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Bengals defense wants to avoid playing for pride, still fighting to win

Dre Kirkpatrick and Carl Lawson spoke about the Bengals’ continued efforts to win and how hard they’re working, despite the team’s 3-6 record.

Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals’ defense has had its up-and-down moments all season. And though the team is 3-6 heading into Week 11, the players are not ready to call it quits or consider 2017 a lost season.

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who forced a fumble that turned into a touchback in the Bengals’ loss to the Tennessee Titans spoke about his frustration after the game. But though he’s frustrated, Kirkpatrick says the Bengals need to stick together and grind out some wins.

“I don’t even know what to say. It’s frustrating, man. I want to win. I don’t care about the personal, individual goals, I don’t care about that sh*t,” Kirkpatrick said. “That (explicative) (doesn’t) mean nothing to me. I want to win. I want to win as a team. I want to win as a unit, because when you win everybody looks good, and when you lose everybody looks bad. It’s a team game, man. We got to play together.”

Despite a losing record, Kirkpatrick says he’s not giving up and the Bengals’ defense will return to work in Cincinnati to figure out how to get a win next week against the Denver Broncos. He’s also striving to ensure the Bengals’ games don’t become a matter of playing for pride.

“I ain’t going to give up. I’m going to ride it out until the end no matter what, win, lose, or draw,” Kirkpatrick added. “We got to get back to it next week, but in a minute it’s going to turn into a pride game and I’m not ready to go that route yet. I’m still looking forward to the team goal of getting a win. We got to win so (the season) doesn’t become a fight for our pride.”

On a positive note, Kirkpatrick acknowledged that coaching is what helped him to force rookie wide receiver Corey Davis into a goal line fumble. The Bengals scouted Davis, brought him to Cincinnati prior to this year’s draft and this is likely something the coaches learned during that time.

“I was trying to punch the ball,” Kirkpatrick said. “Our coaches told us this week that he (Davis) runs loose with the ball, so I just went out there and tried to do my job.”

That he did.

Rookie Carl Lawson echoed Kirkpatrick’s sentiments of the Bengals’ hard-fought loss.

“We fought hard,” Lawson said after the game. “I think we played with passion. It’s disappointing to lose, but it’s a whole other thing when you feel like you didn’t put your best effort out there on the field. But, I do think we fought hard. It’s just the little things that we got to control.”

One of those “little things” that turned into quite a big thing was the Titans’ game-winning touchdown with 42 seconds remaining on the clock.

“It was very disappointing,” Lawson said. “I beat the left tackle but he (Marcus Mariota) got the ball out quick and (DeMarco) Murray made the play.”

Penalities were another fixable issue for the Bengals on Sunday. Clayton Fejedelem had a false start, Adam Jones had an illegal use of hands, Andre Smith had an illegal block, Vontaze Burfict had an unnecessary toughness call and was later ejected for making contact with an official. Lawson had an offside call, Trey Hopkins had a clipping call, William Jackson had a holding call, as did Brandon Wilson, Andy Dalton had an intentional grounding, and maybe the most costly was Josh Shaw's defensive holding in the final minutes of the game. Shaw also had another defensive holding call and an illegal contact call earlier in the game.

“We can’t have the penalties. We just can’t do that,” Marvin Lewis said after the game. Lawson had more to say on that front, too.

“For myself, I’ve got to make sure I stay onside,” he said. “Sometimes that’s part of being a pass rusher, but at the same time those things hurt. Offsides, defensive holding, pass interference, those are the little things that we can’t afford to happen to us, especially in situations like that (at the end of the game).”

If the Bengals are going to start winning games, the offense needs to stay on the field longer. When your opponent has 40 minutes and 9 seconds with the ball and you have 19 minutes and 51 seconds as your time of possession, you’re very rarely—if ever—going to win. It’s amazing the Bengals had a chance at all considering those numbers.

Last week was exactly the same as the Bengals’ had an NFL season-low 39 offensive snaps, and 19 minutes and 46 seconds of possession. The Bengals’ offense is doing its defense no favors, and that’s going to need to change in a big way if the Bengals are going to win any of their next six games. Per Pro Football Focus, the Bengals had 51 offensive plays this week, meaning the offense managed 12 more plays, despite being on the field for only five seconds longer than last week.

We can only hope the Bengals coaches are coming up with creative ways to get more out of the players and that they can work toward more wins down the stretch.

Bengals lose heartbreaker to Titans in Week 10; fall to 3-6 in 2017

Posted by Cincy Jungle on Sunday, November 12, 2017