Opportunities Have Been There, Bengals Want Better RESULTS

Disappointment reigns supreme in Bengaldom, where hand-wringing over uncapitalized opportunities is hardly the lone worry.

Upon further review, the Bengals are still pissed.

“Not much has changed from the disappointment of losing the football game," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said of Sunday night's last-second road loss at Arizona. "We have some things we need to do better, some things we did very well, and for the second week in a row, we lost the last drive of the game. There’s both negatives and positives there. They’re negative because it happened. They’re positive because we get a chance to build on it as we go forward.”

As much as it hurt, especially with the way the team went down to defeat, Lewis said it's history.

“I’m beyond it. The team is beyond it. This is the NFL, and there’s nothing given for how you play," the coach said. "Like I said before, the negative is not getting it done, the positive is rehearsing the opportunity so next time around we get the game finished in a better outcome.”

The coach was asked if he is surprised with recent pass protection issues, and said, "They (the Cardinals) were doing some things that Andy (Dalton) was able to avoid and step through and make plays. You just have to keep playing, identify things, and get it corrected. We lost occasionally. But, all in all, we protected the quarterback very well. We have to continue to get better because we don’t ever want him touched."

Lewis seemed to have few issues with Dalton at quarterback: "I thought he did a very good job of avoiding the rush and feeling sometimes the loss of containment because of the overloads, and then stepping around and making plays."

Lewis thought the receivers did a good job getting open: "We have to continue to do a good job on the perimeter in those situations; providing a target for him. He missed a couple of throws. We obviously don’t want to miss those deep-ball layups. We missed at least one to Marvin (Jones). When you get those situations, you have to take advantage of them every time you can.

"You just have to reset and make a good throw out there. The receivers always have to trust that he’s coming to them all the time. They disappointed us a couple of times because they don’t think they’re getting it and then ‘here it comes.’ They always have to have the edge where ‘I’m getting the ball’.”

The coach said the Bengals' 10 penalties for more than 100 yards looked worse on paper than it did on the field.

“We had a taunting penalty for throwing the ball at them, for them pushing us back. But we can’t retaliate," Lewis said. "The penalty on the sideline and the other penalties are things that are going to happen in the game. We didn’t have a sloppy foul, which is a positive. The negative delay of game play I’ll take on myself, because I thought we were going to get it off. I can see why the holding penalty is called, but the guy pulled us down on them and we’re overpowering them. But I see the officials’ side of it. The good thing is there’s not the sloppy fouls. Those things are going to happen because people move and so forth.

"Penalties were called, and we can’t do anything about it. We have to keep doing a better job so there’s no question about how we’re doing it.”

Lewis was asked about the fairness of Cardinals coach Bruce Arians’ accusation that the Bengals had been calling out (false offensive) signals on the defensive line (the Bengals were penalized 15 yards just before the winning field goal). "No, because of what we said, it wasn’t even their cadence," Lewis said with a laugh. "It’s supposedly not their cadence."

Was there any hindsight on the unsuccessful third-and-2 deep-ball play to receiver A.J. Green in the fourth quarter as opposed to a more conservative play while trying to make a first down, Lewis was asked.

“We don’t get to go back and hindsight it," the coach said. "It’s easy to sit here after the fact and say, ‘If we did this or that.’ If we don’t make the field goal (for a 31-31 tie) after we missed the third-and-two play, its, ‘Why didn’t you go for a TD?’ You can look back on it, but our quarterback does a nice job of making decisions, and we have lot of confidence in our players to be able to handle that situation (the deep incompletion on third-and-two).

“It was a good matchup for us to take the shot at it.”

Designs and strategies by offensive coodinator Hue Jackson are good. All the Bengals need, the coach said, is better execution, on both sides of the football.

“We just would like to have a better outcome next time. We have to stop them and play defense," said Lewis. "That’s part of the NFL, too. We had just as many opportunities as they did to sack, fumble, or intercept them at the end and win the game with another field goal. This is a football team, and you have to play all three phases at all times.”

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