BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES, JAN. 3, 2021
ZAC TAYLOR, Head coach
What do you say to your football team after a game like that?
"We're a better team than what we showed today. We ran into a team that's playing as good of football as we've seen all year. They're certainly peaking at the right time. But that was not our best today. That's not what we expected to put on the field. We're going to have to live with that and continue to build this offseason."
Over 400 yards rushing for the Ravens is a rare feat in today's league ...
"Yes it is. It was a tough day all around."
Was your team's effort there today? Were they checked out early?
"It was a challenge. We were missing a fair amount of guys. That's no fun. I don't question the effort. I haven't seen the tape yet obviously, but there wasn't anything that stood out from that standpoint. We ran into a really good football team that can run it as well any team in the league. They had enough long runs there that really broke our backs in some situations. We do expect to be better, but it was a tough matchup right now."
What did you think of the game Trayveon Williams played today?
"He did some nice things, and some things to continue to build on. He's a young player who's showed us some good things."
Your defense played well against Baltimore earlier this season. What was different today, compared to that first matchup?
"We were down several (defensive) tackles, several corners. It was a challenge."
Were there any similarities today to the defensive struggles that happened vs. Houston, or was it different problems?
WR A.J. Green entered today's game one TD catch shy of tying the team record. How important was it for you guys to get him that TD today?
"We were just trying to do things to move the ball. Especially down there in the low red zone area, where we had some things we really liked. We had an opportunity on the play with our first interception, we just missed the throw a bit. First and goal, and we thought it was a good shot to take."
Do you think you've coached Green for the last time?
"I don't know. I'm not going to speculate on any of that stuff."
Do you anticipate making any announcements within the next few days regarding your coaching staff?
"We'll put some closure on this game and handle that stuff this week."
It was a tough day for Brandon Allen, particularly after his productive game last week ...
"It's a challenge. That's some of the best defensive backs you're going to face all year. We lost Tee (WR Tee Higgins) on the first pass of the game. Those other guys battled and fought, but it was a tough challenge for us. It was the lack of rhythm in the first half. We had three three-and-outs to start. Our fourth drive was the one right before the half. That lack of rhythm set us back from the onset and put is in a hole we couldn't quite get out of."
That seemed to be a big sequence when Higgins went down. By the time you get the ball back, you're down 10-0 and that plays right into what Baltimore does ...
"It was tough. That's really what they've done, especially those last couple weeks — they build those 17-0 or 27-0 deficits on other teams. Their defense is as deep as any there is. They're really 12-deep up front. I know they only had nine (players) active today, but they can keep bringing that pressure from all areas. When they get a lead, they're tough to come back against."
Is that the same hamstring Higgins had trouble with during the week?
"I can't say that. I'm not certain."
How sour of a taste does this put in your team's mouth to end the season after winning the last two games?
"You have to compartmentalize it all. It's not how we wanted to end, no question about that. Certainly we did some good things those last two weeks. We have to continue to build from everything — good and bad — happened over the course of the season. We have to focus on improving over the course of the spring."
How would you sum up the 2020 season?
What was the most disappointing thing about it?
There were several reports this week regarding assistant coaches from your staff not returning next season. Do those reports take a toll on the players in a game like this?
"I don't know. Those are things we'll address this week."
BRANDON ALLEN, Quarterback
How big was the offensive pass interference call in the first quarter that nullified the big gain on your opening pass to Tee Higgins?
"It was obviously hard, all day long, to get any sort of momentum going. That would have been a big one momentum-wise to get going, and obviously, it didn't go in our favor. It came down to just sustaining any kind of momentum — and that would have been a big one for us — but I just felt like we couldn't get anything going offensively all game long."
Did the Baltimore Ravens do something different than you were expecting on defense, or was it a matter of a lack of execution on the Bengals' offense? Was it a combination of both?
"I'd say both. Obviously, we didn't get it done on our end by any means, and a lot of that comes on myself not being able to find completions and get guys the ball. And, they (the Ravens) did a good job on defense. They did disguise a few things that they had shown on tape. That's good a very good defense, and they played a good game today."
This is the second meeting this season, and in both, the offense couldn't get going, scoring only three points. What makes them so tough defensively for this team?
"You know, I just think they're so talented at every position. And then, like I said, they do a good job of playing man coverage and being all over guys. Today, (they were) disguising a few things and making it hard (to read their coverages), throwing a lot of different looks. They're good about going into each game, knowing their own 'tells' and using that against an offense. I thought they did a good job that today, and we just have to be better offensively, obviously. You (have to) give them a lot of credit for how they played and the kind of defense they are."
It looked like you were trying to get the ball to A.J. Green today, especially near the end zone. Were you trying to get him a touchdown so he could tie the team record for most career touchdowns at 66?
"Yeah. We have had those plays for a few games now and we hadn't been able to dial them up yet. We got we got the right looks for them (today) and got pass interference a couple times, and then (I) did not get the ball out far enough on the one (interception). (I was) definitely looking A.J.'s way, trying to get (him) a touchdown, and I wasn't able to get it to him."
What happened on the throw to him that was intercepted near the sideline?
"We had him on another double move, trying to get him the ball. Give that (defensive) guy a lot of credit, (because) he came from the middle of the field — flew across field — and that was a hell of a play on his part. But again, it came down to me not putting the ball where it needed to be."
How cognizant were you all week that A.J. needed that one touchdown to tie the franchise record?
"It wasn't really talked about, but it's something that I think everyone knows (about). Obviously you love a player like A.J., and the things he's done for this organization, and you want to see him get that record. It just didn't happen."
It seemed the offense never recovered from the injury to Tee Higgins on the first pass of the game that would have been a big momentum shift for the offense. Everything seemed to change. Do you agree?
"It kind of snowballed from there. You know, anytime you get a big play like that — (and) that one got called back — and you lose Tee for the rest of the game (to injury) ... it definitely took some wind out of our sails. But you know, as a good offense, you have to be able to come back from that and execute — it's a 'next guy up' mentality. Anytime there's a really good player like Tee lost for the game, it's tough. Guys I thought really have been stepping up all year, and they continue to do that, but we just weren't able to get it done (today)."
Looking back holistically, how do you think this season went for the Bengals?
"There were obviously some bright spots and some not-so-bright spots, this obviously being one of the not-so-bright spots. But you know, I thought we, for a few games there, going back to even the Dallas game, we had moved the ball well (but) killed ourselves with turnovers. Even in the Giants game, we had a chance there at the end to win, but didn't get done. I thought guys really rallied — not just around me, but as a whole team. It goes back to what I've been saying all along about the mentality of this team, which is (there) is no quit in them. The right guys are here; it just didn't show today. I think we had a lot of good things that we can look back on and really improve upon, and get better from there."
Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale seems to have a specific blitz package for each opponent every week. Did you feel or see that today? Did he keep coming back to it?
"He did have a game plan for us, obviously. He does for every team, and it's always different. It's something you probably haven't seen on film, so it goes back to just following your rules. And they got us, I think, at least one time, where we had to roll out and throw it away. It was a great disguise — a great look — and they got us on one of those. But there's definitely other plays out there that we had and should have capitalized on, and we just didn't. But give him a lot of credit. He does a great job with that defense."
With Higgins going out early, did the Ravens pretty much stay in man coverage for the rest of the game?
"They doubled (Tyler Boyd) a little bit when (Higgins) first went out and made that difficult. Like (I) just said, (Martindale) had a couple blitz packages that we hadn't seen that we tough on us. And beside that, there was tight coverage across the board. That's just this league — it's going to be tight-window throws and contested catches. I can definitely help our receivers out by making better throws to get them open. It's just how this league is — tough — and I'll definitely learn from this game and get better."