How does it feel to finally pull one out in the fourth quarter?
“It feels good. We talked about it all week. We’re two plays away from having a winning record. Today we stepped up and got the win.”
How did it feel when you saw
You guys seemed to do a good job on offense balancing the run and pass, even when you fell behind early ...
“We got behind early, but our defense did a good job holding them to two field goals. We knew there was no need to press. We just had to stay on our game, and I think we did a good job of that both in the running game and passing it when we needed to.”
It’s been three very pressure-filled games for you now ...
“Yes, it’s fun. The pressure mounts, but I think that’s what brings the best out of a good quarterback. I try to take advantage of those situations and make plays when I have the chance.”
You were able to get out of the pocket today and buy some time for your receivers to get open. Are those things coming a little easier to you now?
“The offensive line did a great job of creating a pocket, and the receivers did a good job of getting open when they saw me move. We were able to extend plays.”
What was going through your mind when Cincinnati had the ball with 1:45 left and 80 yards to go?
“We just have belief in our defense. We believe in each other, and there was no panic on the sideline. They came through and made a big play.”
It looked like from the get go, you guys were getting good pressure on Andy Dalton and you were taking the running game away. Was that the plan?
“The game plan every week never changes. Stop the run, eliminate the big plays and get two turnovers. If you can do that, you can beat anyone in this league.”
Are you OK after your big hit?
“I was a little dazed for a minute, but it wasn’t anything serious. Their guys on the sideline said to sit down and stay down for a little bit and calm down and wait for our trainers to get there to evaluate me.”
Can you talk about the challenges this defense faced playing without
“We had a difficult challenge here today without Richard being there. He is one of our veteran guys. All of us back there had to step up and make plays because their offense is a talented group — one of the best groups in the NFL. It was a big test for us, and we came out on top today.”
After how the last couple weeks have gone, how does it feel to get a close win today?
“It feels real good, because the games have come down to the end the past two weeks, and for us to not come out on top was difficult. For us to finish this game and find a way to win is very good.”
How did you manage to eliminate their deep passes?
“We stayed on top of everything. We played with playbook technique, just like coach Coyle has told us. We have been doing that all week —staying on top of the routes. We just challenged them when the ball was going vertical — challenge them and make sure they don’t come down with it.”
Kevin Coyle was with the Bengals for a long time. Did you get a notion that this was a big game for him?
“Definitely. This is like his first home. This is where he brought up a lot of the guys that are in the NFL right now — Leon Hall, Jonathan Joseph, Nate Clements. He has been here for so long and he knows everyone in their organization. It was very special for him to come here and get the win.”
Was there a difference between this week’s fourth quarter compared to the last couple weeks for the offense?
“I wish I could say yes. We still didn’t end our offense like we wanted to. Our defense bailed us out. We still have to work toward that. It was a full team win and we’ll take it.”
“That’s huge. We’ll keep growing. That’s what this league is about — making plays off schedule. Davone (Bess) had a good one today — (and) myself. That’s what we are there for. We’re there to bail him out, and he’s there to bail us out. It’s a give-and-take. To make the plays when we need them is the most important thing.”
Can you talk about his growth this year?
“It’s great. That’s what you ask. We don’t expect you to start off Game 1 as the savior, or whatever you want to call it. The fact that he has grown each week and we are able to communicate on a high level, and get better and be on the same page — the sky is the limit.”
Were you worried about how this team would respond after two overtime losses?
“Yes and no. We were losing games that we won physically. We were losing games where we had more total yards in offense. I think that throughout the week, no. But, in the back in your mind you hope that it doesn’t show back up again. With that being said, we got over that hump, and now we have to get ready for St. Louis.”
Was the defensive pressure the best that it’s been all year?
“That’s what we worked on all week. We came out today to just have fun and play football. We came out and executed on everything that we had to do.”
Do you guys talk about having to get a stop at the end of a game?
“I think the goal is just to finish. Don’t look up at the scoreboard till you see 0:00 (on the clock). It’s a good feeling when you win.”
With Richard Marshall out, did you feel that you guys had to be a little more special up front?
“You have to step up with Marshall out. The next person has to step up and keep playing. They did a good job. Now we’re on to St. Louis.”