Voices of the Game

The Bengals fell to 0-2 with a 24-7 loss at home to Tennessee Sunday afternoon. Here are the thoughts and words of head coach Marvin Lewis and players from the game.

HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS

Initial comments ...

"I think to start with, after the way we played a week ago, to come back and have some of the same things bite us in the butt — to be inconsistent on offense, to be inconsistent on defense and obviously special teams ... We lost as a football team today. There was not one phase that played consistently for 60 minutes. We played well at times, did good things. We ran the football. It was difficult to throw out there today with the wind. We stopped the run, but then we had the boneheaded play before halftime, and the play later in the third quarter where they got field position and their punter puts it down on the two- or three-yard line. Those are the kind of plays we have to ultimately stop. We had a punt blocked, which was just ridiculous and just poor play. We block a punt, but then we have a chance to make a play. We don't make enough plays consistently enough and we're sitting here at 0-2, so that's where we are."

How do you move on from this, Marvin?

"We go back and grind harder. We have to grind harder, we have to grind smarter, we have to play smarter. I told them, whether it be our quarterback; whether it be our wide receivers; whether it be our back who fumbled the ball twice early in the game, whether it be our cornerbacks who have coverage and haven't covered, whether it be allowing them to catch the ball right at the very end after we've got the quarterback scrambling ... We have to go back and grind harder, coach harder and play harder."

What happened when there were 12 men on the field? It looked like there was a lot of confusion there ...

"We had a guy injured, but that's no excuse. We were down a sub, and we had to go back another sub. We had a guy on the field that wasn't supposed to be out there, and it was unfortunate."

In your mind, what has happened to this offense?

"It goes to the fundamentals of what you're doing. You have to block, you have to throw and you have to run. You can't be one-dimensional. We're not consistently executing well enough right now. It was hard to really get the passing offense going today in the wind, so that one is hard for me to evaluate today. Other than about three snaps all day, we ran the football pretty well, and that's a start, but we have to be more consistent. I may have said this three or four times already this summer, what you did last year or the year before doesn't matter. You have to come and get ready to play. You have to put out what you're doing this year. This is the '08 version and you have to be up to that. I do think that the guys who were our perimeter guys and hadn't had much time were back and played better and faster today. We have to keep building upon that. We just didn't get many opportunities because of the wind. I thought Chris (Perry) got some things going and got to feel good and comfortable in there today, and we just have to keep him going."

Was it disturbing that on Tennessee's last drive in the first half, there were seven plays and five of them were runs with one long run in there?

"We have an opportunity, and we have to play smarter. I think everybody, maybe other than the 11 guys on the field, knew they were going to run a draw because they didn't want to give us the ball back. It was going to be a running play because of the timeout situation. They had the lead, they were getting the ball coming out after halftime, so they were probably going to play a little more conservatively. So, as I said already, we have to play smarter. Then we missed the tackle, which could have made it still third-down-and-three or four. At that point, we ended up giving up not three points, but seven points before halftime."

It looked like you knew they were going to run it, because you took a timeout hoping to get a punt ...

"We have to play smarter. Obviously we have to play better physically, but we need to play smarter and understand situations in the game and make better plays in critical areas."

You have a lot of road games coming up, starting with the New York Giants ...

"We're 0-2, and we're going to get to work and go beat the New York Giants in New York and that's all we can do. We're not going to sit here and whine about it. We lost the football game and didn't play well enough to win, point blank. We didn't deserve to win. We're going to take the criticism and we're going to get it corrected. We're going to get back to work and we're going to get better and get after it. It is what it is, and I can't change that now."

QB CARSON PALMER

How bad was the wind?

"I've never played in a game like that before. I don't know what the miles per hour were. I've never seen it before. I've never played in it before. It was definitely interesting."

Was it difficult to figure out where the ball was going?

"In the middle of the field, it was all right to left. Once you got down to the end zones, it felt like it was just coming in off the river and swooping in a circular, clock-wise motion. But it was so gusty, it was never consistent. You never felt like you had it down — had it judged — because the gusts came in so much."

Is this team in a fragile state right now?

"I think so. These first two games, because of how bad we've been on offense, when you give up a big play before the half, it puts you in a bigger hole. We just need to try to find a way to stay positive. I think the best way to look at our situation is that we're 0-2, we're by no means out of the playoffs, and we've got a definite uphill battle ahead of us. Who better to get your mind set back than going into the defending world champion's home and getting a win? For confidence, for momentum, for the rest of the year, (we want to) just to find a way to go into the defending champ's home, get our first win of the year, try to get on a roll and see what can happen."

What's it like facing boos from the home crowd?

"It definitely doesn't feel good. You just can't let it distract you. You can't let it affect your focus. You need to go out there and play and I need to do a better job of that."

Can you explain the early timeouts taken and the 12-men-on-the-field penalty?

"On one of the timeouts, it was miscommunication with the personnel we had in the huddle. The 12-men-on-the-field (penalty) — I felt like I saw Kenny (Watson) step outside the huddle, and one guy came in. As the player left, he stepped back in the huddle and the flag went down. I'm not sure what happened on that. I'm not sure if it was a judgment call by the ref, or if we did have 12 guys in the huddle. But, to my best recollection, I thought I saw Kenny (Watson) step back five yards away from the huddle, (and then) into the huddle and I saw the flag go. So I'm not sure."

Did Utecht's injury mess up your offensive game plan?

"Yeah that was the first play of the game. We had a big game plan with him being in the game and a big package. It's something we were planning on using a lot, and we had to adjust and try to make the best of it and move on."

Do you feel like opportunities keep slipping away from this team?

"In two games, yeah. I think we've definitely missed some opportunities. We didn't capitalize on some opportunities we were given and some opportunities that we were in. But like I said, we've got to find a way to stay positive. We've got to find a way to get back on track. The good thing about it is, this early in the year, one win can do that, especially when it's at the New York Giants' home stadium. And we've got to find a way to fight through it this week. We've got some guys banged up and some injuries, but we're still a good enough team to go to New York and get a win. We've just got to find a way to do it."

S KYRIES HEBERT

You and Corey Lynch were able to create a turnover after a bad snap on a punt by the Titans to create a momentum change ...

"It was a well-designed play. It wasn't one certain thing that I did. It was drawn up well by the coaches and it was executed, and the ball just happened to fall my way."

You guys did a good job during punts and kicks. Did you feel like that was going to be a big factor in the game

"We felt like special teams was going to be a huge part of this game after what was done to them last week. We executed well, but we still have to do a little bit more. That wasn't enough to get it to the end zone. We have to finish the play."

When did the momentum switch to the Titans in the game?

"Being at home, I don't feel like a team can come in here and get momentum. We have the extra man. We have our fans behind us. They are giving us what we need for momentum at all times. No matter what they do, we have to continue to do what we're taught to do and what we work hard to be. And that's a better team than what we showed out there today. We will get better."

K SHAYNE GRAHAM

The wind was a big factor. Was it difficult to judge out there?

"I don't know that there have been too many times where I've actually had to judge that type of wind before in a game. It is definitely one of the hardest situations to have to kick in. Kicking into the direction of our tunnel, the wind was in your face, then it was blowing hard right. Sometimes you would feel it change up. With the gusting that was going on, it was definitely difficult. Our job as professionals is to deal with that kind of stuff because you never know when you're going to get it. It wasn't the optimum of situations, but it was what it was."

FB DANIEL COATS

How frustrating is it when you have chances with short fields, but still can't move the ball?

"It's rough. They're a good team, and their defense came to play today. We have to come back and get ready for the next game."

When Chris Perry scored the rushing touchdown, what was your mentality?

"We knew that, if we kept pushing, that it was going to come. We know that if we keep working hard, and keep doing what we're supposed to do, then the big runs are going to come."

What was Marvin's message to the team after the game?

"Pick it up. We have to stick together as a team and push towards New York. What happened, happened, and we have to work harder to get better for next week."

G BOBBIE WILLIAMS

What can you say about today's game?

"What you saw out there on the field from the Cincinnati Bengals speaks for itself."

What does it say?

"We're inconsistent, and we're not getting the job done. We have to do better, plain and simple. There's not a whole lot of explaining to do. We put it out there on the field, and it's not pretty."

You talked about this being a desperate situation coming into this game. How do you feel at this point? "I still feel like the pressure is on us. Everything is on a heightened alert. We're inconsistent, and we have to do better. We're 0-2, and we're not getting it done. That's it.

Could this be getting close to a finger pointing situation?

"No. There's not going to be any finger pointing. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We have to go out there and do it ourselves. It's not going to be given to us. We have to make plays, and until we do that this is going to be the result."

WR T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH

How much of a factor was the wind?

"It was a tough situation today, but we both played in the same conditions. Obviously, they played better in the same conditions that we played in."

Would you have ever though that this offense would be in this position after two games

"I would never have thought that we would have done that in the first game. So, I thought this game would definitely be better for us offensively. We go out and practice every day. We bust our ass, run hard, complete everything ... and then in the game, for some reason, it just doesn't go down that way. I don't know why.

"We get 200 yards of offense when our defense has pretty much played top notch two games in a row. We're just not helping them out offensively. I couldn't really give you an answer of why we're not performing on offense. If I knew, then I'm sure everyone else would know, and we wouldn't be playing bad."


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