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What Zac Taylor, Andy Dalton And The Bengals Said After The Week 14 Game At Cleveland

Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor:

Opening statement:

"Frustrating loss for us. We felt like we came out and we started fast like we wanted to; we just didn't finish the right way. Normally we're a pretty disciplined team and some penalties, especially in the first half, really set us back. To the ones that we could control, whether we weren't playing the rules or losing our tempo, it set us back and put us in a tough spot. That part was frustrating for us. Those are things that are uncharacteristic of what we've done over the course of the season, so that was frustrating. But again, we've got to do a better job of controlling things we can control. [We have to] be disciplined. You know, they got us on third down, on both sides of the ball we were not good enough on third down. Really that's kind of what the game boiled down to."

On the reasons for the inefficiency on third downs:

"You can probably point to about everything. It just wasn't our day on third down. It was difficult for us."

On going for it on 4th down instead of going for the field goal with 7:30 left:

"We were down 8. We felt like we were in range there where we need to score the 8 points and get us back on track. If we didn't get it, we were going to have them backed up and get a stop there, which we didn't end up doing that. It felt good on the 4th down call. We ended up getting to a draw. We have a five-man box. We should walk into the end zone. We have to do a better job of executing there."

On whether a draw was called on the 4th down play:

"We had two plays called there. That's the play that we wanted to get to. We should have walked in."

On 4th and 2, and QB Andy Dalton getting sacked:

"That was a play where we were trying to get on the ball quick and catch them in a main coverage, and have someone free in the flap, potentially. We didn't, so we ended up taking a sack there that set us back."

On the officials stopping the game:

"They stopped the game because they were changing the downs. It was unclear to us what was happening."

On going up-tempo for the first down:

"It was a 3rd and 1, that we thought was a 1st and goal. It ended up going to 3rd and 1, and then we converted it. But we were very unclear on what was happening."

On the tackling in the second half, especially with the runs:

"That's really at the end of the game when teams start heating up, that's where they heat up in the run game. They had the 60-yard run. That really hurt us. We had a couple missed tackles outside of that. I thought for a lot of the game we did a good job of controlling the run, but we can't give up that one big play. That got them all the way down inside the whatever it was – five, 10-yard line, right out the half. That's a tough way to start."

On winning the rushing battle and the turnover battle, but the 3rd down and red zone struggles being the difference:

"You're exactly right. It was a game we felt like we had good control over. We just didn't execute in those key situations. That's what the game comes down to."

On whether coaches have been told that pass interference has changed since more calls are being overturned:

"You're saying it's unclear? You said it."

On being animated on WR John Ross III's hold on HB Joe Mixon's run:


On play-calling in the red zone with HB Joe Mixon:

"We felt like we had a good plan. We spent a lot of time on that red zone package and felt good about those plays giving us a chance there. We just didn't do a good enough job."

On growing frustration with the red zone:

"We felt like we had done a better job with it as of late, in the times that we were down there. In this game, we were very poor inside there. We felt like we had some good opportunities and didn't capitalize on them."

On HB Joe Mixon's performance:

"I was really happy with the run game. They were helping us in the play actions as well. Again, this came down to not 1st and 2nd down. It was 3rd down and the red zone that got us. I thought the 1st and 2nd down and the run game, we executed how we planned to."

On whether he wanted a draw on the 4th down play and what he saw:

"Yes. Five-man box. Two safeties. Five-man box. Again we should walk in."

On the 3rd down play being exactly the scenario he wanted:

"(Dalton) checked to that. That was all on him. Seeing a good look and taking advantage. It was good to see from Andy (Dalton) there."

On WR Auden Tate being the best red zone weapon and being out of the drive:

"Next man up. We're used to that kind of stuff. Adjusting on the fly. He's a good red zone target for us, but we have other guys ready to step up. We just have to do a better job of executing to get points on the board."

On the 1st and goal and goal at the 2-yard line where Dalton got sacked:

"There are a lot of options there on 1st and goal from the two. We are not anticipating a sack, but that's football. That's the way it goes. We can't second-guess ourselves there. We felt good about the position we would be in. They did a good job covering it. Unfortunately, we were in a 2nd and long. That's life."

On Tate's injury status:

"I don't [know the status]. I just knew he wasn't going to be available to come back in the game."

Bengals QB Andy Dalton:

On what he saw on the fourth down draw and how the play developed:

"We had the look that we wanted for it. Obviously, it didn't turn out how we thought it was going to, but it was the right call for that look. Unfortunately, they played it well, and we weren't able to get in." 

On struggling in the red zone:

"Been some struggles we have had this year. It is hard to say there is one reason why. I think a couple times I took a sack when I was down there. That set us back in long situations with goal to go, and that hurt us. That was the deciding factor in this game for sure." 

On the sack when it was first-and-goal at the 2-yard line:

"They had a good coverage for the play that we had. Yeah, that's what it came down to."

On Bengals HB Joe Mixon's performance:

"I thought he played really well. He did a lot of really good things. When you run the ball like that, you're going to give yourselves a chance. For us, it's unfortunate that we weren't able to take advantage of the day that he had, but I mean, he played really well."

On Mixon's progression throughout the season:

"I think he's been playing really well and with what we've been doing, we're giving him opportunities. We're giving him lanes and giving him chances. It's been fun to see how he has evolved over the season."


S Jessie Bates III:

On how disappointed it was to have his 2nd interception wiped out:

"I'm not going to talk about the call, but anytime you get a big play taken away as a team it sucks."

On the loss:

"Anytime you win the turnover battle and the lose game, it sucks. I think we played well enough to win, but it wasn't consistently enough to win today. It sucks obviously, but we have another opportunity next week to gain some momentum as a team."

On if he ever questioned why aren't they winning during the game:

"Even when we were down one going into halftime, it felt like we were winning. I don't know what it was, maybe that's a good time. We were having good vibes around here. I felt confident that we could win the game from starting from the beginning."

On if this was a solid performance from the defense:

"Yeah. Obviously there are a lot of good things that we did and a lot of things that can get better. I think in the 3rd quarter they rushed the ball pretty well, but we'll have to go into film tomorrow and make the connections."

On the effects of Bengals' HB Joe Mixon's successful game despite the loss:

"We don't really think about it individually on who had a good game. All that matters is if it's a W or an L at the end of the game. Unfortunately, we lost the game. I'm excited for (RB) Joe (Mixon), he works hard and he deserves all the success he is having so I am not surprised at all."

WR Tyler Boyd:

On the loss:

"At the end of the day, they made more plays. That's what really held us back. If we execute more plays, we got it."

On how frustrating it is be in a close game with a lot of reviews that could go either way:

"I felt we had the game won since the moment we stepped on the field. I felt like they couldn't stop us the whole first half. The second half slowed down but we were still able to move the chains and the ball. I thought we didn't make those plays when we needed to, in the big times. We have to come back next week ready to beat the Patriots."

On the moving down the field well but not being able to get into the end zone:

"That's the part that hurts. I think we are last place in the red zone, so it hurts. We really pride ourselves on improving in that area. Getting down there twice hurts because you have to score. You can't beat teams by settling for three points. That's the main area we have to improve in."

On the team's attitude with only three games left in the season

"For me, I am going to continue to go out there and fight. I have never been a quitter and never will be. Despite what our record says. I'm going to go out there, continue to be the guy I am, push everyone around me to fight for each other and just play football. That's what we are out here to do. We are professionals. Just because we lose, doesn't mean you can't continue to be you and play your game. We have to continue to work."

DE Carlos Dunlap:

On the loss:

"We are good, but we lost the game."

On winning the turnover battle for the first time all season:

"Statistics say 85% of the teams that win the turnover battle, win the game. We lost, so that's the 2019 Bengals season."

On how he describes 2019 Bengals Season:

"We have lost 12 games."

On whether or not penalties played into the game today's loss:

"Yeah, penalties will cost you the game. We had a couple in critical situations taken away. A lot of big plays at big times during the game."

On the defense's performance:

"I think we lost the game and we are 1-12."

OT Bobby Hart:

On the Bengals' performance:

"Each week we have been meeting together and just figuring out how to get things going. It has been paying off. We have continue to keep (Bengals RB) Joe (Mixon) running and keep (Bengals QB) Andy (Dalton) clean, and just grind out as many wins as we can."

On the improvement of the Bengals' run game:

"We have been really making a collective effort to make sure we get the run game going. We know what type of talent Joe is. It does not make sense to have him and not use him. Whatever the issue may be, at the end of the day, we have one goal and that is to keep him running and let him use his ability. That is what we were trying to do."

On the head-butt being uncharacteristic of Joe Mixon:

"He is getting after it, and I love it. He has high intensity. He wants to score every play. He wants to let people know that they cannot tackle him. I love it."

RB Joe Mixon:

On the Bengals' run game today:

"The offensive line did a great job blocking up front. (Bengals Head Coach) Zac (Taylor) was dialing up some calls. Everybody was all locked in. They did a great job today. Hats off to them."

On having the most yards all season and not getting the win:

"At the end of the day, I do not care how many yards I rush for. I want to win. That is my attitude on it. There was a lot of stuff we could not control. We just have to get better and get ready for next week. We have three weeks to put it all on tape."

On if the Browns' defense did anything differently in the red zone:

"No, they did not do anything different. They did everything that we expected. We just have to capitalize. We got down there a few times and nothing to [show] for it. We did not do that today. Luckily, we play them in a few weeks and we have to put it together. We have to be ready."

On if he wishes the Bengals would have dialed his number more in the red zone:

"At the end of the day, I cannot control their play calling. I just try to do whatever I can and put the team in the best position to win. We just have to get better at executing."

WR John Ross III:

On if the hold call was a clean block:

"I had him in his chest. The reason why it maybe looked like I was holding was he tried to get away at the last second and (Bengals RB) Joe (Mixon) ran by him already."

On if he thought it was a hold:

"No, I did not think it was a hold at all."

On committing uncharacteristic penalties:

"We will clean it up. We can control what we can control."

On the level of frustration with the red zone inefficiency:

"It is obviously frustrating, but it is just something we have to keep chomping at the bit and get better at."