How does it feel to start the game like you did?
“It feels good. You’re so focused on each play one at a time. You want to possess the ball and try to be efficient in everything you do, both running and passing. We set the tone and were able to take some minutes off the clock. It was a good way to establish our presence at the line of scrimmage. Then the defense got some turnovers, so we were able to add to it. Those were big plays.”
Was this the team’s most complete game?
“I think so. From start to finish, both sides of the ball, it was really executed well.”
Did the Bengals do anything that surprised you?
“I don’t think so. Every game has wrinkles, so you try to anticipate what they might do. They brought some pressure early and we were able to handle it. We moved the ball well and made some plays. It got out of hand in the third quarter.”
You passed Brett Favre for second place on the all-time touchdowns list. What does that mean to you?
“You play long enough, these things happen. I consider myself very blessed for the opportunity to play this game for as long as I have. I love this game, I love my teammates. Hopefully there’s more of that to come.”
What did you think of Keith Kirkwood making his debut?
“We are excited for him. He’s been a young guy who has impressed us all this season. He’s been biding his time, waiting for his opportunity. I thought he did a good job and has a lot to build on, and a lot of confidence going forward.”
It seems Dez Bryant ingratiated himself with the team in only a few days ...
“You can tell how excited he was to get back. That’s something he wanted for a while. For things to go the way they did, we all felt like he made an impression. Our guys felt his desire and passion for the game. That says a lot about our team, the way we embrace guys.”
Did you feel like everything you did out there ended up working?
“No. You run plays expecting to chip away. It’s not like you’re expecting them to bust through. You have to have the mentality where you earn every inch or yard. The run game for the most part today was solid. We would get four or five yards here and there, and it was methodical.”
You avoided the ‘trap game’ ...
“There are no trap games against a 5-3 opponent on the road. We felt like they’re a talented team, and we wanted to make sure we had our best performance. We value each win; they equal the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s AFC or NFC, a win is a win. This one is just as valuable as any other win.”
Is there anything more fun than a postgame celebration on the road?
“It’s a good time. We know how to have fun when it’s time to have fun.”
What’s it like to play behind this offensive line?
“They’re playing great. They’re so together. I love watching them go to work every day. I love their mentality, toughness, and leadership. The attention to detail with those guys is awesome. They’re all professionals and gel so well. We throw a lot on their plate, and they handle it. It’s a group effort in there, and it’s as good as any group in the NFL.”
Mark Ingram had a great game ...
“He was great all around. Everyone took advantage of their opportunities today.”
Was this as close to a perfect game as you’ve had?
“We’ll take that every time, especially when you get touchdowns. We have high expectations for ourselves and expect to come out and execute. We understand the importance of sustaining drives and taking care of the football. All of those elements are critical."
How hard is it to put together those long drives?
“It’s hard. It pays dividends as the game goes on though, because you wear a defense down. There’s just one missed tackle that can give you an opportunity for a big play. We say, ‘Don’t get bored with the completions, the four-yard runs. They result in big plays if we keep it up.”
The team seemed like it was paying tribute to Dez Bryant a couple times today ...
“The team embraced Dez. We were all excited to have the opportunity to play with him and see what he can do. It’s unfortunate, but his future is still bright. It says a lot about our guys, the way we embraced Dez.”