Bengals Monday: Lewis Positive

Apparently, Bengals players want a little more credit for their hot start than the head coach has been giving. At 3-0, cautiously optimistic Marvin Lewis tries to be positive.

The one thing about Sunday's 28-24 road win over the Ravens that impressed Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was his team's ability to rally from behind twice in the fourth quarter after losing a 14-0 first-half lead.

“It’s hard to do it twice in a game, and hats off to our guys; driving down the field twice and getting back control of the game," Lewis said. "Obviously, we still have a ways to go."

The Bengals are 3-0 for the second year in a row, 2-0 away from home, with a road win on each coast. Doesn't matter to the coach, who sees better than he hears.

"A lot of corrections to make," Lewis said. "We can’t have the penalties. We have to do a better job on defense, and just keep plugging. We have a lot to coach off of."

Even so, Lewis would much rather be 3-0 than 0-3, the record that the bedraggled Ravens are saddled with at the close of September.

"It was a hard-fought win. The way the NFL is supposed to be," the coach said. "That’s a good football team that we came on top of today. We have to get back to work. I’m glad we won, and we have a lot to correct. It was the resiliency to keep playing and overcome the adversity we put ourselves in that was huge."

The Bengals let wide receiver Steve Smith roam free and do damage, which nearly helped pull it out for Baltimore. Lewis took strong exception to that.

"We know they have a good player in 89 (Smith), who we didn’t do a very good job on," said the coach. "He’s what we knew, and he made plays today that made the difference in the game, and we didn’t do a very good job.”

Lewis said he was happy with quarterback Andy Dalton, despite Dalton's first interception of the season and a lost fumble: “He did some great things today, and the last touchdown was huge. He did a great job. The one where he had the fumble, he tried to hold on at the last second. He thought he had a play there. He’s always learning, and that’s the good thing about Andy Dalton. I’m just pleased for him today.”

Lewis, who is on the NFL's competition committee, tried to explain why tight end Tyler Eifert's touchdown was not allowed, a score that would have given the Bengals a 21-0 lead.

“You have to possess the football, and give it to the official. That’s what I tell our guys all the time," Lewis said. "Reaching for the goal line, if you haven’t completed the catch, you’re not a runner yet. So that’s what they deemed; he wasn’t a runner yet. He has to hold onto the football. It’s not a rule. It’s an interpretation, so you have to make sure that you possess the ball through the ground. If you are catching the football, and in the act of getting knocked to the ground, you’ve got to possess the football. If you understand it, plain and simple like that, you’ll say that’s incomplete.”

And the 3-0 start?

“It just means 3-0. We have 13 more to go," Lewis said. "We have the Chiefs next week, and we have a lot to correct. I think that’s the best thing about this football team. They asked me to be positive with them today, so I’m going to be positive.”

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