Bengals coach Marvin Lewis reflected on Monday's 10-6 home loss to the Houston Texans, their first of the season, and decided it came down to a few things, most of which were missed opportunities, not to mention ill-timed penalities, dropped passes, lack of a running attack and being on the losing end of the field-position game.
“As I was standing on the sideline, I think what it came down to this evening was all of our opportunities (being present) and not taking advantage of them," the coach said. "We kind of got behind the field-position eight-ball there in the third and fourth quarters and were never able to flip it back over. (We had) too many penalties in the first half that derailed things; we had a couple penalties in the second half that derailed things. We’ve got to clean those things up. That’s the disappointing thing. We just didn’t make enough football plays, point blank — dropped balls, penalties — (they) make a big difference.”
The coach didn't think the Texans had as many self-inflicted wounds, though they did survive losing starting quarterback Brian Hoyer to a concussion. That brought in erstwhile Bengals killer T.J. Yates, who killed Cincinnati again.
“They played a football game. They didn’t have a turnover (save for the one at the end of the first half)," Lewis said. "But again, I can’t worry about them. I’m supposed to be here to talk about us, and I’m trying to do the best I can (with that). I don’t think we have big heads. That’s not an issue with this football team. We’ll go back to work like we always do.”
Lewis thought a big problem for the Cincinnati offense was the Texans' ability to stop the Bengals on third down.
“They did a good job of (putting us in) third-and-long a lot of times, and that’s an issue," said the coach. "They’ve been leading the league in third-down defense, and when you get people in third-and-long situations — like we put ourselves in, because of the penalties we had — then they’re going to have a little bit of an advantage, and it’s hard to convert 60 percent of those. We converted some, but not enough of them.
“I think we’ve been on the other side of making some plays down the stretch and today we didn’t; we were close again. I think that, for our guys, is what they can understand. For the defense to go out there maybe three, four series with the ball at the 40-plus yard line and be able to force punts, that’s playing NFL football. And then, the offense (was) backed up ... You know, we’re not converting, but yet we’re coming back out and we got the drive at the end of the game and you know, we’re still in a pretty good spot if (wide receiver) A.J. (Green) is able to hold on to the ball there at the end. But A.J. won’t fumble the ball and Tyler Eifert won't drop balls (like he did tonight), and we’ll go back to work, making plays and catches like we have (been) and continue to get better at it.”
The Bengals can hang their hat on a solid defensive effort. They gave up one touchdown and held Houston to 256 yards.
"It was a good effort, but we give up a couple plays — we gave up the fake screen, we gave up the quarterback scramble, we gave up the naked (bootleg), and the one play in the second half," Lewis said. "We just didn’t get control of the field position tonight, and we gotta keep doing (work). You win as a football team, and you lose as a football team.”