CINCINNATI BENGALS POST GAME QUOTES
Head Coach Marvin Lewis
(opening statement) "That was a hell of a finish today. Very deserving, with how hard guys keep working and grinding, and they round out the victory at the end. We knew it would be difficult and tough, and we made it tougher on ourselves at times. But again, great job by the offense to finish the game, and the defense closed it out. The guys worked their tails off and got what they deserve."
(on what did this win mean) "To finish this season with another win."
(on if this is his last game as Bengals coach) "I don't know that. We'll see. Yes, there are decisions to be made. First, it would be the ownership."
(on what he said to his players) "I just told them congratulations on just keeping the faith. They continued to hang in there. We put ourselves behind a little bit at times, but they just kept playing. We got the ball down in the red zone, we come up with a big interception. We were playing down to a nub. We didn't have many guys left. We were going to have to start suiting up coaches in the second half. They just kept playing and found a way, even there in the end, the fourth down conversion, they made the play to win the game. It was a good job by Andy [Dalton] on the last play there for the touchdown. He got us in the right play and hit 'T.B.' [Tyler Boyd] right down the middle of the field just like they talked about during the timeout."
(on if there was a sense of momentum that can come in the last two weeks with the players) "I think there is a sense in doing it the right way, an accomplishment. Obviously, when you go back to a new season, you start from scratch, you get new people in place and new things. Again, that's the way you want to finish the thing. We lost three games in a row and that's why we are in this situation. If we win those three games, we're standing here having a different conversation. That's the unfortunate thing."
(on if he feels he has done enough to get an offer) "I'm not going to speculate on that."
(on where was today during those three weeks) "Well, we were without some guys. We were out players, and we had a lot of new, young, players. And over these three weeks, they've grown up a little bit and gotten better. When you lost three guys at a spot, it's hard, and you can't overcome that, and we didn't. We didn't get them in the right spots and give ourselves a chance. We hurt ourselves early in a couple of those games with plays and penalties and so forth – that put us behind."
(on if this game has an impact of what will happen tomorrow) "I don't know."
(on what he takes out of this game considering Pittsburgh and Chicago games) "The players just continued to work hard and understand and do … Like I said, we had some young guys playing. Hardy Nickerson, Jordan Evans, guys that now became starting players in the NFL, and that's a difficult thing. It's not as easy as you think. So now you have different guys on special teams and so forth. Again, I'm happy for those young guys. And obviously, they came through. Guys like Vinny [Vincent] Rey who would just keep fighting his tail off, day in and day out. I don't know how many times they carted him off the field today, but he just kept playing. Having Dre [Kirkpatrick] back was a huge difference in the back end. Darqueze [Dennard] goes back to his spot. We got put together differently, defensively. And obviously the continuing to run the ball today, we made big strides. Running the ball today was the difference in the football game for us. It got us off to a good start early. We needed to run it, and we were able to run it until they started ganging up on us at the end. So, that was a big part of the game early."
(on if he wants to coach here) "Yes. Yes, I would coach this team."
(on if he was to meet with Mike Brown and Mike wants him back would he come back) "It's more complicated than that."
(on how gratifying the win was) "I have a lot of great memories here. I started coaching here in this stadium in '97. It was some tough times, and a lot of good times. So coming here and seeing the people who mean a lot to me; people in the Ravens organization. I wouldn't be in Cincinnati if it wasn't for them. So they mean a lot to me, and it's fun to come here. They know what they are going to get when I come here. Guys are going to fight till the end. That's all they know, and I appreciate that from our players."
QB Andy Dalton
(on the game-winning touchdown pass) "The Ravens were in a soft-zone coverage. [Tyler Boyd] got behind the defense and found a little window in the seam. Once he caught the ball, he broke some tackles, and we scored. We had to do something at that point. It was fourth-and-12, and we were just trying to get the first down. When I went over to the sideline before the play, [Bengals head coach] Marvin Lewis and I both thought that this was a play that could work."
(on the possibility of this being head coach Marvin Lewis' final game) "We really don't know anything. I have no idea if he's coming back or not, but if this is his final game, I couldn't think of a better way to send him out – with a dramatic win like that. He wasn't overly emotional after the game. Everyone was just very excited that we won and in dramatic fashion."
(on the number of tough losses the Bengals have had this year) "It seems like we were one play away so many times from winning a game this season. Today, we got that play to put us over the top. It has been a tough year losing so many close games."
(on the way the Bengals closed the season) "The last two weeks, we really came together as a team. We now believe we're close to being a playoff team again. This was the perfect way to end the season."
(on if they derive any satisfaction knowing they knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs) "We really weren't thinking about that at all. We just wanted to come in here and win the game. There were a couple of scenarios where they could lose and still go to the playoffs, so that wasn't our concern. We were very aware that they blew us out at home in the season opener, so that was our focus. If we knocked them out of the playoffs, so be it. We just wanted to win the game and end the season the right way."
TE Tyler Kroft
(on the type of game it was) "This was definitely one of the craziest games I've ever played in. We got off to such a great start, and then they came back at the end. This was a great team win for all of us."
(on his first touchdown catch) "We were in a goal-line set and I snuck into the end zone and ran to the corner. Andy [Dalton] put it over my back shoulder. I caught it, and we had the lead."
(on the Bengals' progress the last two games) "We were clicking better on offense the last two weeks. We weren't stalling on drives and we kept finishing them. It was a great way for us to finish the season."
(on whether the Bengals derive any satisfaction on knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs) "It's definitely a special feeling, to come in and win. The Ravens are one of our rivals and we always expect a very competitive game. This was a tough game, and it's a great way for us to win and close out the season."
WR Tyler Boyd
(on the character of the team) "This team, this organization never quits. We came into the game knowing [the Ravens] had to win. We knew we just had to beat them. Every guy in here just wanted to come in and win."
(on the touchdown catch at the end of the game) "We have a lot of great guys out there who could have gotten the ball, but the coverage that they were in opened up for me, and we took advantage of it. Once I got it, I just wanted to go and try to make a big play, and it happened that way, and we won it. I definitely was surprised at how open it was, but I wasn't surprised that I got into the end zone."
CB Darqueze Dennard
(on the season) "Injuries came into play. We didn't play ball like we should have, but we have a lot of talented guys in this locker room. And, of course, the season didn't go like we wanted it to, but everyone in here knows what kind of team we have and what we could've done. It's kind of frustrating on the games that we did lose, and the games we should have won would have made it a different story."
(on Head Coach Marvin Lewis) "Coach Lewis believed in me when no one else did, and I think a lot of guys feel the same way. It's definitely the right way to send him out. It just shows you what kind of guy he is and how he motivates us and challenges us to come out and play. We'll see what happens in the future."
(on his pick-six) "[Safety] Shawn [Williams] made a good play, and the ball popped up. I was able to catch it, and when I turned around, I saw [cornerback] Dre [Kirkpatrick] in front, so I basically started weaving and tried to see it on the screen. I was listening to Dre talk, and I ended up in the end zone. I've played a little offense in my day. I know you can just let your blockers pretty much set everything up, and you just need to make one move at the end. It was a great job by the defense running and just blocking. I got the interception, but it was a team thing. There were a lot of guys running out there, and we had talked about that all year, just turning the ball over and trying to score. It was big. I was at the right place at the right time."
LB Vincent Rey
(on linebackers coach Jim Haslett) "I wanted to win it for Coach Haslett. The other linebackers did, too, because Coach Haslett put so much into this. He's in before us; he's still here when we leave. As players, we're around our position coach so much. We're really close with our position coach, but we wanted to win one for Coach [Marvin] Lewis."
(on the game) "I respect every game. I respect my opponent, and I think they respect me. It was physical. [The Ravens are] a physical team. It was an AFC North game. The wind chill was single digits, so it was a cold game. We were doing a great job to start the game, but then [the Ravens] started gaining momentum, running the ball on us. That's a real good running back [Alex Collins] right there. Real good blockers, but we were able to sustain and win the game."
(on whether Head Coach Marvin Lewis should be back) "I think he'll be back. I personally think he should be back as our coach. I've been in [Cincinnati] for awhile, and I have my ear to the streets, so to speak, and I've heard some people who have lived there their whole lives say that these are some of the best years that we've had under Coach Lewis as Cincinnatians. Coach Lewis brought me in, and I've learned so much from him. He's a head coach, but at the end of the day, he coaches the linebackers, so he's like another linebacker coach. I get a lot of little tidbits from him."
CB Dre Kirkpatrick
(on whether or not Head Coach Marvin Lewis will be back) "We'll find out. I really can't speak on it. I can say that I love Coach Lewis. He's definitely been a great inspiration in my life. He's helped me grow into a professional. I just wish him the best."
(on the game conditions) "It was freezing. I need to put a little more meat on me. I feel like, in the offseason, I'll buck up a little bit and try to get to 195 lbs., so I can be a little bit better in conditions like that. Guys played through injuries on both sides. I saw some of [the Ravens] coming out there limping. It was just a great game. We have nothing but respect for Baltimore. We fight them every year. They come out there and compete every day, but today we were just the better team, and I'm happy we got the 'W.' We could've come out there and lay down, but everybody kept fighting. We were just grinding. At the end of the day, that's what it's about."
WR Brandon LaFell
(on if Head Coach Marvin Lewis was emotional after the game) "He's always emotional. You guys just don't see it. It's like he's always going to cry. It was emotional, especially beating a team that he used to coach. I'd get emotional also. You always want to win one for the coach, but you also want to win one for yourself. You can't go out there and lie down. Everybody felt like we have to go out there and make plays, and that's what we did. [Wide receiver] Tyler Boyd made the biggest play of the year."
(on the touchdown pass to WR Tyler Boyd) "The offensive line held up, [quarterback] Andy [Dalton] threw a good ball and 'T.B.' made the play. He made some guys miss, and he went in and scored."
LB Hardy Nickerson
(on the second half) "They came out in the second half, and it was a field position game. They jumped on us in the second half, but we were able to close it out. Huge win for us. Huge way to cap off our season and go into next year. We played our guts out today. A lot of guys went down. A lot of guys didn't play this game because of injuries, but everybody stepped up. There's no better outcome going into the new year."
(on this being a classic game against the Ravens) "We both know each other very well. It's always a chess match. They might get a play on us. We have to get a play back on them. For a minute in the second half, they were really running us, and we were able to lock it down. Especially the last drive when we were down 27-24. To get off the field and make them punt and put our offense in good position to score the touchdown; that was huge."
(on keeping the Ravens out of the playoffs) "It feels awesome. You don't like being in this position - going home this early. To bring some people down with you, we just brought Detroit [Lions] down and Baltimore down so it feels great."
WR A.J. Green
(on having a winning mentality) "He [head coach Marvin Lewis] instilled in us to not flinch. It's the next man up. He told you a couple of weeks ago that this team wasn't going to give up, and we didn't."
(on a reason for Marvin Lewis to return as head coach) "We were resilient. He keeps things very level. We don't get rattled by anything."
(on being well-defended throughout the game) "We did have some chances down the field. We just couldn't connect on them. Sometimes it happens like that. Next year, we'll just have to connect on those 'go' balls."
(on the 2017 season) "You have years like this. Everything is not going to be a perfect year. These past six years, I've been flying high. A lot of stuff came easy. This is my first year to where I got frustrated during the season, but it happens. My job is to come back even better next year."
(on winning the final game for Marvin Lewis) "For him to have coached [in Baltimore] . . . I know there will always be a place in his heart for this city and this team. He won a Super Bowl with [the Ravens]. It's always good to get a win for him."
(on the game-winning touchdown) "Unbelievable. [Andy Dalton] hung in there all day. Everything wasn't pretty for him out there, but he just made plays today."
S George Iloka
(on staying in the game despite getting hurt) "I looked and wondered 'Are we really out of guys?' So, I just stayed in. That's football. You just have to play hurt in times like this, and everybody did. You have to respect guys who play through pain. Especially in the games where there's not much to play for."
(on knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs) "We were just trying to win. We don't want to lose and have that bad taste in our mouth. Our first priority was to win, because we've had a bad year. They're a division opponent. Anytime you face a division opponent, you want to win. If you watch the Browns and Steelers game, the Browns weren't playing for much, but they were trying to win."
(on the CB Darqueze Dennard interception return for touchdown) "It was great. Coach [Kevin Coyle] said, 'We need to make a play, because it's going to come down to us making a play.' That was a big-time play by Darqueze, but none of us is surprised. He does stuff like that all the time. It was a key play in the game."
(on the Ravens' comeback after the interception return) "Their offense responded. I don't know whether they made adjustments or not, but they did play better in the second half. They scored two touchdown, but I was happy how we responded and didn't flinch. We got the key stops when we needed them."
(on the similarity to another big win over the Ravens) "We've been in that situation before. It was two years ago when it was Andy [Dalton] and A.J. [Green]. [A.J] went into beast mode breaking like three or four tackles in order to score and won. These games are crazy. These division games are always like this. Whoever wins is not going to win by a lot."
DE Carlos Dunlap
(on watching the offense score the winning touchdown) "It was unreal. In that situation all season, we hadn't executed. This time, T.B. [Tyler Boyd] stepped up. Andy [Dalton] made a heck of a throw just over the linebacker underneath. That was all heart there. Even though the season is what it is, I wanted to go out with a win and end the year right. We can't go to the playoffs, and neither can they."
(on Vincent Rey playing hurt) "Vinny is courageous. He's a leader. He has plenty of heart. Vinny fought through many plays. He knew we had nobody else, so he sucked it up two more plays and made a tackle. I guess somebody called him over to tell him he had to come out, but, before I knew it, he came right back in. When you have a guy playing like that, all out and putting it all on the line for you, it inspires you to bring it that much more." (on Marvin Lewis' post-game comments) "Everybody was excited because we finished the year strong. We acknowledge that we didn't have the year we wanted. To end it off on a good note, that's all you can ask for with the current circumstances. Happy New Year!"