other. We're going to get guys back from injury sooner or later. So now our depth starts to come back. We can make a charge in the second half of the season, and I know we're capable of doing it.

On the organization's decision to not be sellers at the trade deadline to this point:

Yeah, because there's some key players that we feel like are critical to our success this year, critical to our future that probably teams want and that we want. So that makes for an easy decision.

On if there is any update on A.J. Green:

I'm still as honest as I have been every step of the way. I think you guys have a good sense of where he's at. He's starting to come back. Now we get really 14 days until the next game. So we'll see kind of how he progresses this week during the bye week, and next week we'll get a chance to practice. I think he feels encouraged that he's headed in the right direction, but I don't want to put a timetable on it, guarantee anything, but he's making good progress.

On if the message to the team heading into the Bye is getting a win:

Correct. The bye week has been for reevaluating ourselves schematically and putting everybody in the right position and executing the way we want it done. Come out, big divisional game right away. What better way to start the second half of the season than to get a divisional opponent at home?

On if there was any part of this game that was surreal, coaching against his former team:

No, not really. That stuff, you don't see it for a long time, and there's a mutual respect there. I appreciate the journey we went on the last year together, and that will never be forgotten. There's good people there, and we have great people here. So those relationships are on both sides. It's a good group of people there, and that's why I'm so encouraged by what we've got going on in our building because everybody's on the same page -- coaching staff, operations, personnel, medical, trainer -- I mean, everybody's on the same page, and that's the key to future success. I know it hasn't paid off yet, but it's going to because everyone still believes, and we keep believing in each other and stick tight together, and it will pay off just like it's paid off for them.

On if he has seen Kupp's play on the double before:

No.

On if their touchdown drive is how he wants his offense to look like:

Correct. You get a chance to open it up. Again, that's -- yes, that is what we want, the full complement of everything. Being able to keep what we perceive as the defense off bounds a little bit, and the backs are running hard. Joe and Gio had great runs, doing everything we asked them. Tight ends very much involved as well, and the receivers did a good job. It's encouraging, and we've just got to put it more together. So many times we crossed the 50, and, again, we just couldn't quite get past that threshold to get the point on the board. Then we had the two drives at the end of the game where we just came up short to get points. That's why you don't win the game.

On the decisions to go for it on fourth down:

I don't know. I don't know. But it was -- you know, we felt like our guys were -- we knew we were going to get those first downs. So we leaned on them. There was a time we called the run, I probably wouldn't have called it seeing what personnel grouping they put on the field. But I could just feel Joe's energy that he was going to get a first, and he got it. I think the linemen were feeding off that, so we got it. Quite frankly, I was hesitant to do it, and I could just feel they believed in it and believed in each other. That's what you want to see from this team. That's when you know we're headed the right direction because they're starting to get confidence in the things that they're doing and they're believing that the other guys are going to help them. We had 11 guys on the same page on a lot of that stuff, and it worked out for us.

On the decision to go for it on fourth and one, and if he made that decision on third down:

Yes, correct.

On what happened to the offense in the second half:

We still moved the ball. Again, we couldn't get past that field goal threshold. Put the points on the board -- we finished two drives inside the 10. We finished a drive right there in the fringe, where I think we caught the batted pass and ended up in a fourth and 12. So we had to punt there. Yeah, it is frustrating because we'd rather have those points. At the same time, it wasn't like we were just going three and out every drive. We were still moving the ball, and there's progress to be made, but we're just not doing enough to generate that big play.

Andy Dalton

Cincinnati Bengals

On the two tight end sets early in the game:

It's part of the plan. So we felt like we weren't sure how they were going to play it. I thin going into it, they played a little different than we thought. They played more dime to some of that 12 personnel with the tight ends in the game. I felt like we adjusted well. We had a good plan. They definitely were way more involved today.

On today's run game:

We hit some good schemes. Joe ran really hard. We gave him some lanes to get in there and increase it, and he did. He ran hard. He had free hitters with safeties in there, and he either made them miss, ran them over, did different things. Now we can give him some space like that and let him go do what he can do, and I think we can get the run game going.

On the frustrations in the red zone:

It is. It's been the recurring theme this year is the red zone. It's unfortunate. We've got to make plays when we're down there. That's one thing that, looking back on it, I can see some things where maybe hold on to it a second longer and try to take a shot on some of these plays. But it's hurt us when we haven't scored touchdowns down there.

On the third down issues of needing to hold onto the ball one one second longer:

I wouldn't say it's an issue, but part of that is can you hold onto it a little bit longer, or do you need to get the ball out of your hands? Yeah, that's just the way you have to play it. It's just the way that I have to think. Trust everybody is going to get their job done and everything, but that's just part of playing quarterback.

On if going into the game, was their plan to be aggressive on fourth down:

There were certain situations we knew we were going to go for it on fourth down. I thought we had a good plan for some of those short yardage plays. I think that's why we were able to convert on a couple of those fourth downs.

On if they enjoy those desperation moments:

Yeah, and I thought we made some good plays today, and we converted some third and fourth downs that were big, kept drives alive. So that was good to see.

On if he has ever been in a game with so many fourth down conversions:

I don't think so.

On if the team was trying to send a message with the fourth down attempts:

Yeah. I think, especially early in the game, we had a couple third and shorts where like, hey, we're going to try to take a shot. Then if we get it, great. If not, we're going to go for it on fourth down. So I think that's being aggressive on offense. This is how we want to play. I think, obviously, on fourth down, when you have to convert, I thought we did a good job of that.

On what happened after the game was tied 10-10:

We moved the ball well. It's just we weren't able to put the points on the board. So then when we got down there late, it's like we're going for it on fourth down. You can't get field goals. You can't do that. I think that just we've got to be better once we get down there. We were talking earlier, once you get in the red zone, you've got to score touchdowns.

On his deep ball to Auden Tate on his double move:

Yeah, it's just one of the things I felt like I had to get out of my hands. It goes back to holding onto the ball or getting it out. That's unfortunate I missed that one. I wish I could have that one back. That could have kept that drive alive. That could have been a big play right there.

On if that is because he wasn't comfortable:

I mean, there's -- you have to trust your feeling out there. You have to trust the timing of when things happen. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hit that one.

On what it says to the players, that the organization doesn't seem interested in trading players at the deadline:

Yeah, they've been loyal to the guys that we have in this building. So obviously, with the trade deadline coming up on Tuesday, it hasn't been our MO of trading guys away or trading for players and different things like that. Everyone that's in the building is the guys that we're going to work with, that we're going to play with, and I think we've got the right mentality with everybody in there.

On if the decisions to go for it on fourth down were because they have nothing to lose going into the second half of the season:

Yeah. I think in those situations we felt like we had a couple good plays that we had in mind. So when you get into those fourth downs, like I said, we made those plays.

On being 0-8:

I mean, I've obviously never been in a situation like this before. I feel like for most of my career and at all levels I've won a lot of games. So this is new, but we keep saying it every week. We felt like at times we're definitely in this game, and it's just the way we prepare. It's the way our mentality, everything, has been very positive. There's been nothing from this team that has gone in the tank, given up. I mean, there's been a lot of 0-7 teams that would have gone to a game like this and could have gotten blown out. I feel like we were right in this game for the majority of the game. That's a testament to the guys that we have on this team. So for us, we want to win. We want to do everything we can to win. We're going to prepare like we're going to win. So we'll catch some of these breaks in the second half of the season, and we're going to find ways to win these games.

On Aaron Donald's sack:

Yeah, I didn't think that you could pick somebody up and throw them on the ground. I thought that was a rule, but I guess I was wrong.

On what he said to Whitworth after the game:

Yeah, just kind of catching up, asking how the family's doing. I told him I miss him. He's a good friend. So when you're around somebody every day for, what, seven years or however long it was and then you're not around each other as much, it's just one of those things. You want to catch up and see how everybody's doing. So it's good seeing him

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