Browns-Bengals postgame, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020
Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor
On the Browns' running game being a big factor in the game and the Browns running more plays and having more explosive plays:
"We did not do a good enough job on offense. Some guys were out of gaps sometimes, and our tackling was very poor. You feel that they might have a ton of plays, but they ran a bunch of time off the clock when they were having some of those drives when they were really successful in the run game."
On Bengals QB Joe Burrow's performance:
"He did a good job. He gave us a chance, and we just came up short."
On the Bengals' number of pass attempts and if the team hopes to have a more balanced attach:
"We felt like we had a lot of success in the pass game. We scored on three of our last drives. We were down two scores in the fourth quarter, and this is the same thing that kind of happens to us. You get down and you are throwing the ball, and we were having success doing it. We have a lot of faith in Joe. It is just the way that it played out."
On why the Bengals didn't tackle as well tonight as in Week 1:
"That a great question. We will just have to address that when we watch the tape."
On whether the tackling struggles were due to Browns RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt excelling at breaking tackles or other factors by the Bengals:
"It goes both ways. We have to get the guys on the ground when we have got them in our grasp. We have to do a better job just staying in our gaps and not letting the holes be as big as they were. Those are two good backs. We have to give them a ton of credit. Their line did a great job, as well."
On the Bengals OL and G Fred Johnson's performance:
"We will see. We will look it over and get a better sense of it. I thought they held off. (DE) Myles Garrett is a premier pass rusher in this league, and my eyes go to him quite a bit. They did a nice job on him for the most part. We will look at how it went. Joe does a good job also extending some plays within the pocket. That is just part of playing quarterback in the NFL. He does a nice job of that. We will keep looking at it."
On if the Bengals did not play complementary football tonight:
"I would agree with that."
On Burrow's resilience in bouncing back from turnovers and keeping the team in the game:
"Absolutely. That is the No. 1 source of fumbles. The quarterback is in the pocket, it collapsed around him as he was about to throw and that can be tough to avoid sometimes when you are in your throwing motion and you get hit. It was unfortunate because our defense had just come up with such a great goal-line stand. You really felt the momentum start to swing there. We were going to try to put together a 99-yard drive and tie the game. It just didn't work out that way."
On the Bengals offense not being able to find explosive plays in the pass game:
"We pushed the ball down the field. We just can't connect on any of them. We just have to continue to look at that and make sure that we are on top of the details."
On if there is a concern about protecting the QB from hits during the game or if the sole focus is on trying to win the game, especially when attempting many passes late in the game:
"We have to go win the game. We are constantly trying to find ways to protect the edges, track where the rushers are and slide the protection certain ways. That is a conversation that happens over four quarters. At the same point, it stretches the defense a little bit more when you get more guys into the concept and not keep them all in the backfield."
On whether the amount of hits Burrow has taken is going to be a problem over the course of a full season:
"I don't ever like to see him get hit, but again, we are just doing what we have to do to win the game."
On if there is an update on the severity of Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah's Achilles injury:
"Not from me. I haven't heard yet."
On losing yardage when having first-and-goal from the 1-yard line:
"He got hit in the backfield. We were goal-line personnel on the 1-yard line. (RB) Joe (Mixon) got hit in the backfield and just tried to make it work and ended up losing four yards there. Then we got the option there on the give or read there and felt like he had a pull read so he pulled it."
On tackling being an issue last year and now it continuing this year:
"We have a bunch of new guys and they are inside, and guys that just joined us. We will continue to evaluate it and see what our best options are there."
On the decision to start G Fred Johnson and the Bengals OL after two games:
"I went with Fred. (C) Billy (Price) is still battling a little bit of an ankle injury, but starting to feel a lot better. I wanted to see what Fred could provide there. I don't want to make any declarations after the game because sometimes you are quick to do it and you don't always agree with what you would have said postgame. We will get a chance to check that tape out and make the right decisions."
On Bengals K Randy Bullock bouncing back this week:
"I have faith in Randy. Randy has confidence in himself. He did a nice job today coming through for us."
On whether the Browns did anything unexpected with their defense tonight:
"No, we felt like we had a pretty good sense of what they would be going with into the game. I would say for the most part, that held up."
On the key part of the game and when it swung:
"On the 1-yard line. Gio (Bengals RB Giovani Bernard) scores a touchdown, and it gets called back. I am not sure how that happens to be honest with you. We dropped a pass. We had a MA (missed assignment) on the play, and then we dropped a pass, as well, that looked like it would have been a touchdown from my angle. We had some negative-yardage runs there that really killed us. That is the turning point right there. I think we were down eight at the time, looking to score and go for two. We already had a 2-point conversion called, and then the touchdown gets called back. That was the discouraging part of the game."
On whether the Browns defense was specifically trying to key on Mixon, given Mixon's statistics:
"No, we had some favorable fronts there. We just didn't get enough out of them."
On how a short week factored into tonight's game and potential errors:
"It is just discouraging that we had a couple errors, but we will talk through it and see what they really were. Sometimes you think one thing on the field and you need a chance to look it over and make sure that you are really correct in your evaluation."
Bengals QB Joe Burrow:
On his level of patience throughout the game:
"I was just trying to take what the defense gave me. They were playing from ahead so they were in their two-deep shell, and they were doing a good job of not letting anything get over the top. We had to move the ball so I was just trying to take what they gave me."
On whether or not he will be able to withstand getting hit that many times for the remainder of the season:
"Yep, I'm good. I feel good."
On grading his performance after giving himself a D last week:
"I am not sure. I would have to go and watch the film and let you know. We lost. That is the only thing that matters. We just have to find a way to win games. If we punched that in on the goal line, we probably win this game so that is what I am going to be thinking about."
On the reversed touchdown and the following sequence of plays:
"We thought we scored. We had the two-point ready. Then they reversed it. We got our goal line in the game, and we just weren't able to punch it in."
On the most frustrating thing about tonight's game:
"Just losing. Losing isn't very fun. This might be the only time in my sporting career that I have lost two games in a row. It doesn't feel very good. I know that the guys in there are hurting. We are going to come back to work tomorrow and try to get this thing right. Losing is unacceptable to me, to everyone in there, to (Bengals Head) Coach (Zac) Taylor and to everybody in this organization. We are just going to have to get it fixed."
On his success in late-game situations and two-minute drills and confidence in his abilities in those scenarios:
"I have great people around me. The O line, I think, played very, very well tonight, considering that we threw 60 times and the defense knew that we were going to have to throw the ball because they were scoring a lot. They did a hell of a job for me, and I am proud of those guys. Coach Taylor has been calling some great plays in those situations, and my guys are making plays for me. That is all you can ask as a quarterback. We have to punch it in the end zone. We would have liked to have scored a touchdown before the half, and, obviously, last game, we needed to score there. We have been in scoring range so that has been one positive. We have been successful in those situations."
On the Browns limiting Bengals WR A.J. Green's production:
"They started playing more two-high. He was playing well at the beginning of the game. I missed some throws to A.J. again. I am just going to have to fix that. I can't keep missing throws to A.J. when he gets open like he does."
On the positive comments from LeBron James and Troy Aikman about his play:
"It is nice to have those guys have my back, but we are 0-2. That is all that matters."
On his performance on fourth down:
"My guys were getting open for me. They did a great job all night. (Bengals WR) Tyler Boyd) has kind of been my go-to on fourth down. He has been awesome for me. I love working with all my guys. (Bengals WR) Mike Thomas, I thought, played really, really well. I would go to war with any of these guys any day of the week.
On what Boyd said after dropping the ball in the end zone:
"I know he is frustrated with himself. I know I can put it on his facemask better, as well. He played a really, really good game. He is hard on himself, just like I am hard on myself. We are going to get this thing right. You can count on that."
On if DE Myles Garrett just got a hand into where he couldn't see it to cause the sack-fumble:
"Yeah, that is all that happened."
On if there is a common denominator with the offense's performance:
"We just have to make the game-winning opportunities when they present themselves. I missed a bunch of them last game and missed a couple this game. The goal line really stands out to me that we were not able to punch that one in so that is disappointing. It is a long season. We still have 14 games left. Long way to go."
On whether or not taking hits disrupts his rhythm:
"It doesn't disrupt my rhythm at all. It makes me feel like a football player. I kind of like getting hit sometimes. It doesn't disrupt me."
On mentally adjusting to losing:
"I will never adjust or accept losing. That is just something that is not in my mindset so this 0-2 start is really hurting me. I know it is hurting Coach and everybody in there. We will never adjust to losing. We will never accept losing We are just going to have to get it right."
Bengals DT D.J. Reader:
On the Browns running for more than 200 yards:
"That is rough. Two-hundred yards rushing yards is just a lot of yards. You never want to give up that much. You always want to play better. There were just too many yards rushing, and everyone has to be better from the point of attack, starting with me. At the point of attack, I have to be better. Everyone has to be. It takes a whole defense to stop the run, and that is what teams are going to do until we stop it. Everyone has to be better."
On how the Bengals can be better at stopping the run:
"Want to. We have to want to do it. I think that is the biggest thing. We talk about it, but you have to be about it in this league. You can talk about a lot of things, but you have to go out there and be about them. I think that is collectively as a group, everybody. It starts in our room with me and everybody in our room so I have to get that corrected. We will go in next week and we will get that corrected."
On the difficulties stopping the run and issues fitting gaps:
"Call it what you want. It is stopping the run. It is an attitude. You have to go get it done. Gap-fit, non-gap, any gap, get the man on the ground. That is what this game is and that is what football is – get the man on the ground. Do whatever you have to do to get him on the ground."
On changes on the Bengals DL and being one of the only consistent members of it:
"I am fully confident in all of those guys to do their jobs, and I have to do my job. It is not tough. It is just knowing how to do your job, doing it and getting it done. You as a reporter, you have to come on here and ask questions. My job is to stop the run. Our job is to stop the run. That is what we have to do, and that is what has to get done no matter what. Whoever is there – my son there or anybody – it has to get stopped. There is no excuse for it."
On if the necessary tenacity on the Bengals defense may be lacking:
"I think we just have to do things in a better way. It is a culture change. We are trying to bring a winning culture to this team, and we have not had that before so you are working on that. That is what comes with it. There is a toughness that comes with it. There are no excuses for it. You have to want to win. If you are not this pissed off after the game we just lost and gave up 200 yards rushing, it is not right. You have to want to win. This hurts. It is tough to win in this league week to week. It is really tough so you have to want to do it. You have to put your mindset to it every day, day in and day out.
On how tough it is on a defensive line when QB Baker Mayfield is consistently rolling out of the pocket:
"When you give him down and distances to do those type of things, it makes it real tough. It makes it real tough to figure out run and pass, especially when they are running stretch and outside zone with cuts. They are doing that so it puts a little bit of stress on you, but it is nothing too big. We have to do our job all around. We have to make him pull those boots up and force them into bad throws like we ended up getting done at the end, being able to force those turnovers on those big plays and giving our DBs time to make plays."
On how long it takes to build a winning culture:
"I don't know. That is a really good question. I have no idea, but it is done collectively. It is not done just one person. It starts, but I think everybody and this loss hurt a lot of people. To the core, it hurt. You can see. I think collectively, you have to want to make a change. That is the same battle we are battling in this world, right? To change a culture, you have to, collectively, everybody has to want to make a change."
On not being able to play complementary football yet this season:
"It is tough, but I play defense. That is what I am worried about. I have full confidence on everybody else on the other side of the ball to do what they have to do. That is how this game works. I can't go play offense. I am no good at it. I play defense so I have to focus on my guys and guys on my side of the ball and have trust and confidence on those guys on that side of the ball."
On the Browns not attempting a throw on their final scoring drive:
"It is tough. That is a man stepping in front of you and saying that he is going to shove it down your throat and do better than you. That is what he said. He said he was going to run the rock at us, and that is what happened. That can't happen. Football is too intense of a game and too physical of a game for us to let that happen to us. We have to get that corrected."
On how much the defense misses Bengals DT Geno Atkins:
"A lot. That is one of our brothers on the sidelines. We always miss one of our brothers, especially one of our leaders and a guy who has played a lot of football for us. We miss him a lot. We will be glad when we get him back, but in the meantime, nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have our games to play, and we have got to get things done."
On missing Bengals DT Mike Daniels, in addition to Atkins:
"Yep, but in the meantime, we have to get what we have going fixed now right. It just has to get done."
Bengals CB William Jackson III:
On his interception:
"The coaches put me in a great position to make the play. My guy actually went behind the line so once he did that, I am coached to shove, and the ball fell right in my hand."
On WR Odell Beckham Jr.'s touchdown catch:
"It just was not smart on my part. I was getting prepared that I was going to get that double move throughout the week. I kind of bit on it, and he made the play on me. It is nothing I can't correct. It was just an immature move by me."
On cutting the lead to five and the Browns running the ball to score late and help seal the game:
"They had success early running the ball so they wanted to run the clock out, keep running it and see if we could stop it. They popped the hole and they got a big run at the last minute."
On frustrations giving up more than 200 rushing yards:
"Honestly, we just have to get back to the drawing board. It is nothing we can't fix. They had some good runs – hats off to them. We are going to get back in the lab, and we are going to stop those big runs."
On the biggest difference on the Bengals defense from last year:
"Just growing within the defense. Everybody playing as one. (Bengals defensive coordinator) Lou (Anarumo) is doing a great job getting us together and getting us prepared. We just have to make those plays when they come to us."
On if the Browns talent at RB made it more difficult to tackle, given the Bengals' tackling success last week:
"We are just beating ourselves. They have some good guys over there. They run pretty hard. We just have to wrap up. We lacked on wrapping up today. We have to get back to fundamentals and get back to wrapping up."
On if the Bengals expected Browns QB Baker Mayfield to roll out of the pocket as much as Mayfield did in the first half:
"I feel like they were just playing it safe for the quarterback, giving him a little momentum. He is great outside of the pocket. When he is in the pocket, he is kind of suspect. They wanted to get him outside the pocket and let him be an athlete."
On how deflating it was turn the ball over after stopping the Browns on the goal line:
"It was not deflating. We just had to go back out there and do our job. That is why we are here. That is why we were recruited. We just have to go out there, and there are going to be certain changes throughout the game. It is an NFL game so we just went out there and tried to make a stop."
On gaining individual confidence with the interception:
"It was a wonderful interception – can't take that away from myself – but I do not feel like I played to the best of my ability. I feel like no one should catch the ball on me. I am really not even flattered by it to be honest."
Bengals WR Tyler Boyd:
On Bengals QB Joe Burrow calling him 'his guy:'
"It means a lot, but at the end of the day, I know my role. I know when my name is called, I am the third down guy. I always find windows to make things happen. It is great that we have that connection so early."
On whether he said anything to Burrow after the dropped touchdown pass:
"Absolutely because I should have had it. It definitely would have taken a little bit of pressure off of him. We called a great play designed in man coverage. It slipped away from me, which never really happens, but it happens to the best of us. I just continued to just play."
On whether he tried to get into the end zone before he had the potential TD catch:
"I just have to catch it first. I had the tuddy. I just had to catch it."
On how much the team notices when Burrow is taking a lot of hits:
"I notice it, but Joe is a football player. He is physical and he is hungry. This is the game so he understands the ins and outs of getting hit and playing football. He doesn't get up with a drowsy face or a long face and act like he doesn't want to continue to go. He hops right back up and continues to drive."
On if there is more pressure being put on the team with what Burrow brings to the offense:
"At the end of the day, we are just going to go out there and play football. We all have our jobs to do. We aren't going to put the pressure on any guy. Everybody has to do their specific role to continue to move the chains. If we all unite and work as one, then we should be good. I always mention that we have a great offense. We put up 30 points despite all of the negative things that happened. I think we will be fine."
On looking forward to both the Bengals offense and defense playing well in the same game:
"Definitely, but again, on offense, we wish we would have had a few plays back, and I am pretty sure the defense feels that way. It is still early in the season. We are still trying to build that chemistry on all phases of the game – special teams, defense and offense. We just have to find a way, continue to practice hard and execute. We just have to stay detailed, polish up everything and not do dumb stuff out there, and we should be fine."
On how to prevent this season from spiraling like last year:
"Just guys like myself continue to keep guys up, continue to motivate guys and tell guys that we are still in it. We are 0-2 right now, we are very sick of this feeling, it is devastating and we hate it, but at the end of the day, it is not an easy job to do. I don't think guys are hanging their heads down. I think we are going to start to rally up some wins."
On back-to-back 0-2 starts and whether this season feels different:
"It is different. I don't want to say it is the same because one thing is we continue to go out there and just drive and push. We never quit. Last year, we never did that, but we just couldn't find that missing piece to figure out what it was that we had to do better on both sides of the ball. I don't believe the defense is ever going to quit. I think they will go watch the tape and critique themselves, and the same with us. At the end of the day, as long as we play a great game with limited penalties and don't turn the ball over, we win the game. If I score that touch down, we are in there."
On making critical plays being a necessary piece to improving and winning close games:
"Definitely. One thing I feel like we just have to start fast. This game, we started great. We started out driving. We came up with three and we should have had 7. I don't believe we can be stopped. I think we stop ourselves. We just beat ourselves. At the end of the day, the sky is the limit for this team. We just have to find it in each other. We have to find it as a collective team and stay tight as a fist, and I think everything will start flowing."
Check out some of the best photos from the Week 2 contest as the Bengals travel to Cleveland to face the Browns.