BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
DEC. 13, 2020
DALLAS COWBOYS AT CINCINNATI
ZAC TAYLOR | Head coach
How stunned were you when all three fumbles happened to fast to start the game?
"Irate, stunned. You give a team 10 points right out of the gate without having to take the field. It's a disappointing start to the game. I couldn't have felt better going into this game, but to give them 10 points before they had to do anything is a disappointing way to start."
It was guys that are historically sure-handed too. That's sort of surprising, right?
"It was. We have to do a better job of taking care of the football, and we have to do a better job of getting the ball out when they're on offense."
You've been outscored 62-10 in the second half since Week 10. Why?
"We had a holding call on our first drive on offense that put us in a third-and-long. Then a dropped pass on the second drive that would have been an easy first down. That's our first two drives of the half, and our only two in the third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, we got down there and had a turnover on downs. It's extremely disappointing."
In the third series, you benched Hakeem Adeniji at LOT and put in Fred Johnson. What was the reasoning for that?
"He was struggling, so we thought Fred could give us a chance there."
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How much were you planning on rotating running backs before the game?
"We were planning on rotating the running backs before the game. That wasn't necessarily a problem. Gio is great with his ball security over the course of his career. Our plan was to rotate through all three of those backs."
Was there a specific reason to making more personnel changes than usual?
"No. No reason."
Michael Jordan and Randy Bullock were both inactive today. Was that just trying to get them to take a step back and reboot?
"For Mike, it certainly was. For Randy, we need to make some of those kicks, so we took a look at Austin (Seibert).
Are you getting impatient? It seems as if you're just getting tired of seeing what you're seeing. Is that a reason for some of the moves?
"When you lose, its frustrating. It's hard to get rid of this feeling that we feel at the end of every week. It's frustrating, because we feel good about the position we're about to put ourselves in (for the game). But it's a myriad of reasons for why we lose. It 100 percent falls on me. It's just frustrating. A lot of effort goes into this. Guys are pulling together, and it's still a very close team. I think you can see that you see them out there playing. We just haven't made the plays to put us in a position to win the game. It makes you sick to start the way you started today, for as good as you feel walking out of that locker room in pregame. You start with three straight fumbles, and you're just sick to your stomach. It's a very difficult way to play football."
Are the third-quarter issues on offense a myriad of things? What are some of the reasons behind that?
"Everything. Penalties, drops. It's hard to watch. It's hard to take in."
Did you talk to Brandon Allen about the fourth-down throw late in the game? It looked like he was just throwing it away out of the back of the end zone. Did you get an explanation from him about that?
"He came out after that play, so I did not speak to him about it. We'll watch the film and review that."
Was there any thought about pulling him during that drive when he was limping?
"He kept giving me the indication he was good to go. He's a tough guy and was making plays for us. It's hard to know the extent of the injury when he's out there, and you don't get a chance to talk to him. He's a tough guy, and you could tell he wanted to push through."
Was it a foot? Ankle?
"It appeared to be his knee."
What is the feeling, aside from frustration, when you lose despite playing well enough at times to win the game?
"I think 'frustration' is the biggest word I can come up with right now. That's the bottom line: you can't make excuses right now. We're not winning football games. It's frustrating. We're all frustrated. We have a lot of good guys that we believe in that are pulling together and doing everything we can to get these wins. It's just not working out for us, and that leads to frustration. These players and coaches deserve to do it, but you have to earn it and find a way to do it. We have not done that."
On the first series of the second half, you seemed frustrated and took a timeout. What happened?
"It was our urgency to the ball. We were about to take a delay of game (penalty). Our communication and urgency were poor, so yes, that will (frustrate me)."
You've been very optimistic about everything since you took this job. How difficult is it to maintain that optimism right now?
"I still have it. We all still have it. We'll watch this tape and take the turnovers off the board — which you can't do, they happen — and you have to find a way to play off of them and come back and win. It's tough when you play a game and feel really good about a lot of things that you did. But the ball hit the ground three times, and they got 10 points from it. That's it, that's on the tape. It's what we did. We weren't good enough to win today, so that's frustrating."
When you look at your record on paper, do you start to worry about job security?
"No. I just want to win football games. I love going to work for these guys every day. That's all that matters to me, is how we get ready in seven days to go win a game. That's our focus, and we don't worry about anything else. This is too important for us. We want to win so badly. We're going to continue to work and find ways to create those wins."
How do you get it to translate from the practice field to the game field?
"I think it's winning the turnover battle, for once. In a lot of these games that have been closer, often times the bottom line is who won the turnover battle. We've done a very poor job at that."
BRANDON ALLEN | Quarterback
Head coach Zac Taylor said he thought it was your knee that was bothering you late in the game after being injured. How bad was the injury, and how tough was it to continue attempting to play through it?
"It was just one of those things where I got hit right in the right spot, and a lot of times, you just walk it off and it gets better. I tried to stay out there and walk it off, and it kind of just got tighter and tighter instead. It was obviously affecting me a little bit on some of the throws — it was kind of hard to get any weight into the throws. We checked it out, (and) I didn't want to hinder our offense if I wasn't able to perform the way I am able to perform."
Was that part of the problem that led to your throw out of the back of the end zone on fourth down when you targeted Tyler Boyd on what could have been a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter?
"I'm not going to blame it on that, obviously. (It was) just a poor, poor decision (with a) poor, poor throw. I'm trying to give (Tyler Boyd) a chance in the back of the end zone, but the ball definitely just got away from me."
This was another game where the offense struggled in the second half. Why do you think this team struggles so much in the third and fourth quarters?
"I think we played pretty clean in the first half. I don't think that we had any penalties (in the first half). And then our first drive (in the second half), we got a penalty, and it set us back. It's tough. And then we came back and had a good drive there late, and a touchdown that called back with another penalty. My biggest thing is we're just hurting ourselves. The three turnovers obviously in the first half were killing us, but I thought we really moved the ball well. We have to clean up those mistakes we keep making that are really hurting our drives."
Did the knee injury occur on a scramble, or on a throw in the pocket?
"It was on the scramble."
Have you ever been involved in a game where the offense fumbles the ball on three consecutive possessions to start the game?
"I'd have to think back, but I don't think so. It was tough. Obviously, on the second play of the game, we fumbled. And then we had a really good (second) drive, and when we got down there (in Cowboys' territory), we had another fumble. We really put our defense in bad spots with those. We just have to do better and clean that up, and I on that fourth down (need to) make a better decision there. Again, (we're) hurting ourselves, and it's a total offensive thing we have to clean up."
Do you think you'll be able to play next week?
"We'll see how this feels and progresses."
Is it a hyperextension or more of a bruise?
"I think it's a going to be more of a bone bruise than anything else. We'll try and get the swelling down and get going on it."
There has been a desire to get the ball to A.J. Green more and you did today. What enabled that?
"You know, I think we were able to find him early in the game and really get him going. He's definitely a mismatch for a lot of defenses. It's just been tough. Defenses have been doing good things to try and take him away. We were trying to spread the ball around, and they (the Cowboys) gave him some one-on-ones, and he made some unbelievable plays for us."
On his touchdown, did you tell yourself "I have to go there" when you saw A.J. in one-on-one coverage on that play?
"You know, it was really a great play call for the coverage they had going, and it worked out perfectly."
If you take away the three fumbles, do you think this is the best game the offense has had since you became the starting quarterback?
"As far as moving the ball — getting first downs — I think we were pretty solid on third downs (and) keeping ourselves on the field. Yeah, obviously, you take away those fumbles and it might be a different score for us. I thought, all game long, we did a good job of moving the ball except for the first couple of drives in the second half. I thought we did a great job — we were executing, the offensive line was playing great and giving me time to throw, and guys were making plays. We had a good run game going with some really nice runs. We were able to stay pretty balanced, I thought, and that really helped us. You (wish you could) take away some of those fumbles. I thought we were sharp in a lot of areas, but obviously there are things we need to clean up as well."
You went back to Tee Higgins after he had some drops, and he responded with a huge play ...
"I have all the confidence in the world in Tee. One of the drops was on me. It was a poor pass. I threw it behind him, so that's not on him. That's on me. But I would never lose confidence in Tee. I know he doesn't lose confidence in himself. You're going to have drops — everyone drops the ball occasionally. But I trust him no matter how's he's playing, and I think he played well and made a big play there."
What is it that is causing this offense to struggle coming out of the locker room at halftime? You've been shut out over the last few games in terms of scoring points in the third quarter ...
"(I'm) not sure, really. Today, I think it was us hurting ourselves. We had a penalty that backed us way up — it's just tough (when that happens). We had a good drive late and we were about to go score, and (then) I made a very poor throw. I think we're still moving the ball. We're still doing good things, (but) we've got to put it all together. I think our second half needs to be our cleanest football, and it just hasn't been."