Marvin Lewis: "We had opportunities, but we didn’t take full advantage of them."

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks to his players during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.Photo: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Marvin Lewis Postgame Press Conference vs Ravens

(opening statement) “For us, I think the difference being getting an opportunity to make stops on third down, the conversions on offense, and stops on defense end up coming to that, literally at the end of the football game. We didn’t run the football as effective on offense as we have been. We didn’t do a very good job at that. I think that putting the ball in Andy [Dalton’s] hands and having to throw the ball way too much to make those conversions because we weren’t positive enough on first and second downs. The defense came up with turnovers and a stop on fourth down; and those are big plays. We had two penalties in the kicking game today that literally set us back. They are penalties we can’t do. They’re huge plays and huge field-position opportunities; and we have a return both times, and we get penalties that we can’t get. As we settled down on defense and began to play leverage, we did a much better job of attacking [Lamar Jackson]. [Jackson] runs a little differently and basically makes it 11-on-11 football. We just had to understand that and run for leverage and get him on the ground. A couple of throws he may have completed, we came out of coverage on, and he got the throw that set up the field goal before halftime. And then, later in the third quarter, they kept it going. That was just something we had to understand and do better.”

(on not being able to control Lamar Jackson) “It’s hard for me to say right now. I have to look at the tape. We just had to make sure we stayed sound in the gaps and so forth. A couple of times we had the first guy there and made the tackle. But when we started to run the leverage with him and not wait for him, then we got him on the ground. We can’t wait. We have to run and go take the leverage with him and get his legs down. It’s option football, and everybody has to stay sound in their responsibilities all the way through. That’s what matters. But, he has a big run on the quarterback draw. Probably the biggest run all day. We just had to get guys understanding the change at quarterback.”

(on communication with the defense) “Poor Hardy [Nickerson] had it tough early on, no doubt. He’s standing there looking at me, and I’m pushing the wrong button. After the first drive, it kind of settled down a little bit. But there were a couple of times, even with the timeouts, he’s looking at me, and I’m wondering why he’s looking at me.”

(on whether the defense played better today) “I thought they played their tails off. They played hard. That was important. I thought they played better and did a good job with assignments. I thought that was good, and the tape will show, but I thought that was much better. I thought we did a good job with understanding that, and when they came to the sideline, they understood the corrections that were made before they went back out there and handled it well. We made some revisions and so forth on the sideline and at halftime; and they came out and played them. That first drive in the third quarter, before Shawn [Williams] got the interception, it didn’t look like we played it very well. Then, we settled down because the first two runs went up there pretty good. Then, we settled down and understood what we were talking about. We continued to change up the front looks and did a good job with that as we went through the game.”

(on the difference in not having A.J. Green) “We’re wasting rhetoric. We have what we’ve got. We’ve got to make plays. I wish I could say I saw more of the offense today.”

(on defending against a quarterback that you have no film on) “It’s more the schematics of it and the guys understanding the difference is it ends up being 11-on-11 football. We have one guy where, generally, you have an extra guy. Today, it’s one-on-one football, and, if you’re supposed to keep leverage inside/outside, you’ve got keep leverage and get it done. That’s the difference with a running quarterback. That’s why the quarterbacks don’t run forever in the NFL. Sooner or later, they get hurt, and they don’t run the same. But, today, he could run, and he did a good job. We weren’t able to get him stopped enough. We stopped him some on third downs, which was good. Those are big plays in the game, but we just have to keep going. It’s a race now, and that’s what we’re here for. That’s the thing, it’s now a race to the finish. And we’ll be a better football team coming out of this than we were coming in. And that’s what’s exciting to me is for us to be a better football team. Now that they understand the grind together, they fought hard today. [M&T Bank] is a tough place to come and play. We know that. The offense fought hard and responded. We just didn’t get the kick through the upright. We just have to keep going. There’s no reason to look around anymore. Now, it’s right about us. Let’s go.”

(on taking encouragement) “Well, we have to learn something. Today, I thought they learned something about themselves. We had opportunities, but we didn’t take full advantage of them. We’ve got to take full advantage, but we learn. It’s easier to evaluate a little bit after I’ve seen it. But, for them, they’ve got to be excited. We know where we are, and now it’s a race to the finish. And they are in the same position we are. And now we’ve got to go.”

(on the biggest thing they learned) “You just have to keep fighting and playing until the game is over. So, let’s make plays. We know that we can do that, and we have guys who can do that. We’ll get some guys back and healthy, and that will make us better. And that will lift us up. But, right now, everybody that’s getting the opportunity to play now just keep playing better.”

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