Coach Lewis: "We’ve got to do better."

Coach Lewis Postgame Press Conference vs Chargers

Opening Statement:

“The decisions I made today didn’t work out for [us]. We didn’t get to make the break and it seemed like this-or-that decisions today. Put us in the situation whether it’s fourth down when they make a stop. The two-point conversion, so forth. We didn’t get to make the breaks. Our guys who settled down on defense did a better job. I though offensively we set out to run the football early in the game. Did a nice job. We were able to come back out in the second half and sustain it again. Again, [QB] Jeff [Driskel] continues to grow, the quarterback. Obviously, today, the margin of error and the opportunity — they make the big pass there in the start of the fourth quarter that gives them the field goal and makes a difference in the game there. We have the two penalties — the one on the goal line and later on, the one in the one minute that gives them the opportunity for the field goal — disappointing. We’ve got to do better. Young guys that have a lot of football ahead of them and they’ve just got to understand the situation and do it better.”

On the overturned touchdown:

“Well, with the way they changed the rule now for quarterbacks, whether he’s sliding, diving, whatever, when he first goes to begin it, that’s the down-side of that.”

On signs of progress:

“Well, the team needs to win. That’s the only progress that really counts, is winning. We’ve got to keep putting them into position to win. Obviously, when they’re in that position, they’ve got to make the plays to win the game, and keep grinding and finding a way to make plays to win the game. We’ve got guys playing big-time football, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing it all the time.”

On the decision to go for two in the first half:

“I just thought, you have a lot of time left. You have a lot of time. You can look at it either way. We felt good about the two-point play. Obviously, we didn’t get it. Those are the things we’ve got to do. It was fourth down and four inches basically. It’s aggressive, but it is four inches. We’ve got to be able to pick that up.”

On if failing to get two on that play is indicative of the season:

“No, I just think that in that point in the game, we needed to pick that up. That’s part of what we set out to do in this football game, is to handle the inside run and do a better job.”

On QB Jeff Driskel’s progression:

“It’s hard for me to say. Sometimes I have my back turned, but again I think the biggest thing is keep taking care of the football. That’s the thing. We’re constantly talking about [going] to the next down, continue to play within yourself and we’ll rate his progressions as we go. There were some where he was a little quick, and he had opportunity — even on the two-point play — he had the play, and he went away from it. So, those are things that over time he will do better, and he’s got to understand that. Again, he’s doing everything he can. This is great for him and his career. This is career-changing for him to continue to play the way he’s playing.”

On how much use he has for moral victories:

“None.”

On if moral victories mean anything considering what the team has been through:

“No. That’s not what this is about. This team, the fans — they deserve a win. We’ve got to keep pushing and grinding and get guys in position to make plays. To say [it’s] a moral victory for [WR] Tyler Boyd, that isn’t worth [anything] when he’s playing his tail off week in and week out, day in and day out. [RB] Joe Mixon, guys stepping up and playing on defense today. They did a great job. They put us in position with some things — the way they do things — we had to change our style, and I thought the guys did a great job of understanding the plan and changing our style after the touchdown on the screen play.”

On the defensive performance:

“After the first two drives, we settled down and played. That’s what you have to do. There is nothing that happened early in the football game that they hadn’t been through. They didn’t invent new plays. They only had 11 guys out there and we have to do a better job of understanding it and getting our job done. We have to go in and get ready for the pace of the game. For whatever reason, we have to get hit in the jaw before we respond. So I guess I have to take a bat into the locker room before the game and do something different, but it just takes us time to respond. Then to jump offsides at the end of the half, you can’t do that. Those are the things that are talked about all the time — understand the situation.”

On if he has ever given thought to not deferring to the second half:

“No, it’s the only way you can get two possessions. That’s really the only way that you get an opportunity at that. It worked out, if we just had the sack and get the ball and any momentum they may have had from stopping the two-point [conversion], we gain back. If there is something anything such as momentum at halftime, not that there is, but again, we have the opportunity to get off the field there with the sack and all 11 guys have to execute the plan all the time.”

On utilizing players in different roles:

“They came in in some substituted defenses, that’s all. It’s just next man up. It gives them an opportunity to get out there and do something. I think [Offensive Line Coach] Frank [Pollack] felt it was appropriate to have a couple roll-throughs in there at guard.”

On if their performance on defense after the first quarter and if that is the standard he has set for the team:

“That is how they should be able to play for four quarters. I thought corners had a tough duty. 13 [Chargers WR Keenan Allen] is a hell of a player. He did a nice job except for the over-route there later in the game. We did a good job trying to keep hands on him all day long and make it hard. We made them have to go to the second option. We made some plays, had some tipped balls early on, they just kept falling to the ground. We never got them in our hands. Again, these guys have worked hard. It’s a long trip out here and we wanted to come back with a W and we didn’t get it done.”

On how a team that played how they did in Cleveland turned around and played how they did today:

“Just doing your job. In the Browns game, there is nothing that was different. Just do your job. It’s a simple thing. In that case, experienced guys, young guys, it was a collective collapse in the first half of that game against the Browns. It’s just not right. Since then, they’ve settled down and figured it out. You have to coach them hard. We’ll continue to do that correct hard. We had a little bit of that in that first drive. You have to do your job. If you don’t do it, who is going to do it? I can’t come off the sideline and make the tackle. I want to, but they won’t let me. That’s the thing, we have to do it and do it right. Hopefully we have gotten it to where when we have a breakdown, they understand where it is. I think that makes a big difference.”

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