OCTOBER 7, 2012
“We let a good opportunity get away from us today. There is no doubt in my mind about that. We gave up a touchdown after the turnover and we turned the ball over too much. That will get you in trouble all day long. We had a hard time overcoming the turnovers today. You also have to put the ball in the end zone when you get the chance, and we didn’t do that today. We also didn’t do very well on third down offensively. You have to win on third down to have a chance on offense. That, along with the turnovers, ended up killing us today and we have to do a better job in that regard. We knew they were a good football team defensively and that they were going to play well. We needed to put more points on the board today, and we had plenty of opportunities to do so. We just weren’t able to capitalize.”
What was the thinking behind kicking the field goal with 3:05 left?
“We thought we could stop them and get the ball back again, then kick another field goal and win the game. We got the ball back, but weren’t able to do anything with it.”
Were you thinking that going for it on fourth down was a low percentage play there?
“It really depends on the yardage in that situation. It’s easy to sit here and second guess it now.”
Was there anything you can put your finger on to explain why the offense struggled so badly on third down?
“It has been this way two weeks in a row now. I think getting better on first and second down would help that some, but I think we’re just a tick off on third down. We got the ball tipped in the end zone on one drive; we got the ball tipped late in the game and so forth. Those things are what are stopping us on third down. We have to get a tick better, and get that extra inch to win. We made some wonderful plays in those situations, but we have to make them more consistently.”
Did you get any word on
Did you give any serious consideration at all in going for a two-point conversion after the touchdown?
“The way we looked at it was we were at the beginning of the fourth quarter and it was early. If it was later on, it would have been a different situation. We just got our legs back under us on defense and we were starting to stop them, which helped us. I didn’t expect that to be our last score of the day.”
What did they do well on defense? They seemed to keep you from going deep most of the game:
“Well I thought A.J. (Green) had some good plays, but he saw a lot of coverage today. We expected that from their defense. We have to find a way to get other guys open and also create some more space in the running game. We need to convert some more plays and create some bigger plays with other guys throughout the game. We didn’t make enough plays today, and we lost the game.”
The offense had a hard time getting started today. Can you talk about what the Dolphins were doing to slow you guys down?
“The offense didn’t play well today across the board. I have to play a lot better and we have to find the ways to move the ball down there and score touchdowns. We didn’t execute today, we didn’t do enough. It’s tough sitting here where we are. We had our chances, but we couldn’t get it done.”
This is two weeks in a row with third down struggles. Can you put your finger on what is wrong right now?
“Third down is a big down and we have to get it done. There isn’t one thing that’s happened that is a reason why we aren’t converting. It just comes down to execution; we have to be better and find ways to throw the ball and catch the ball and run for a first down. We didn’t get that done today and we are going to try to get better at that; we have to.”
Did you want to go for it on fourth down with three minutes to go before Nugent’s field goal? How were you feeling?
“I thought we were going to go for it. But, I understood what Marvin was thinking. It’s unfortunate that we missed the kick, but we never should have been in that position. I should have gotten a completion there right before and gotten a first down.”
Did you have any thoughts about going for two on that earlier touchdown?
“I thought we were just going to take the points. We still had a chance. Even after the missed field goal, we got the ball with 1:45 left and we should have been able to drive down and at least get a chance at scoring a touchdown. But we didn’t execute well enough today; that’s what it comes down to.”
Did you expect something along the way, a big play or something would help you get in rhythm and over the hump?
“We did have the one touchdown drive; that was a good drive for us and I felt like we had the momentum at that point. Then we go down and I took a sack that hurt us and maybe we had a chance at a long field goal. We just can’t do that.”
Describe the coverage you faced most of the day:
“A lot of two. Nothing we didn’t expect. We were just playing flat today. We didn’t help our defense at all.”
Does your job get harder as teams begin to prepare for you more?
“This is what I signed up for. I make plays all over the field. It’s their job to take me away. I still have to go out and make plays when my number is called.”
Does this loss feel more disappointing knowing that you were in the game at the end?
“We let this one slip away. The offense didn’t help the defense. We have another big game coming up next week, so we have to forget about today and move on.”
Did the players try to lobby at all to go for it on fourth down with three minutes left?
“That’s not our decision. It shouldn’t have been a fourth down situation in the first place. We do whatever the coaches call.”
You picked it up in the final drive:
“Definitely. We had some good completions. Just another situation where we couldn’t capitalize.”
On today’s game:
“We were just shooting ourselves in the foot. A lot of turnovers, a lot of penalties that set us back with first and longs, third and longs and it’s hard to move the ball and establish a rhythm like that.”
Do you think you’re going to have to take some lumps with some of the young guys you’ve got out here (on the team) in key positions sometimes?
“No, I don’t think it’s youth; we’ve just got to go out and execute better and it (takes) all 11 guys. We have to do our jobs, get to our spots and we’ve got to make the plays.”
The offense just can’t find a rhythm, third downs were tough — (did it) just feel like a grind?
“Yeah. You know a lot of games are like that, and there’s a lot of good defenses in the NFL, a lot of guys that can make plays, and this was just one of those type of games where we’ve got to find a way to get through it.”
A game like this with all the turnovers on both sides … It seemed like they had a little more time to overcome it — did the turnovers put you behind the eight ball eventually?
“Any time you turn the ball over, it’s very detrimental to your team, and Coach (Marvin Lewis) always talks about that. We’ve just got to hold on to the ball. I had a fumble, and that’s something that I can’t have. I can’t let the team down like that. So it’s just something we have to work on and go back to practice and fix it.”
It seemed like they were taking away the shorter passes; was going deeper in the second half an adjustment you guys had to make?
“No, it’s just taking what the defense gives us. That’s pretty much the game plan they came into the game with, and we’ve just got to do a better job at executing plays.”
On the miscues in today’s game:
“There were some blown coverages. There was a situation when a (Miami) receiver caught the ball over my head. That’s my progression I had to work off of. He caught it, they scored a touchdown a couple plays later. Plays like that, you want to get back, you know, because (with) plays like that, you ask yourself ‘What would happen if they didn’t convert on that?’ Without missing that, the game could have gone any which kind of way, but there’s no point of worrying about it now. They won, they came in and handled business. It’s just time for us to watch film tomorrow and get better.”
Kevin Coyle put together a game plan and his players went out and executed it:
“He’s never had a problem motivating guys. You’ll definitely play hard if you’re in one of his defenses. Their front seven really played a heck of a ballgame.”
Usually if you hold a team to 17 points, it’s considered winning football. In this case, Kevin Coyle’s defense came in and held you guys to 13 points at home. That’s incomprehensible, isn’t it?
“They were coming off of two overtime losses, so we knew they’d give it all they had. We had opportunities and we didn’t execute. It’s tough when you lose a ballgame and you look back and realize all the missed opportunities.”
When the offense is struggling, what goes through your mind?
“You look at the turnover margin. I’m sure they had more turnovers than us. It was one of those games when you have to scratch and claw to stay in it. It seems like the ball had WD-40 on it — it was one of those days where we didn’t protect the ball.”
What does Kevin Coyle mean to you?
“He means a lot. I’ve known him since my senior year in college. I want nothing but the best for him. I’m happy for the guy.”
You did a pretty good job neutralizing the Miami pass rush today:
“That was one of goals. To compete against one of the top pass rushers in the league and hold them to as little as possible. That was my main objective.”
You were very patient. Is that the key?
“Right. With any rusher, you have to be patient. If you make one mistake, they’ll take advantage of it. You have to be patient and stay true to your technique.”
Bernard Scott was off to a fast start, but then he got nicked up. It seems like he would have made for a great weapon if he could have stayed in the game:
“Yeah but injuries happen in football. I hope he gets back extremely fast. I know he’ll work hard like he always does.”
It seems like Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle put together a great game plan and his guys went out and executed:
“We shot ourselves in the foot more often than not. We have to make sure we execute the game that we know we can play, week in and week out.”
On his missed kick in the fourth quarter:
“(With that miss), the offense is driving down the field knowing ‘We have to score a touchdown. We can’t just get close enough to get a field goal.’ Putting them in that position is just kind of disappointing.”
What happened on the missed kick?
“(I) just missed it. I really want to watch the film because I liked my set-up; I really liked everything about it, but I looked up and it just didn’t’ feel like a solid hit, (almost as if it) went off my toe. But like I said, I liked everything else. It just wasn’t a very hard hit, especially with the wind — it wasn’t terribly windy — but I’ve just got to hit it better.”
That’s the (terrible) part of this job, when you miss, isn’t it?
“It is. It’s one of those things where you have to be able to respond to it. You can’t just wallow in the kick — ‘What if they throw a pick and we get down into field goal range?’ You’ve got to be ready to go. Like I said, I don’t like putting the offense in that kind of position.”
Marvin talked about this game being a missed opportunity — is that how the team feels?
“Yeah, I agree with him. He’s exactly right just because the way this league is run, you really have to go out and win every single game, especially if it’s an AFC opponent and if it’s a home game. Losing to the AFC at home is a tough one and — I can only speak on a personal note — you’ve got to do everything you can because every point counts.”
The offense seemed to be clicking (this season) — what happened today?
“I think we were still playing well; it was just the turnovers. With the turnovers, there’s not much you can do. You turn the ball over, you don’t play very well.”
You didn’t see anything else wrong?
“No, there’s not much else you can do. If every time you get the ball and turn the ball over, and you’re trying to get started and you fumble or turn it over, those things kill offenses. That’s why every year, the best turnover ratio teams get to the Super Bowl. It’s frustrating because without the turnovers, we have the potential to have drives. You’re going to get stopped at times, but the drives where you’re moving the football and turn the ball over hurt you. Then you’re put in situations where you’ve got to hold the ball (on defense) and then find throws to play catch up — that’s why teams that get ahead win.”
When you have a game like that, does it just feel like a grind for four quarters?
“You know, it felt like that all day today. It just wasn’t one of those days where things were clicking and it’s definitely something that we’d like to change and start off the game a little better. On a couple first downs today, we kind of put ourselves in a hole.”
They have a pretty tough front seven — was it tough sledding pretty much all day?
“Those guys are good. Those guys play well together. They’re a good team defense. I think they had a good streak going for keeping teams at 100 yards or under rushing. You can tell why — they just play well together and it’s a good team defense.”
On a late holding penalty against him:
“Yeah, my feet got a little tangled up with some other guys and I was going down so I just brought them down with me — I’d rather do that than let them take a hit on the quarterback and it’s just one of those things that’s unfortunate.”
“It was a great team win today. All three components (offense, defense and special teams) contributed to the victory. This is a very good Cincinnati team — a well coached team — and obviously a hot team coming off three wins in a row. I’m really proud of how our guys hung together and played tough. We talked all week long about how we needed to display some resiliency. Today was a fitting end to the way the last couple games have ended for us.”
You talked all week long about closing out teams. Do you think your football team was able to do that?
“Yeah, we had a very good week of preparation. They were tired at the beginning of the week because of the west coast trip, but these guys hung tough. They wanted to win.”
At the beginning of the game you turned the ball over twice. Was that almost a “here we go again” moment?
“Not really, not with these guys. We won the turnover margin today. We told the guys in the team meeting Tuesday there are some great things about what we’re doing, and there are some things we’ve got to fix. The first thing on the slide was the giveaway/takeaway margin. We won that one today and won the game.”
Can you discuss the growth you are seeing in Ryan Tannehill?
“There were some big plays. Protection overall was good. We got off to a rocky start with the sack on the first third down, but he managed the game well and made good decisions.”
Can you talk specifically about what you meant when you said it was a fitting end?
“If you look at the game against the Jets — I said let’s play a 60 minute game, it went into overtime. We talked about finishing games the next week, and obviously we know the outcome. We told the guys we’re not sure the outcome of this game — none of us have a crystal ball — but we’ve got to keep playing.
“We told the guys last night at the meeting this game isn’t going to come down to scheme or calls — it’s going to come down to the team that has the most desire and believes they’re going to win. That’s probably what’s so satisfying about this win.”
How important was the input of Kevin Coyle in the game plan?
“I’m very pleased. It was a team win. Kevin (Coyle) and his staff did an excellent job with the game plan.”
How big were those first two possessions in the second half?
“It’s felt better than the past couple of times. We came out of the gate with a lead. It was good to see our guys play and respond with the lead.”
Did you get an explanation on that punt replay?
“I guess they said you couldn’t really tell whether his foot was on the line or not. I really don’t know.”
It’s the second week in a row that Sean Smith has done a pretty commendable job against a top receiver:
“Again, it was good team defense. I think we only had two penalties for 10 yards. We talked last night about being disciplined. It appears he (Sean Smith) had a good game.”
Can this be a building block?
“Hopefully we can teach off it and the guys can learn from it. Certainly that would be the best-case scenario.”
Dan Carpenter has missed four times now in three games. Do you start to look at those long attempts a little differently and think whether you should do it or not?
“We had the wind in our favor and, at the time, we thought that was a good decision. We’ll have to evaluate it like we do every week.”
Randy Starks with a huge game-changing play:
“Yeah, it was a really big play. We told him we needed more, and it was great to see.”
How does it feel to finally pull one out in the fourth quarter?
“It feels good. We talked about it all week. We’re two plays away from having a winning record. Today we stepped up and got the win.”
How did it feel when you saw Reshad Jones come down with that interception, after you had talked about making plays all week?
“It feels great. That’s what we were looking for, to be able to secure the win. It’s a great feeling.”
You guys seemed to do a good job on offense balancing the run and pass, even when you fell behind early:
“We got behind early, but our defense did a good job holding them to two field goals. We knew there was no need to press. We just had to stay on our game, and I think we did a good job of that both in the running game and passing it when we needed to.”
It’s been three very pressure-filled games for you now:
“Yes, it’s fun. The pressure mounts, but I think that’s what brings the best out of a good quarterback. I try to take advantage of those situations and make plays when I have the chance.”
You were able to get out of the pocket today and buy some time for your receivers to get open. Are those things coming a little easier to you now?
“The offensive line did a great job of creating a pocket, and the receivers did a good job of getting open when they saw me move. We were able to extend plays.”
What was going through your mind when Cincinnati had the ball with 1:45 left and 80 yards to go?
“We just have belief in our defense. We believe in each other, and there was no panic on the sideline. They came through and made a big play.”
It looked like from the get go, you guys were getting good pressure on
“The game plan every week never changes. Stop the run, eliminate the big plays and get two turnovers. If you can do that, you can beat anyone in this league.”
Are you OK after your big hit?
“I was a little dazed for a minute, but it wasn’t anything serious. Their guys on the sideline said to sit down and stay down for a little bit and calm down and wait for our trainers to get there to evaluate me.”
Can you talk about the challenges this defense faced playing without Richard Marshall and playing a good offense?
“We had a difficult challenge here today without Richard being there. He is one of our veteran guys. All of us back there had to step up and make plays because their offense is a talented group — one of the best groups in the NFL. It was a big test for us, and we came out on top today.”
After how the last couple weeks have gone, how does it feel to get a close win today?
“It feels real good, because the games have come down to the end the past two weeks, and for us to not come out on top was difficult. For us to finish this game and find a way to win is very good.”
How did you manage to eliminate their deep passes?
“We stayed on top of everything. We played with playbook technique, just like coach Coyle has told us. We have been doing that all week —staying on top of the routes. We just challenged them when the ball was going vertical — challenge them and make sure they don’t come down with it.”
Kevin Coyle was with the Bengals for a long time. Did you get a notion that this was a big game for him?
“Definitely. This is like his first home. This is where he brought up a lot of the guys that are in the NFL right now —
Was there a difference between this week’s fourth quarter compared to the last couple weeks for the offense?
“I wish I could say yes. We still didn’t end our offense like we wanted to. Our defense bailed us out. We still have to work toward that. It was a full team win and we’ll take it.”
Ryan Tannehill was able to connect on a couple passes that kept drives alive:
“That’s huge. We’ll keep growing. That’s what this league is about — making plays off schedule. Davone (Bess) had a good one today — (and) myself. That’s what we are there for. We’re there to bail him out, and he’s there to bail us out. It’s a give-and-take. To make the plays when we need them is the most important thing.”
Can you talk about his growth this year?
“It’s great. That’s what you ask. We don’t expect you to start off Game 1 as the savior, or whatever you want to call it. The fact that he has grown each week and we are able to communicate on a high level, and get better and be on the same page — the sky is the limit.”
Were you worried about how this team would respond after two overtime losses?
“Yes and no. We were losing games that we won physically. We were losing games where we had more total yards in offense. I think that throughout the week, no. But, in the back in your mind you hope that it doesn’t show back up again. With that being said, we got over that hump, and now we have to get ready for St. Louis.”
Was the defensive pressure the best that it’s been all year?
“That’s what we worked on all week. We came out today to just have fun and play football. We came out and executed on everything that we had to do.”
Do you guys talk about having to get a stop at the end of a game?
“I think the goal is just to finish. Don’t look up at the scoreboard till you see 0:00 (on the clock). It’s a good feeling when you win.”
With Richard Marshall out, did you feel that you guys had to be a little more special up front?
“You have to step up with Marshall out. The next person has to step up and keep playing. They did a good job. Now we’re on to St. Louis.”