Marvin Lewis addressed the media on Tuesday to talk about what happened on Sunday after getting a chance to look at the film. He was generally happy with the way his team played and reacted following the win against the Cleveland Browns that keeps the Cincinnati Bengals’ season alive.
Generally happy with how the defense played
The defense did its job on Sunday. They held the Browns relatively in check for most of the game.
“We didn’t get any takeaways, but were able to control field position all but once, which was good. We did allow the 90-yard drive, but for the most part, we were able to maintain field position.”
The Bengals didn’t have any turnovers, but they did sack DeShone Kizer three times. Both were drive changing plays. It is a little disappointing that the Bengals defense couldn’t force a single turnover against the team that gives the football up the most out of any team in the NFL, but you live with the final results.
The defense did struggle with slowing down the Browns’ running attack though. Luckily, the offense gained enough of a lead that the Browns had to get away from it.
Did not like the block-in-the-back call that wiped out Adam Jones’ touchdown
Jones had a punt return for a touchdown in the first half, and he seemed to have gotten in clean. He even scanned the field for flags before launching into one of the best celebrations of the season, but then a flag came out for a block-in-the-back call against Cethan Carter.
“It was a big day for Adam [Jones], and he made a big play. Cethan [Carter] was so productive throughout the day on special teams, and it’s a shame that that clouded it yesterday... I don’t think it was a block in the back at all, unfortunately.”
It seemed like a bogus call at the time. It seemed to come so late after the play that it was more of a call that someone made expecting someone else to have thrown a flag. It was just rough to see that get called back, and then the Bengals only ended up with a field goal out of it.
Glad to see team looking to improve after a win
“Yeah, there are things we needed to do differently. They are addressing those things right now. But, yes, there were things that they can do a better job of, consistently, together. That is important with the stretch of games we have, and obviously with the game we have this week.”
Several players, especially defensive guys, were making comments following the game that they needed to step it up more. They needed to play with more energy and prevent long drives from happening.
It has to be nice for a head coach to see a team so critical of itself in a win. Usually that will be the coaches job to reel their team back into reality and show there is work to be done.
This team looked good against the Browns on Sunday, but they do have a long way to go to prove they are capable of competing with teams like the Steelers and Patriots. Luckily they will have a chance to show how far they’ve come since their last meeting against the Steelers.
Also frustrated with the foul called against Vontaze Burfict
Burfict’s personal foul call early in the game on Sunday was overshadowed by the Jabrill Peppers hit on Josh Malone. Lewis wasn’t happy with the call either.
“It was a legal play... “I don’t know that [is the ref targeting Burfict]. It is unfortunate, though. That’s perfectly (legal). The guy is running at four (yards beyond the line of scrimmage), sees Vontaze running, alters to three, Vontaze hits him with the shoulder on the shoulder. That’s a legal football (play). The quarterback was in the pocket. Now, the quarterback then left the pocket — whether or not the referee deemed that (to be the reason), I don’t know. It’s unfortunate to have that penalty, because that led to the field (goal) position from there.”
While Browns fans are complaining that the refs cost them a shot at winning the game because of Peppers hit, they are conveniently forgetting how the refs kept them in the game with calls like this against Burfict, and the call that took the touchdown off the board from the Jones’ punt return for a touchdown. Overall that contributed to a six point swing in the favor of the Browns, but no one in Cleveland really wants to talk about that.
Lewis doesn’t care what it takes, he just wants the offensive line to play well
The offensive line has been a sore subject all season. After the team let two of their best offensive linemen walk in free agency this offseason the unit has looked horrendous most of the season. On Sunday though they played very well. Credit where credit is due, they were a big reason for the Bengals win. Still when asked if it was a matter of one unit having enough time to gel together Lewis got a little testy.
“That’s the thing you want to have — and we need to continue to get better with this — but I’ve come in here too many times and told you, ‘Well, it was one player here and one player there. It was a look. It was this, it was that. We have to continue to pair our things, tighten our focus, and eliminate those kind of ‘what ifs,’ or whatever is tripping us up. We’ve got to understand that and continue the identification together up front. You’re always going to have a couple of those things, and we had a couple. Their timing of things was good a couple of times. Our guys did a nice job a couple times with it, and so did the quarterback. That’s part of playing that cat-and-mouse part of the game. We have to continue to do it. When we’re at home, we have an opportunity to use the cadence and things that way to our advantage.”
Suggesting that ending the offensive tackle rotation has had a positive effect is natural because that change was made when the Bengals shutdown Jake Fisher for the season, and the Bengals’ offensive line had their best game of the season. Still we will know if that is really the case next week. The Bengals have played three games with the same five offensive linemen, but this was their only really good outing. Hopefully it is a positive trend going forward.