Initial comments ...
"OK. Good to see everybody. Appreciate the crowd. What do you have?"
The lack of sacks and pressure on the quarterback and penalties on third down was obviously not what you expected ...
"Well, I think those are things that led to the slow start. Certainly spotting them a three touchdown lead basically — 28 points — and those are the reasons. It's a little tough to get (Andy) Dalton on the ground playing the offense that they play because he gets the ball out so quick. That's what they do. It's quick throws, guys running inside routes — he's deadly with that kind of stuff. That's what he does. You'd like to get some batted balls, which we did. He's not a guy that gets sacked a lot because of the offense that they run, although we want to get sacks and get there. The penalties, really, they shouldn't happen. We're better than that. We've got to go to work and look at that. You can't give any offense in this league, let alone the kind I referenced, opportunities to get back on the field. I've got to see the holding call there at the end in the fourth quarter on Tavon (Young). I don't know, I didn't see it. I've just got to look at those things and see what they look like."
How much of an adjustment was it when you lose C.J. Mosely in that first drive?
"Well, that's your middle linebacker. You've two young guys in there playing. Those guys played hard. They fought, they really did but they didn't play perfect. That's going to hurt you for sure, and it did. It hurt mainly in coverage more than anything."
Does C.J. need more testing?
"He got his MRI tonight. There's no ligament damage of any kind, it doesn't look to be long term. I'm sure there's a bruise or something in there, so we just have to see how he responds in a couple days. The good thing is we have a long week. I don't know if that means he'll be ready for game or not — I have no idea."
A lot of pressure on Joe Flacco tonight and maybe that's why he wasn't as accurate out of pocket as he usually is?
"I have to look at the tape. I don't know. I'll have to see."
Any adjustments when covering A.J. Green?
"Any adjustments when covering A.J. Green? We doubled him some, we rotated coverage to him some — we did all that. Yeah, we had double coverage on the touchdown pass with No. 55 right underneath him and No. 25 was right on his hip, I think it was. He made so many great plays. He's a great player."
Who wore the defensive headset when C.J. Mosley went out and how did they do?
"It was Eric Weddle and he did a good job."
What kind of challenge is that to shift that responsibility?
"That's not a big deal. It's probably easier in the regular season than preseason. You have a one, two, three order for who does the play-calling. They had their helmet sitting on the side so if you have to change, he takes the helmet with the microphone in it and you go. And Eric's good. He knows what he's doing and he's a sharp guy."
Talk about how the offense came alive in the second half. You moved the ball ...
"Yeah we did. We did a good job. They got the sack fumble late. We had a chance there to get a big play. I think if Joe gets one more second it could be a touchdown. You've got to execute it but it was one of those designed plays to take shots, and it's a tough play to get off. Protection wise it's a dash play. I thought we did a good job when we didn't make mistakes. We'll clean some of that stuff up."
How much did the early deficit get you out of your game plan, especially revolving around Alex Collins?
"Not too much. The game plan doesn't stop and start with the running game. We want to throw the ball. It might have got us in our two-minute offense, but maybe not, because we like to run that up-tempo offense during the game anyway. We ran it against Buffalo, and we were ahead. I don't feel it got us out of the offense. Obviously we need to do more in the huddle, and we did. We ran the ball OK given the circumstances."
I know it is low probability at the end, but did you consider kicking a field goal there?
"We were going to kick the field goal there, could have kicked it right there before the last play but decided to take one more shot and see if we could just throw it up in the end zone and maybe get a call or make a play. Joe took a check down in that situation. We were trying to do that but we were hopeful that we could take chalk shots down the field and score quick or kick the field goal. That was the idea to get an onside opportunity. The clock moves fast. It's not college football where the clock stops on first down."
Six sacks against the Bills but none tonight?
"It's tough to sack the Bengals because the ball comes out so fast. That's their offense. They get the ball out so fast. They're precise, it's quick, it's three steps RPO (run pass option). I thought we were a little late with some of our backwards blitzes — I thought we could have timed those up a little bit better. But they had a big lead. You can't tee off on the passing game because you've got to stop the run too. It all factors into it."
The Ravens have turned the ball over more often against the Bengals than anybody. Do the Bengals do anything different defensively than other teams?
"Yeah, they run their defense. They do a lot of things differently. They run a defense that they've been running for years with Marvin (Lewis) and Mike Zimmer and right on through. They play great defense. I mean they have talented guys, they have pass rushers, they are a team that turns people over. You can't turn the ball over a lot against anybody, and that's probably why they won most of those games."
What happened differently this time?
"We weren't sharp on a couple few things early on. We hurt ourselves with some penalties too."
Is it something the Bengals do differently on defense, where you seem to turn the ball over more?
"You have to give this defense credit for what they do well. The first interception was on me. The safety was up high, and we were looking to take a shot with John Brown. I was trying to keep it away from William Jackson, who has a lot of speed. But the safety came driving through and picked it off. It's not a good play on my part. You have to give them credit on the second one — their pass rushers get after people. Without Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins on that play, it might have been a touchdown. Early on, they didn't do anything we didn't expect them to. We were trying to push up on people and run them outside. It wasn't working great, and the middle of the field was open, so that started to get us into a zone. It was tough sledding early on, and we weren't very precise. When you do that in somebody else's territory, you pay for it."
Was the second interception going to Chris Moore?
"No, it was going to John Brown. Chris was grabbing the safety and John was running the post over the top of him. I was throwing to John all the way there."
Did you need just one more second on that strip-sack?
"I didn't get a great look at it. I was letting it go to John Brown. I knew that guy was chasing from behind me, but I was able to step up and buy some time. He did a great job and ran through the play. We just needed a little tiny piece of him and I think we get it off."
Do you feel like you run or scramble more when you play here?
"Their front seven is really good. Geno Atkins is arguably the best at his position. Carlos Dunlap is a monster — he deflects balls, he gets to the quarterback and pins his ears back. They don't rely on pressure by blitzing a lot; they rely on those guys to get to the passer."
Going forward, how do you find consistency?
"You have to keep your head up and believe what you're building around here. This is the NFL; nothing is promised, and we know that. We fought tonight. It wasn't pretty and we didn't come out with a win, but it's a long season. We have to keep our heads up and be positive. I think we have a good football team, and guys reacted well to what happened tonight. We just have to move on."
Is it a good sign that the game didn't slip away?
"We battled. We had a chance to win the football game. When you get down like that, that's all you can ask. Anything can happen. We've been in plenty of types of those games on both sides. We just didn't play well enough early. It's too good of a football team to let that happen."
Do you feel like the guys on your team lacked this experience before?
"We have a lot of guys that haven't had this circumstance with us specifically. But we've all been playing football for a long time. If you've been in the NFL for a long time, you've had your fair share of failures. The veterans have to just bounce back, and the rookies will follow suit."
How did you climb out of that deficit early on?
"You just need to get that first score, and then you start to feel a momentum coming back. The confidence comes back into the group. Once you cut (the lead) like that, you start to build toward something. We've been playing these types of games against this team for a while now. They've done it to us, we've done it do them. These games last a long time, and you have to play the full 60 minutes. You just have to make sure the guys are focused, because anything can happen. Look at Green Bay vs. Chicago last week; it could have been similar to that."
WR A.J. Green is a great player, but why do you think he was able to get three touchdowns?
"I have to watch the film to see what he was doing exactly. That's what he does. I'm not sure how many yards he had, but it seems like when they were in the red-zone, it was touchdown after touchdown."
Week 1 was great, but tonight was different. Where do you go from here?
"I think we're still in a good place. We'll look at the film and go from there."
How much did the loss of C.J. Mosley affect you?
"We were kind of just scrambling around when he went out. Some guys didn't even know he was out. It's kind of in-between. I really couldn't tell you."
What do you think the issue was tonight?
"I'm not going to get into it. I'll just say that they made more plays than we did. They got off to a fast start — we didn't. We put ourselves into a hole. We tried to climb back out but didn't make the plays we needed to. Give them credit. They played better than us and they deserved to win."
Last week you guys looked different ...
"This is the NFL. It's a week-to-week business, and everyone understands that. It's one game at a time. You can win by 40 one week and lose by 40 the next week. There's a lot of good players in the NFL, and they made more plays than us."
How tough is it for Joe Flacco?
"We didn't get off to a good start. That first quarter really hurt us. The good thing is that we were able to fight to get back into the game, but we didn't make plays in the third quarter to give us a chance. It is what it is. We're all pissed, but that's part of the game. We'll be alright."
After tonight, where do you think you guys stand?
"We're fine. It's a 16-game season. You're not going to play great every week, but you have to find ways to win, and we didn't do that tonight. The sky's not falling, but we have to correct some things. That's why we have practice and coaching. Everyone in this room is accountable. We will take a look at ourselves first and see what we can do better and get back to work."
Describe your first touchdown catch ...
"I just made a move at the line and Joe made a great throw. The DB never looked back, so I was able to focus on the ball."
What kept you guys motivated tonight?
"I can't speak for everyone, but seeing guys fighting and making plays to let us know it wasn't over — that's what kept me going."