Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton met with the local media on Wednesday and talked about how the Bengals are feeling heading into the playoffs. He talked about the upcoming Wild Card game against the San Diego Chargers, the confidence level of the club and if they can get things right the third time around.
On facing the Chargers for the third time, Dalton sounded confident:
The first time you played them, did they remind you of any defense that you had played in the past on a more regular basis?
AD: "It’s hard to say they’re exactly like this team or they’re like another team. Everybody’s got their own little things that they do. It’s not like it’s the same as something we’ve faced before."
Is there any advantage to playing a team that you’ve already played, or is that nullified by them having already played you?
AD: "You know some of the looks you’re going to get. There’s some carryover on different things we were able to do. You understand the team a little bit better just because you’ve already faced them once."
You beat them two years in a row out there as a quarterback. Does that give you a sense of confidence to know you won on the road and took care of business, and now you’ve got them here?
AD: "This is a confident group, not only me, but this team, this offense and everything that we’re doing. Any time you beat a team, you have confidence. What we’ve been able to do the last several weeks has really brought on a lot of confidence for us."
It's to hear that Dalton and his crew appears ready and confident heading into their third straight postseason appearance. A little more on the team's mindset and the stigma of being 0-2 in the playoffs as the starting quarterback:
How does this playoff Wednesday, if at all, feel different from the previous two?
AD: "We’re really confident in everything we’ve been able to do. We understand what we’ve done the last couple of years. There’s a different mindset now. Guys are ready to take that next step, to get a big playoff win and that’s something that this team needs. It’s going to be great to have a home game. I think that’s going to be to our advantage, get the crowd involved, and to not have to deal with the crowd noise and the different things that go with playing on the road. Having a home game is going to be big for us."
You’ve had to hear for years about what’s lacking in your game is winning a game in the playoffs, playing well in the playoffs. How much do you need this win and how much are you looking forward to this week?
AD: "When you talk to Marvin, you talk to some of the coaches, that’s something that we haven’t done – we haven’t won a playoff game. People can keep saying whatever they want because we haven’t won a playoff game. You’ve got to win. That’s what it comes down to. And for us to get where we want to go, we need to win. That’s the way it works. For me, we need to get a win in this one. There’s always going to be something that’s going to be wrong, but to get a win would be big."
That would be one of the bigger things off your plate?
AD: "Yeah, it would be, so you don’t have to hear, ‘Oh, you haven’t won a playoff game, or you haven’t done this, you haven’t done that.’ "
They’re running out of things aren’t they?
AD: "I hope so. Hopefully, we keep winning and they’ll run out of stuff. This is a big week for us."
And finally on the lack of a sellout and his reviewing of the tape from last week:
When you go in as a quarterback into the playoffs, are you more cognizant of not making mistakes/turnovers, or are you thinking, as the quarterback, I’ve got to make some more plays?
AD: "It comes to knowing when to try to make some plays and when to not force things. I think that’s something that comes down to usually if you win the turnover battle, you’ve got a better chance of winning the game, so it’s even more important once you get to the playoffs."
Was that reinforced by the four picks last Sunday after you had such a great run?
AD: "I understand what’s at stake here and what we’re trying to accomplish. I’m going to do my part to put my team in a good position."
Going back and looking at the interceptions, is there anything that struck you about them?
AD: "I tried to get too much, when I probably could have checked it down. I watched the tape and will learn from it."
Less than 10,000 tickets available for this game is what we’re hearing. Relate to the fans what they can expect and what you need from them to show up this coming Sunday:
AD: "To play at home and to have the crowd noise, to have all the fans get involved, is big. We need to sell out this game. We need to make sure everybody’s here, everybody’s excited. There’s a lot of good stuff going on here. We need all the fans involved."
If this game doesn’t sell out and it’s blacked out, what kind of message does that send to the players in the locker room?
AD: "The game should be sold out. We’ve been able to do a lot of really good things here. To have that extra advantage and to have the city behind us is big. I expect it to be sold out."