Buffalo Bills head coach REX RYAN
Initial comments ...
“Clearly we needed that one. Also, I knew it was going to be a dogfight, and I wasn’t so sure that it could come down to the last play of the game. That’s what it was. That team boasts a lot of talent. They are well-coached. I will say it’s a lot easier to play when there isn’t a penalty every other play. We kind of fixed that in the second half. We made a few adjustments, and I think we were competitive as heck the whole game. I feel fortunate to win the game, and we deserved it as well.”
The defense played really well in the second half. What changed?
“We made a couple of adjustments at half time. We tightened up a lot of things. With our guys, we had a good feel for it. We stopped fouling, and that was key for us.”
There were injuries to Robert Woods and LeSean McCoy. How are they?
“I’m not sure. Robert went out with the knee and didn’t come back, and McCoy with the thumb. They came and popped the thumb back in where he was, and I think it was the second play of the drive. He got hurt with the flex. I don’t know the extent of the injuries yet. Obviously those are some big ones.”
With that hit from Vontaze Burfict on LeSean McCoy, did you think there should have been a flag?
“I told the official what I thought, but it is what it is. He had a Buffalo helmet on.”
What did the official say?
Without LeSean McCoy and Robert Woods, the offense was in a grind there. Did you feel like the game plan had become compromised without those guys in there?
“We have a lot of good players who stepped up for us, especially with that big run and that big third down that set up the fourth-down call. But we kept grinding, and that’s what you need to do to play to the strength of our players, and they did a good job of it.”
Robert Woods is playing some of the best football of his career. You have to feel particularly bad about him ...
“I’m feeling bad for myself, but yeah probably for Robert too. He is playing great. He is a heck of a receiver. Now it’s a knee. It was the foot before. But man, it seems like we are a bit snake-bit this year. If we can get guys healthy, I mean I know we are a fresh team. It’ what we do. We train to be at our best at the end of the year. I think we are fresh as a football team, it just seems like these injuries just are hurting us.”
You clearly are deflated ...
“I feel deflated about the injuries. I know what this team can do. If we are healthy, we are going to be pretty tough. I feel great, as we desperately needed that win as we have given away some wins this year, and it feels good to be on this end of it. But we are going to see where we go from here. They are 100 percent committed to one another this year, and that’s a key point for them.”
What did you think of how Tyrod Taylor and Jonathan Williams and Mike Gillislee played?
“They gave everything they’ve got. This is what everybody on this team gives you, and that was good enough today. Hopefully we will be good enough going forward.”
Stephon Gilmore had two interceptions. Was that what you needed to see from him?
“(I’m) challenging him to be the player that I know he is and he has responded. These last few weeks, he has been as good as any corner in the league. And that’s what we need to do and that’s what type of play you need from him. We need (Ronald) Darby to step up and have him play well as well. Corey White is right there too. He and Darby don’t miss a beat. I thought our preparation throughout the week has been outstanding. We have to play with that type of confidence. We were smart, and we played well.”
What did you think of Tyrod Taylor's game?
“It’s kind of tough to know, as there were some tough plays. But he made some really good plays. He’s a special guy who made some really big plays for us.”
What was it like to have Marcell Dareus back in there?
“It was the last play of the game, and I looked at him and told him, ‘Get in there big guy.’ We needed to get the big dude going. He might not be 100 percent right now, but he’s healthy. I mean it’s tough. He ‘s got a hamstring (injury), and he’s got this and that. We need him to get healthy in that sort of shape, that football shape. Guys know he gets as good as it gets inside. And having that big guy in there for us was huge.”
What did you think of Kyle Williams?
“He’s amazing. I’m glad he’s been healthy all year. He’s what our Buffalo fans and community ... he represents what this team is all about.”
What was the deal with Dan Carpenter? Was it all about the marking?
“Man that was as deep as it could get, and he came through. The funny thing though is that he ran out there without any hesitation. I was debating what to do, and he answered that question. He was confident, and he really was the difference. Huge, huge kick for us.”
It looked like you took a couple pretty big shots and were a little banged up near the end of the game. How are you feeling physically?
“I’m good physically. When you have QB-driven runs and QB-driven plays, you take the risk of taking those types of shots. I can do a better job of getting down and protecting. Sometimes you’re just out there playing, and whatever it takes to get a first down or to move that chains, that’s what I’m for.”
How tough is it to get to half time and then LeSean McCoy and Robert Woods aren’t there?
“It’s definitely tough. The production those guys have had this season has definitely been big for us. It’s the nature of the game. Injuries happen, so we have to move forward. I wasn’t aware of Shady’s injury at first, but I knew Robert got hurt. I thought Shady was just out for a couple plays, fatigue wise. After a couple more plays, I realized he wasn’t with us. Hopefully we get those guys back on the field as soon as possible.”
It’s was one of those games where it looked like the defense stepped up for you — one of those gritty, low-scoring games ...
“For sure. We knew going into this game it was going to be a tough game. We didn’t know how many points we were going to score of course, but knew it was going to be a tough one and come down to a couple plays. The defense took a challenge on a very explosive offense, a team that has a bunch of playmakers. They went out there and they took the challenge head on, and they played very well. They were able to get us the ball back, and we were able to get points. We just have to get better on the offensive side of the red zone.”
Rex Ryan admitted it was great to win, but a little deflating with the injuries. Do you feel the same way?
“For sure. I don’t know the specifics of the injuries and how long guys are going to be out. Some of the guys that went down are definitely big for our team. You never want to see guys get injured. We have a bunch of playmakers on this team, and we’re just going to ask them to step up and take the challenge moving forward.”
What did you see with Percy Harvin today?
“He definitely wants the ball and definitely finding his groove. We were able to get him the ball a couple times in a couple specialty plays. He’s just got to continue to keep letting the game come to him and not force it.”
What did you think of Ryan Groy with his first game at center?
“He did a great job. The offensive line did a great job as far as blocking and with the communication. We didn’t fall off from our previous center ... Ryan Groy came in and played well.”
You had more yards in the second half after losing McCoy and Woods in the first half. Did you find things you could do?
“It’s good to spread the ball around. Mike (Gillislee) came in and ran the ball well, as well as Jonathan (Williams). Reggie (Bush) came in and made plays in the first half, and the big catch that (Brandon) Tate had. Guys are going out there and making plays. It’s my job to get them the ball. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but we got a win, and that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.”
You looked confident out there today ...
“My confidence is always high. This is the NFL. You play the best of the best. You’re never going to be perfect. Playing corner, you have to have a short memory. This last week I made sure to work hard on fundamentals and the little things I’ve had trouble with. It felt good.”
When did you know you were going to start today?
“It was down to the last second.”
What did you do to limit the big plays?
“We watched film. We knew when they wanted to take shots we needed to stay high and play top down to eliminate the deep ball.”
How much of a focus was eliminating the deep ball, after last week’s game?
“It was a big focus. Like I said, that’s why we worked on the fundamentals in practice.”
Even with the win today, Coach Ryan was a little deflated because of the injuries. Was there a feeling like that on defense?
“Yeah, it’s hard to come out with everyone feeling better and then seeing more guys get hurt. We’ll be all right. We have Sammie Watkins coming back next week and some other guys will come back to help us. We’ll be all right.”
What do you think about the secondary bouncing back?
“It’s great. It’s a look-at-me-now moment. They had gotten beat a few times earlier on, but now they showed up and grabbed some picks. It’s great to see that happen.”
What was the feeling when you saw Robert Woods go down?
“It was disappointing. Rob is one of the toughest guys I’ve been around. He played with an injured groin all year last year. It’s tough seeing a soldier go down, especially one that’s in your position.”
Did anyone think that Vontaze Burfict’s hit was dirty?
“I don’t want to speak too much on that. It’s football. It happened. I just want our soldiers to get back as quickly as possible.”
Does this win provide a sense of relief?
“This was a must win for us. That’s how we approached it. We knew it would come down to the very last minute. We knew it would be a dog fight.”
That last drive got a little close for comfort ...
“They’re a good team. We knew they’d drive. We were playing conservative, so obviously they were going to get plays. We were playing cover-two, so they were able to hit the check-down, and that’s what you give away with that defense. We were trying to take away the deep ball. We knew they’d have time — and they had a chance at the end — but you just have to make a play.”
It has been a rough couple of weeks for your unit. Do you feel redeemed with this win?
“Guys played well today. When it’s all said and done, you have to make plays. We play defensive back — you either make it, or you miss it. In a game of inches, over the last few weeks a lot of those balls went (the opponents’) way. Today the balls went our way. We just have to continue to stay together and grind it out.”
What was the difference in the second half?
“We knew what they were doing and we adjusted at half time and were able to make a lot of plays. When it’s all said and done, that’s what this game is about. They’re a good team and they’re going to make plays, which means we have to make adjustments to make more plays.”
When it was looking like the offense wasn’t going to score a lot of points, does it pump you up on defense?
“We want that. We want the opportunity to put it on our shoulders. We had the lead and we knew it was on us and that they needed a touchdown to beat us. As a defense, you can’t allow someone to score a touchdown and lose the game. It was on our shoulders and we’re glad we were able to go out there and get it done today.”
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Bengals head coach MARVIN LEWIS
Initial Comments ...
“It’s disappointing to not win that football game today. There were opportunities both on offense and defense to get more done. We left it out there — we had a turnover, not making plays out there defensively at times, make some wonderful stops defensively, but allowed the drive for a touchdown. We had penalties at the wrong time today, a couple penalties that hurt us. Obviously the screen there at the end. How we get holding on a screen, I don’t know. That’s a big, huge play in the game. On third downs defensively, we drop coverage, and that makes a huge difference. I’ll have a better idea when I watch the tape. I think the effort and the energy is there, (but) we’re not getting the execution enough to win the game in critical moments. It’s not one person, one group, one side. We spread it (around) and have lapses, or whatever it may be. That’s hurting us.”
How much was the A.J. Green injury a challenge both to the game plan and to try and get over the deflation of seeing your guy go off on a cart?
“I don’t know about the deflation part — I can’t speak to that — but I know the offense has to adjust and move forward.”
Do you have any kind of evaluation on A.J.? Can he be back next week?
“I don’t know when he can be back, but he has a hamstring injury. I can tell you that.”
You tried out kickers a few weeks ago. Where do you go from this point?
“Mike (Nugent) missed the PAT, the second one. The first one, the snap was high which threw everything off. Most of the time you make those, but today he didn’t. He did miss the second one. It’s too early for me to comment on that.”
Is the biggest concern with that it becomes a mental thing?
“He’s had a good couple weeks hitting the ball in practice but it just has to transfer to Sunday.”
Have you had a lower time in the last six years than right now?
“I don’t know that. I just know, with the amount of work and everything that everybody’s pouring into it, it’s disappointing for them. For us as coaches, it’s what we do. We’ve got to be resilient, we’ve got to bounce back. But I’ve got to get them to bounce back, and get prepared, and get through it, and move forward. You find a way to push it over the hump, feel good about it and go to the next week, but that’s not quite enough to get us over the hump with these things.”
Do you have any word on Dre Kirkpatrick?
“No, I don’t.”
Defensively, in the second half they kept giving your offense chances to take a lead or win the game ...
“We had opportunities, no question. It goes from one side to the other. Again, we settled down and gave up the field goal the first drive of the third quarter, but after that, other than the short field, just held them to the other field goal.”
How does A.J. Green’s injury on the second play change the entire game plan?
“You never want to lose a guy like that. He’s the best receiver in the league, so when you lose him, it hurts you. The next guy has to step up and get the job done.”
Is it reasonable to expect when A.J. goes down to target Tyler Eifert more than six times?
“It depends on what kind of coverages we’re getting to the plays that are being called.”
So they took him away?
“With the plays that were being called and the different things, it just wasn’t his day today.”
Were you looking to Boyd to step up in the first half?
“A little bit of both. Some of the things were designed with the looks we had. He was going to be the one getting the ball. He did a good job and made a great play on the touchdown. I thought he got into a good rhythm and was doing well.”
Can you put a finger on the fourth quarter struggles lately?
“At the end of the day, we just have to get it done. I don’t think there’s anything else to say about it. We have to find a way to be playing our best at that point in the game.”
What’s not translating over from practice to the games?
“We have to do our assignment, get our job done, and play with a lot of effort. For whatever reason, it hasn’t turned into wins for us. These guys are still fighting hard. There’s no lack of effort out there, so we have to find a way to get it fixed.”
Is it frustrating that no one can put a finger on what’s not going right?
“We have to realize where we’re at — what we’ve done isn’t good enough — and change it.”
Is it comforting to know that despite all this, the division is still within grasp?
“Yeah. You still look at the division and everything is still out in front of us. We have to find a way to play the best we can these next six weeks.”
Did you talk with Mike Nugent at all? How do you handle that?
“You have to move on to the next one. That’s the biggest thing. You have to forget what happened, and move on.”
What was the biggest challenge in that last drive?
“Yes. They were playing soft coverage and taking away things in the deeper zones. I kept dumping it off to try to get it down there.”
So the ‘Hail Mary’ was designed?
“It was a just a Hail Mary at that point.”
Were you surprised that they ended up rushing three and dropping seven, or four and seven? Or was that the circumstances of the game?
“That was their style going into it, but the game wasn’t featuring a lot of overload blitzes that they have done. It was more matchups and things like that.”
Do you have an idea of what went wrong on the two point-after attempts (PATs) you missed?
“I didn’t hit them good enough to make them today. On a windy day, you’ve got to be able to read it and hit it correctly — don’t hit the ball up there in the wind and give it a chance to not go between the uprights, and I did that on two very, very crucial moments.”
They looked like carbon copies of each other. Were there any adjustments you wish you would have made?
“No, there’s always going to be adjustments that you’re going to need to make. I feel like I’ve done good in the past thinking ‘OK, what did I do wrong here and how can I correct it?’ I just did a very poor job today; I’ve actually been doing a poor job of that all year in a few games. It just drives me crazy to have a poor performance that contributes to a loss. That’s the second time that’s happened this year: that I’ve contributed enormously to a loss. If I did what I was brought here to do, we’d have two less losses, in my opinion.
“These guys work incredibly hard to get the ball down the field, and when you can’t connect, it’s just one of those things where you’ve got to do a better job to keep your team in it. We should have been going for a field goal right there (at the end of the game). The offense did a great job, the defense did a great job, coaches did an excellent job setting us up and I don’t know how long it would have been, but we were in field goal range. It’s very difficult, contributing poorly to a loss.”
Clark Harris said the first miss was his fault, because of a poor snap ...
“He told me that afterwards, (too), but to be honest with you, it didn’t mess me up. That’s where Kevin (Huber) comes in (and) does a great job of getting the ball down. If the ball is down in the spot like it was, you still have to connect with that kick. So I can’t say that was a contribution to why I missed it.”
Was that in your mind on the next kick at all?
“No, not really. It’s not like I’m playing the ball outside the uprights, but it was definitely going left to right all pregame, so I was thinking to myself, ‘You aimed a little more right than normal,’ and it just kind of stayed out there. It was just one of those tough type of kicks where you have to be able to respond to it. Even if I hit that next one, we’re still in the game but missing two is, in my opinion, the reason why we lost today.”
It seems like you guys just haven’t been able to get things rolling consistently as a team the way you did last season ...
“We’ve just got to keep playing, man. We’re so used to winning. I still feel like everyone is giving 110 percent; we’re just coming up short. You’ve got to keep playing. There’s nothing else we can say or do about it. Keep your head down and keep working.”
Does it get tiresome talking about it?
“Hell, yeah. Who wants to lose? I already told you this — I’ve only had one losing year since I’ve been here. Yes, it’s tiring, it’s depressing, it’s nerve-wracking, whatever you want to call it. You come in, you work your butt off putting in countless hours, working as hard as you can on the game, so of course it’s frustrating.
“If it ain’t frustrating, I don’t know what to call it. It’s just like when you go to work. However many hours you work, at the end of the week, you want to get paid, right? Instead of using us as the paycheck, the games are the paycheck for us. It’s frustrating as hell.”
What’s missing this year?
“We’ve got a whole new team — what do you mean what’s missing? No Marvin (Jones) here, no Mohamed Sanu here, different line — we’ve got different pieces in different places.”
You had your first NFL touchdown today — take us through that play ...
“You know what? You’ve got one-on-one coverage, and I beat my guy and made the play. But I ain’t satisfied with what I’ve done. We wanted to get the win and that’s what we should have done. But we’re just going to come back next week even sharper than what we did.”
What was it like on the sidelines when you guys realized A.J. Green was out with a serious injury for the rest of the game?
“It was a big loss for us. I don’t know how serious it is, but we’ve got guys that can step up. We don’t have A.J. Green, but we have guys that can convert on third down. We’ve got guys that can get the job done even if we don’t have guys that can make that one big play. We’ve got guys that can make receptions and make plays.”
You got in the red zone twice and scored two TDs, but you couldn’t find any of that same rhythm or timing as an offense in the second half ...
“It’s tough. It’s hard. I don’t know why that happened. We’re too good for that — I know that much. But we’ve just got to come back and come in the film room and watch why we couldn’t execute four times in a row. That’s not a good look for us. We’ve got too many great guys on this team. We’re going to get back in the film room and look at it.”
Obviously there was some rough sledding out there today on offense — what caused that?
“It just seemed like we could never get our footing going. In the first half, we had some good drives, but in the second half, they kind of had a good adjustment, and a couple things we had done well in the first half, we weren’t able to do and didn’t get back to. We just didn’t convert any third downs. We were doing really well in the first half on third down and then in the second half, third down just kind of fell apart.”
Were you surprised they didn’t blitz as much?
“Once they realized A.J. was out of the game, a guy like (Bills Head Coach) Rex Ryan is too good, and he knows how to adjust things once something like that happens. He did a great job making it where these other guys are going to have to find ways to get open, and that was kind of the story there.”
How do you get out of that situation you guys found yourselves in in the second half?
“Honestly, I think you just try to find ways to execute better and figure out if someone can make a play and something big goes your way. You look at what they did in the second half and did they execute that well? No, but they ad-libbed plays out of the pocket, getting the ball to somebody, making someone miss ... really, we didn’t have much of that in the second half and we just didn’t have a big play.”
It seemed like you guys were a little bit winded in the second half ...
“No, not a bit winded. They’re a professional team as well. They put together a good game plan and they were executing it well. We have to play better and execute our defense better.”
Was there anything you didn’t expect them to do today?
“Everything they showed today we had seen all week in practice. It was execution. They have a really good quarterback with good backs and an offensive line. They have a really good team. We have to continue to build and go back to the drawing board and continue to work.”
You were able to disrupt QB Tyrod Taylor at least ...
“Yeah, and that’s what it’s all about especially as a defensive lineman. Getting the quarterback off his spot and not allowing that stuff.”
How difficult is it to play against Taylor, who is as athletic as he is?
“It’s very difficult. You have to pick your poison. He’s a fast guy who can move out of the pocket at any time, but also throw a dart.”
Is there a reason why the offense hasn’t been clicking?
“For a while we were able to bounce back and play well. We’ve got to do a better job of finishing drives and keeping our defense off the field. It’s one of those things we’ll be able to look at and figure out. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any particular reason.”
Was it frustrating to not be able to capitalize on the chances today?
“We had a ton of opportunities, but we didn’t do a good job of capitalizing. We didn’t do a good job of moving the ball and staying on the field. You can’t keep going three-and-out. At one point, we had one first down in the second half. That’s just not good enough. We’ve got to figure out what the problem is and correct it.”
It seemed like there was no rhythm in the second half ...
“We’ll have to go back and see what adjustments they made. We didn’t do a good job of executing in the second half. You can’t win football games like that. We kept our defense out there for the whole day with three-and-out after three-and-out. It’s hard to watch.”
Was this one of the more frustrating games of the year with all of the opportunities today?
“All season, it’s been mistake after mistake. You can’t win football games like that.”
What was the feeling with A.J. Green going out with an injury?
“We’ve been there before. It’s something that we’re used to, with guys being out before. It’s ‘next man up.’ We responded to that, and I’m pretty sure we scored on that drive. That’s what we do. We didn’t do enough of that when it came down to it.”
Was it disappointing to respond and get within a point and not continue that?
“It’s been our Achilles’ heel all season. We can’t sustain it enough to win games. We’ve had it in spurts and spots and we move the ball to score points, but it’s never enough. We have to find a way to make sure it is enough and give our defense a lead. I feel like our defense has been playing from behind all year with their backs against the wall. We have to do a better job of taking some pressure off of them and getting a lead, and try to control the tempo of the game. We haven’t done that at all this year.”
How big of a factor was losing A.J. on the second play of the game?
“It’s always a big factor. He’s our leader and the best playmaker we have. When you lose him, it definitely hurts the team. Like I said, guys have to step up and that’s what they did. The first drive we went down and scored. It wasn’t enough for the four quarters of the game. Definitely missing A.J. was a big piece, and hurt us a lot. We have to step up and make plays.”
Provided by the Cincinnati Bengals