Initial comments ...
"I'm proud of our football team. It was a very methodical win. We knew that the Bengals were going to be highly motivated and that they were going to play a good hard football game, and they did. We weren't able to do some things that we really wanted to do. They took some things away from us, but we found some ways to score some points. Our (defense) was off the charts. It was a completely dominate performance. I think that more than half of their yards came on that one drive right before halftime. That was an impressive performance. I think that's two weeks in a row that we haven't had a touchdown scored on our defense. In this league, that is pretty hard to do. Credit goes to all of our defensive coaches, Rex Ryan and our defensive players. Offensively, I thought that we did what we had to do to score points. We found ways. We didn't run the ball quite as dominantly as we wanted to, yet we found ways to score points creatively, and guys came up and made some big plays. That's what you have to do in this league. That's a good defense that we were playing. Our guys found ways to get some scores."
Your thoughts on Mark Clayton and his contributions in all facets today ...
"Well let's see, I think he had two long catches and a throw for a touchdown, right? That's pretty hard to duplicate. Mark has done a really great job of just coming to work every day. He's as hard of a worker as we have on our team. Between him and (Derrick) Mason, they get out there and kill themselves in practice, and it shows up in the game."
Were you surprised with the arm he has?
"We saw it in practice. We knew he could do it. That may have been the best that he's thrown it. He's a gamer, obviously. He'll be lobbying for more throws now."
What does it say about your team when they didn't give the Bengals any hope and they really didn't overlook them?
"I don't think that our guys are in that place. It's understandable to look at a game like this and say, 'that's potentially a game that they will overlook.' But our guys just aren't there. If we do things right, and we stay humble and keep working hard, we'll never be there. That's not a place you want to be. The fact of the matter is that in this league, 'any given Sunday' is true. That's a good football team that we lined up against. It's not a record we lined up against. They were motivated to beat the Ravens. They have beaten the Ravens plenty of times here. For our guys to come in here and take care of business, I think that speaks very highly of our team."
Do you see this team gaining confidence as the season progresses?
"The best way to gain confidence is to get better. When you keep getting better and you play well, then the confidence will come. I think confidence follows work. Our guys are putting the work in. They have earned their way to this spot. When you talk about the veterans on our football team, they have done a great job. You can name every one of them — Ray (Lewis), Trevor Price ... They do a great job of letting the younger guys know that every year is special, and they don't come around all the time. When you have a chance to compete for something that we are competing for right now, you can't take it for granted."
Is Le'Ron McClain your full-time starter now?
"He was our starter today. He played really well. We have three backs that can start. We have three backs that we're going to need in December to get where we need to go. I think that all three of those guys are starting quality backs in this league, so we need to use all three of them as much as we can."
Was Willis McGahee not playing because of injury, or was it because of game planning?
"It's strategic. We have a plan. We have a plan for Willis. He is going to be a big part of this team, no question about it."
So, he's not hurt ...
"Willis can play, and he will play. We are going to put him in the best situation to play, just like we are with Le'Ron (McClain) and Ray (Rice).
With regard to Adam Terry, was he still injured?
"It was lingering effects from the concussion. He was not cleared to go."
Talk about getting so many players involved in the offense today ...
"We had a bunch of guys step up for us today. Mark (Clayton) had a huge day. He made a handful of catches down the sideline. You also saw his throw. It was huge to get him involved in the game plan, and you saw what the result was for us today."
There was a two-minute span where Mark Clayton caught a touchdown and then passed for one. Did that put the game away?
"That stretch was pretty big. In the first half, we went down and kicked some field goals. We wanted touchdowns in those situations, but we settled for field goals. To come out in the second half quickly and put two scores on the board was huge for the momentum of the game."
What has happened the last two weeks to make the difference for Mark Clayton?
"You saw the guy go up and make catches today. Anytime you are one-on-one, you want the guy to make the difference for you, and you saw what he could do today."
Talk about the Ravens standing at 8-4 and playing three of their next four games at home ...
"We are right where we want to be. We put ourselves in the hunt. We have four (regular-season) games left and we need to continue to do what we've been doing. That starts next with Washington."
It was Le'Ron McClain's week to carry the rushing load. Talk about the running game ...
"We wanted to pound them a little bit. Le'Ron gets in there and pounds tacklers. Any guy we gave the ball to did a great job today. Ray (Rice) was able to make guys miss. We felt like we did a good job."
You have continued to involve more receivers each game. How much of a difference does it make to be able to spread the football around to every receiver?
"It is going to open up so many things for our passing game. Teams won't be able to double-up on Derrick (Mason) or double-up on this guy. They have to make sure they play their coverages pretty straight, and that gives us the opportunity to make as many plays as we can."
Talk about the difference Willie Anderson makes for this team ...
"We have suffered a decent amount of injuries on the offensive line. He's one of those guys who has had to step-in. He wasn't there at the beginning of the season. He came in after we had a couple of injuries. To have a guy who has been in the league that long and to do the job he's done has been huge."
What is it like to beat the Bengals today?
"A win is a win in this league. We've been on the other side of this situation. We've been the team playing to spoil somebody's happiness. That's what (the Bengals) were trying to do today.
"They still have a lot to play for each week. I'm sure they've got guys that are going to be free agents following the season who are trying to put good plays, because you represent yourself on that film, and your film is who you are."
Talk about the defense going two games without allowing a touchdown ...
"We just try to play the best we can play and see where that stands. If we can continue to keep teams out of the end zone — continue to force three-and-outs and continue to give our offense the ball — even if (our offense) doesn't score, they are wearing down the other team's defense.
"The other teams use a lot of defensive players on special teams. If we can keep making a team punt, it starts to wear out the linebackers (chasing punts). In the fourth quarter, its putting a burden on players who have to hit Le'Ron (McClain) or Ray (Rice) when he's nice and fresh. It's a team thing, and we have to get it all going together to get wins."
How tough is it to keep forcing an NFL offense to punt as many times as you did today?
"Once you get a swagger — once you get in a groove and understand what the other team is trying to do — you can try to anticipate the situations. If you get behind, you can become predictable, and the play fakes become less and less decisive. That allows the linebackers to play fast, (even though the offense) is depending on those (play fakes) to keep the linebackers out of plays."
The Ravens put a lot of pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Did you rattle him today?
"We knew through film study that he has had a lot of passes batted down this year. He's a shorter quarterback. In our experience, with similar quarterbacks, we know that he needed a pocket. The same pocket he needs to throw through, he needs to run through. If we could stir that pocket and get a left hand up against a right-handed quarterback, we would have a lot of chances to get a hand on the ball. We were able to do that. That's discouraging for an offense. Not only do they not get to complete a pass, but their receivers don't even have a chance to make a play on the football."
What are your thoughts as your team appears to be in the stretch drive for a playoff berth?
"We have to continue to play tremendous football. Playing so many road games early in the season was a burden for us, but we are reaping the rewards now. We want the road to the playoffs to come through Baltimore. All you can ask for is an opportunity to play in the postseason. What better chance than to play meaningful games at home?
Talk about the Ravens defense scoring more points than the Bengals offense ...
"When you get ahead, those opportunities present themselves. You can anticipate pass routes. Our coaches do a tremendous job of studying other teams' tendencies. Guys do a tremendous job of studying the scouting reports and reaffirming them. Opportunities come where we can make plays. Whenever you get a chance as a defense to put points on the board, it's discouraging to the opposing offense."
How many times did you practice the 'wide receiver' pass?
"We practiced it a couple times. I'm just thankful coach trusted me with the ball to make a play like that to (Derrick) Mason."
What was more exciting — that catch or the throw?
"They both were good. I'm just glad we were able to put points on the board and win the game, because at the end of the day, that's what it's about."
Were you a big part of this week's game plan, or did your game materialize based on the game situations?
"It just happened. Every week we just go in and our goal is to just get better offensively. However we make it that Sunday, just win the game. Somebody makes a play and then it snowballs. Today it just happened to come my way."
How much has your relationship developed with Joe Flacco in the passing game?
"It's collectively just growing. Joe has been able to hit everybody across the board. As the season goes on, we just want to get better a little bit, each week. We've been able to do that. We'll go into this week and work hard to get better again."
When was the last time you threw a pass in a game?
"It was back in college, I think. Yeah, it was in college, back in my sophomore year against Nebraska. It was a bad pass. I was just like, 'Lord, let this one go right.' "
At 8-4, you are in the middle of the playoff hunt ...
"We, honestly, take it a game at a time. Obviously, as you progress you get a lot more confident in the product you put out on the field. We're confident that we'll go into this week and be able to prepare and get better and put a better product on the field."
What does it say that you were able to focus and decidedly defeat a one-win team?
"This is the NFL. These are the best players in the world. You better bring you're 'A' game. No wins, one win, whatever. We were a victim to a no-win team last year. So we know every time you take the field, you better bring you're 'A' game, regardless of records."
How does it feel to be here on a visiting team after 13-years as a Bengal?
"Well, I'm on the podium now. I was never on the podium before. A win's a good win, as cliché as it is. It's still a division opponent, and we need as many division wins as we can. They've got their issues over there, but we've got our own issues. We can't go into a game and let the opponent's issues become our own issues."
What does it mean to be in a playoff race at this point in your career?
"It's good. This is what we all play for. The last several years — '03 through '06 with Marvin (Lewis) in Cincinnati — we were playing for the playoffs. We were in meaningful football games in December, playing with a chance to play in January."
What did you think of Le'Ron McClain's performance today?
"He's a tough, physical guy — an old AFC type of runner. We always kid with him and say, 'We need our big sack of ground-out back.' When it comes down to the stretch in December, the teams that have that kind of back and that kind of line usually dominate this division — (such as) Jerome (Bettis), and back in the day with these guys in Cincinnati when we won the division with Rudi (Johnson) pounding the ball away. You need that back that can pound the ball and get you four or five ugly yards sometimes. That's what leads to big plays down the field in the passing game."
What did the whole experience of returning to Cincinnati as a Raven feel like?
"It was different, man. It was different. I've never been through here. I always wondered where the visitors' locker room was. It's a whole new experience coming in here as a visitor, staying at the Westin Hotel, and seeing everybody. It was different, but at the
Bengals Post-Game Quotes (11/30)
Head Coach MARVIN LEWIS**
Bengals Post-Game Quotes (11/30)
Head Coach MARVIN LEWIS
Bengals Post-Game Quotes (11/30)
Head Coach MARVIN LEWIS
Initial comments ...
"That was a very disappointing loss today. We got ourselves into a bad situation in the first quarter, when we were behind in the field position battle, and continued to move back. We finally got some things going in the second quarter. We had some stops on defense and had a good drive at the end of the half, but we were unable to get the touchdown. We were in pretty good position coming into the second half, but we allowed two really big plays in the passing game that broke our backs in the second half. They were able to kind of control the clock from there, and we were never able to get anything going offensively all day."
How big of an issue is depth with this team?
"We have (15) guys on injured reserve."
The Ravens also have 15 ...
"Yes, but I don't believe many of those 15 are starters. I think (DT) Kelly Gregg and (CB) Chris McAllister are the only two starters, so it's a little different. Whenever you have a lot of injuries, depth plays a part. It's particularly hard when you have three guys go down at one position like we have had in recent weeks at a couple spots. I think that is a big issue. No NFL team has enough depth with 53 players to overcome losing three guys at one spot from one week to the next. It's a difficult thing to overcome, but you have to just go play, try to mask things a little bit, and get it done."
Things aren't as bad as they look, are they?
"Today we weren't very good. When you get your head kicked in like we just did, I'm not going to be happy about anything."
Can you go through another year like this?
"No, our football team won't have to go through another season like this, nor will our fans ... believe me."
They scored on a couple gadget plays when you played them in Baltimore, and they scored on another one today. Is that because guys are so focused on stopping the run?
"We just have to stay in coverage. It comes down to execution, and that's what I just told our guys. Today the Baltimore Ravens executed on offense and defense better than we did. I told them not to question why, but just to look at you. Did you handle your responsibility? We had the opportunities. I think that's what it comes down to."
Do you sense that guys are pointing fingers in the locker room?
"No, I think the tendency is to say it was this or it was that. That's human nature. It actually occurred because of something else, and that's important to understand."
Are you worried that this team has given up on the season?
"No, that wasn't a question last week, so I don't know why it would become a question this week."
Part of the problem might be the number of young guys on this team ...
"That's what we have right now and that's what we're playing with. Today we didn't play very well, so it comes back on me and the coaches. We have to do a better job of helping them prepare and understand. We did not execute very well today. We didn't convert a third down until right before halftime. Three points doesn't get it done in a football game."
QB RYAN FITZPATRICK
You didn't face Baltimore in the opener, but how good is that defense?
"They're a good defense. Year in and year out, that's the strength of that team. It's no secret that we came into this game struggling on offense. We've been struggling all year, and it compounds that playing against a defense like this and not getting the ball moving around."
When these two teams played the first time, guys said that the Ravens threw some looks at you that, as a team, you weren't ready for. Was there more of that today?
"They always have their special looks with guys running around, and it's just a matter of blocking the right numbers. To be honest with you, there wasn't a time that they caught us off guard. There were a few new wrinkles they had that they will add every game, and you try to adjust them on the sideline."
You totaled 18 yards on the first play and then two yards on the next 19. Would you say it's more them and less you, or is this offense just in a funk that you can't get out of?
"I think we're obviously in a funk, and we have personnel that's better than the statistics. We have guys that can make plays; it's just a matter of getting the ball in their hands and getting them space. The defense that we played today is good, but if you're a good offense, you're going to be able to put up points on anybody. I think it was more on us today in terms of executing."
The defense spent almost three quarters on the field today. Do you worry that the defense might start finger-pointing at the offense for not stepping up more?
"It's hard. You can't expect to win games when the defense is on the field that long. It's a team sport, and we have to keep pushing and playing together, and the offense has to play better. We have to generate points, and at least generate first downs, so we can keep opponents off the field and get field position. Today it didn't happen."
Marvin said he told the team that Baltimore out-executed his team. Does that sink in as a good summation of what happened?
"I think his assessment is right. There were so many times out there today where the ball is getting batted down, you're missing throws, missing (hot reads), whatever it is. It's just a matter of a defensive end getting there and hitting the ball out of my hand or a matter of not getting it out quickly enough. Whatever it is, there were plays to be made today and we couldn't make them. That's why we're not winning games right now."
QB CARSON PALMER
What are you hoping for when you resume throwing next weekend?
"I am just hoping I am able to throw, and that there is some improvement in my elbow, and that I can have some zip on the ball."
What will be the process of rehabbing at this point?
"I am not 100 percent sure. I've just been staying focused on getting to this date, and we will see what happens. Whatever the doctors tell me to do, I am sure they are going to want me to have a couple of different opinions on it. And if its surgery, it's surgery. If it's not, it's not, and we will move from there."
Can you talk about the effort of the Baltimore Ravens' defense?
"It is one of the best defenses in the league, and that is two weeks in a row we have played a very physical team both offensively and defensively. You have to take your hat off to them. They are well-coached. They play extremely hard and do a lot of different stuff. They have a lot of veteran guys that understand schemes and, unfortunately, they outplayed us today."
G BOBBIE WILLIAMS
Did you get a chance to catch up with Willie Anderson?
"I spoke with him a little bit this week. He is just the same Willie. He just happens to work for the Baltimore Ravens organization now."
The Ravens defense made it tough today. Talk about that ...
"No doubt about it, they did some good things out there, but a lot of it was us not executing properly. We were identifying correctly, but we just weren't executing properly. That has been a sad song all season, but at some point, we have to overcome that and play like a football team is supposed to."
DT JOHN THORNTON
Was that as good as you have ever seen a Ravens offense?
"You could say that today, because of the circumstances. But they had the chance to run a lot of plays. They dialed up everything that they had. They had Troy Smith in there and were running reverse passes and stuff. I think we got to see their whole playbook, we were out there so much."
CB LEON HALL
Do you feel depth may be lacking some on this team?
"I really don't think like that. Regardless of injuries or who is playing or not, we still have to play. We still have to get 11 guys out there and fight to win."
It seems like it was a rough day for the defense ...
"It was a rough day. It's just one of those things where I have to go back, look at film and check out what I have to do better. Indianapolis is definitely going to look at that, and I have to try and come back and have a great game next week."
WR T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH
How would you describe the offensive effort at this point?
"Terrible. I described it like that earlier this season. I can't think of any other word worse that that. It's just terrible, really. We got a first down on the first play, and then after that, we just couldn't move the ball. Part of it is my fault. I dropped two balls that I shouldn't have dropped, and one of them would have given us a first down."
Out of 14 possessions, you had nine three-and-outs. Talk about that ...
"Football is about giving your self extra downs to make plays and giving the coordinator a chance to get a feel for the opposing coordinator, and we just aren't giving Brat (offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski) extra plays. They can make mistakes and leave guys open; we just aren't creating enough first downs to put them in a position to make mistakes. We are the ones making the mistakes, and it shows."
You put a big hit on Ray Lewis. Did he see you coming?
"Yeah, he saw me coming. I was hurt for a while after that. I had a headache. I just saw Fitz (quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick) running, and I didn't think anything about it. I was just trying to get a block. Ray saw me at the last minute, and you see what happens when he sees you."
Marvin Lewis said there won't be another season like this. Do you see the reasons why this team won't have another season like this one? Is it injuries?
"Everybody has injuries. We just have a big one in Carson (Palmer). But New England has a big one in Tom Brady, and they are going to go to the playoffs. You would think when a team has the terrible record that we have, changes are going to be made. You would assume that the changes will be for the better — that they will better your team and give you a boost. Obviously, for us to have this type of record, there are a lot of guys that are getting beat or aren't doing what they are supposed to do. And so, they are going to try to get guys in here that will do a better job."