This could have been Marvin Lewis’ final home game with the Bengals after 15 years with the team. Several reports have surfaced that Lewis won’t look to be extended after this season, and that the Bengals are already making a list of preferred candidates. Still Lewis talks like a coach who plans on being back next year. Odds are this was his final home game despite whatever the coach may say at this point.
Proud of the way the Bengals fought against the Lions
“That was, for the guys, a great job today (with) great fighting throughout the game,” Lewis said. “We had to battle the war of attrition once again out there, and guys had to step up and play. I think we went into the game with the most linebackers we’ve had for a while, and we quickly went without them, and (it was a) nice job (by the backups).
“We shot ourselves in the foot with the penalty there on fourth down with the running into the kicker (penalty in the third quarter), and then they make the first (down). But the offense fought right back and went down and got a score, so it was a good day all around for our guys.”
It really was a complete team effort this week. When on phase of the game failed, the other phase picked them back up. When Andy Dalton threw a terrible pick, the defense forced a three-and-out. When the defense gave up a late touchdown drive, the offense came back and retook the lead with a field goal.
It really was the type of effort you’d like to see when the team still had hopes for the playoffs, but it was a nice reminder that there is some real talent on this roster.
It was especially impressive how the backups all stepped up when the starters seemed to be dropping like flies.
Talks about the young offensive linemen
“Christian missed the one trap play where Gio got clocked, but all in all, those young guys went in there and battled their butts off. And Clint (Boling) battled his butt off out there at tackle. They’ve got to feel good. It was a good week of practice and the energy. It was great.”
We finally got to see the young offensive linemen that we have anticipated so much, and they played very well. There were times they showed this was their first real game action, but overall they were impressive.
It really makes you wonder where they have been all season while the Bengals were struggling to run the ball of protect Dalton. It really is just another thing we may end up questioning about this year’s Bengal team.
Life as an NFL head coach
“It’s a year-to-year, day-to-day (situation). We’re not done yet, but we did not (give up). Our goal as an organization is to be world champions. We’re not going to get there this year. That’s my job, to get the team to win the Super Bowl, and we’re short of that this year.
“That’s all I can say. There’s nothing in between as a coach — you either do or you don’t. And this year we didn’t.”
This is the closest answer to where you felt like Lewis was eluding to this being the end of his time in Cincinnati. He talks about how every coach knows these jobs aren’t forever. Especially in this league where teams are constantly jumping back up from being bad teams to being competitors again.
I think despite the fact we have given a rough time recently that he has always tried to do what was best for this team. It has to be frustrating to lose, and then get dumped on for it year after year. Really all he ever wanted to do was bring a championship to Cincinnati. He was just never able to fulfill that promise.
How frustrating this season was, especially after close games against good teams
“Well, it is. We had a year where we didn’t close some games out when we had the lead. We had a year where sometimes, offensively, we weren’t as good as we needed to be. Unfortunately, we spread it around. Again, you’ve got to feel good with the way the guys came out and played today.”
I think this is the closest you’ll get to him finding an excuse for this season, and he really doesn’t even do it. the question also included blaming injuries, but he never brings that up in the answer, which is the sign of a coach who has been around.
Lewis knows injuries happen, and that both teams deal with them. If you lost every time a guy got injured then you aren’t winning very many games. the sign of a really good team is the ability to have the next man step in, and still keep the unit going. The Bengals have shot themselves in the foot plenty of times this year. Enough times that injuries shouldn’t even be included on the reasons why this year was frustrating.
A real honest answer would be it was frustrating how long it took for him to put his stubbornness aside and play the best players. Even if that meant playing young guys.