Initial comments …
“All right. As far as the injuries go, Pat (Mahomes) hurt his foot there at the end (of the game), but he’s going to be OK. (Today was) a hardfought game. The Bengals did a nice job. And coming down the stretch, we can’t turn the ball over, and you surely can’t miss a field goal. But there
were a lot of things in between that we could have done better, so we’ll go back and work on it and make sure that we learn from it, and we’ll try to
become a better team.”
Can you take us through your thoughts on the decision to kick the field goal as opposed to going for it on fourth-and-five in the fourth
“Yeah, (that was) very similar to what we’ve done before. That’s within (Harrison Butker’s) range. You (need to) get that combination of the
snap a little higher, and the kick a little stronger. You have to get that going, but it didn’t happen.”
You have to make that decision whether to go for it or kick a field goal in such split second. Can you take me through your thought
“If I don’t think he can make that, I’m not going to do it. It’s pretty simple. But I felt like he’s been in a good place, and we just have to execute
it better all the way around. It really shouldn’t come down to that too, but it did, (and) if we’re going to be a good football team, we’ve got to make
sure that … you always take care of those things.”
How would you assess trying to tackle the Bengals skill position players, and how much that impacted the outcome?
“I think we tackled as well as we had been. We need to do a better job with that. That’s something (where) we’ll look at the tape and get it
fixed. It’s the same way on the offensive side. We can block better — and do a lot of things on that side of the ball — too. Everybody’s got a little
piece of this. We’ve got to take care of that.”
Was there anything in particular you saw that led to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow having generally a lot of time to work with?
“Their offensive line at times did a good job. Other times, he was slippery, and he kind of worked his way through (and) made some plays
with his legs. I thought we had decent pressure on him throughout (the game).”
The third-down defense played a big dividend but overall it just wasn’t up to the standard I’m sure you’ve set. Would you agree?
“Yeah. We’ve got to do better there. We’ll go back and look at that. We had a third down on the offensive side, then we had a chance to fix (it)
there, and didn’t do a great job on that.”
There was a little bit of a slow start today. Anything you can put your finger on why this game started so slow?
“(They’re) a good football team (that we were) playing. There were things we put our finger on, because we were able to score after that, and
I thought we played a little better defensively.”
After the third-down play, it appeared Mahomes was limping off the field. Did that weigh into the decision to attempt the field goal in the
“No. I thought we had a chance to make the field goal. He’s OK. He’s all right.”
Is there anything to this particular team that you feel like you all may have issues matching up with them?
“This one came right down to the end. I think it’s (just) two good football teams playing each other. We’ve got to take care of business down
the stretch. (The) last couple of series, we’ve got to take care of business.”
How do you think the rookie cornerbacks played going up against Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd?
“They did a good job. They competed. And they’re going to be better for that. This game right here — they’ll be better for it. They can learn
from this. It’s very important that we do that as you know — as a team, and for those young guys.”
Your ankle or whatever it was is good?
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
On that fourth down when Harrison Butker came out on the field, I know you’re a competitor, so I’m guessing you wanted to stay out
“Yeah, I mean I’m ready for whatever coach decides. If we want to kick the field goal, I believe we have one of the best kickers in the league,
so I’m going to give them a chance to kick the field goal, and if coach wants to go for it, I believe we can make it happen as an offense. Whatever
coach decides — I know he’s been in these moments before — I’m going to trust in that. But we went for the field goal, and it didn’t go our way this
Did you try to do any persuasion in that moment?
“The persuasion is you just stay out there, and you hope that he calls it, and you get that fourth-down chance. We’d gone through a lot of
fourth downs throughout the game, and we were doing a good job. We had hard-fought ones, but we were converting them. But we paid (Harrison)
Butker, and we have one of the best kickers in the league, so we trust him in those moments. He’s made a lot of big kicks. This one didn’t go our
way, but if we’re in that moment again I trust that he’ll make it.”
What did you try to get across to Travis Kelce after the fumble? Did you have some words of encouragement for him?
“Yeah, I mean I just told him to continue to be himself. We’ve seen Travis do that many of times, and get all those extra yards — those hardfought yards in this league. Obviously they made a good play. They stripped the ball out right at the very end there. But I’m taking Travis fighting for
extra yards every time because that’s the type of competitor he is.”
Did you have to pick him up at all?
“No, I didn’t. I just tried to get the ball to him as quickly as possible after that. We trust in him, man. He’s a competitor. He’s the reason that
we play in these big games like this. We’re going to go down fighting, so we’re going to keep giving him chances to make plays.”
You haven’t been able to beat this team yet. What is it about them that makes them so tough?
“First off, they have a great quarterback, and a guy who’s won a lot of football games, even if that was in college, and now he’s won a lot of
football games in the NFL. He’s someone that competes to the very end too. They’ve got playmakers all over there, they’re well-coached, have a
good defense. At the end of the day, they’ve executed at a higher level in the critical situations. We started off slow, we got back in the game in the
flow of things, and we had a turnover late, and the missed kick. If you just try to take away those two things in the fourth quarter, and if you’re playing
good teams and you make those turnover on downs basically in the fourth quarter, those are the things that kind of bite you in the end.”
You’ve been successful against good teams throughout your whole career. What do you think they do on defense that’s been tough for
“Yeah, they just have a well put together team. You saw the offense, even though it has the playmakers, but they’ll take their time, and kind of
utilize the clock. Their defense changes up a lot of different coverages. They did a good job trying to take Travis (Kelce) away as much as possible,
and that’s why you saw a lot of the other guys making catches. I feel like we executed at a very high level, aside from that one three-and-out drive. It
wasn’t high enough because we didn’t win. We’ve just got to go back and look at the film, and just try to get better from this game.”
Can you go over your leap on the touchdown?
“Yeah, they played a good coverage. I was looking at JuJu (Smith-Schuster), and I didn’t think I could get it in there where he would get in the
end zone, and it’s fourth down so you have to try and go for it. I was running, and the only way to get it was going over the top, so I just tried to reach
it over and get in the end zone.”
Are you pretty confident you did get the ball over the goal line there?
“I knew it was close. Obviously, you don’t want to fumble any time. I know it’s fourth down and you’re going for it, but I just had to reach it
across. The ball came out, and I looked and saw they had kind of jumped on it, and I looked at the ref and he had said touchdown. About as
confident as you can be when you’re kind of flying in the air.”
It seemed like they mixed in a lot of three-man rushes. How do you feel you executed against that look?
“We definitely executed at a higher level than we did during the playoff game. I thought our guys did a great job of blocking there, they got us
that look at the very end. We wish we could’ve had a little more time, but at the same time, they had a really good game plan, and I thought we
executed at a high level during some points of the game. But if you’re going to beat a good football team then you have to execute at a high level
throughout the entire game.”
That’s obviously not the result you wanted. How would you assess how the they were able to get it done, especially on third down? Is it
“We’ve just got to see what we can correct with the play calls, the tackling. It’s the small stuff every time. They’re not doing anything special,
nothing that we haven’t seen before. There are those details that we talked about earlier in the week that we have to reckon and right.”
What is it about this team that has proven to be difficult, now for the third time?
“It’s part of the NFL, you know. They’re not doing anything we haven’t seen, like I said. It’s part of the game. You win some, you lose some.
Unfortunately, we’ve just lost the last three we’ve played against this team. We’ve got to bounce back. I’m sure we’ll see them again.”
How much were you trying to give your offense one more chance in the fourth quarter?
“Me personally, I try not to put it on our offense. If we do our part on defense, we know we’ll get chances on offense. The details are what we
need to correct. Every position.”
Is Joe Burrow difficult to bring down, or to track down in the pocket?
“No. He’s shifty — I will say that. He’s shifty. These quarterbacks nowadays, they’re protected so you have to be careful how you bring them
down. You have to be careful to make sure he’s not sliding. When he starts ducking down, with his head hidden behind his offensive line, it’s just
angles and being under control to bring him down.”
What are your thoughts on today’s game?
“We made some plays but didn’t make enough in the end. Credit to them, they made a few more plays than us.”
There were a lot of penalties early in the game. Did that impact the start?
“Some of those calls are questionable, but the game is played how the game is called and we have to play by the terms of how the referees
call it. Despite those calls, we still managed to make some plays. We just have to figure out a way to get two or three more of them, especially at the
end of the game to close them out.”
Was there anything on third down you had trouble stopping late in the game?
“Shoot, man, it was a tough game. They have some real firepower on that offense. They made a couple more plays than we did at the end of
the game. We had a really good game plan going in — we felt really good about it, really confident in it. But this one’s going to hurt. In the end I think
we’ll be better for it, especially using these feelings. It will be good for us to turn the chapter and get on to Denver.”
You faced them when you were with Houston but was it more difficult than you thought it would be the second time around with some of
the guys they have, like Ja’Marr Chase?
“We knew this was going to be a playoff atmosphere. It’s a rematch of the AFC Championship game and it lived up to it. It isn’t a good feeling
right now but the good news is we have a lot of football left to play in December, and I’m sure we’re going to see those guys again come January.”
Was there anything they did protection-wise that wasn’t shown on film?
“No. They did a lot of what we expected and they out-executed us today, and they won.”
On the third-and-11 late in the game, were you surprised to see a pass on that play?
“No. They needed to get a first down. We’ve got to prevent the first down and they made a hell of a play. They out-executed us.”
What was it like to come back and play in Cincinnati?
“They were booing me instead of cheering me. That’s the difference.”
You had a good game individually, but overall as a team what was the part of the game that you just couldn’t seem to pull out tonight?
“There are multiple things that happened throughout the game that we couldn’t capitalize on or could have done better. At the end of the day,
we just didn’t get it done and do what it took to win the game when it came down to it. We’ve got to live with that and bounce back. I’m pretty sure we
will like we always do. We’ve got to come together and finish out this last stretch of the season.”
You’ve been a part of all three of these games against Cincinnati. Do you feel like it’s something that they do in the fourth quarter or just
some miscommunication on your end?
“That’s a good football team. They’ve beaten us three times in a row, so they obviously have our number right now. Looking at it and what
we’re going through, a lot of times it will come down to just doing what it takes. A minor mistake here and there, and it will come back to cost us. You
can’t make mistakes against a team like that. You live and you learn and you bounce back. That’s the good thing about this team. We stick together
no matter good, bad or however it is.”
Is there one or two mistakes that come to mind when you talk about mistakes?
“It doesn’t really matter. A mistake is a mistake. It’s not on nobody but all of us collectively. We go through it together. It’s nobody’s fault.”
At the end with 3:19 remaining, did you want to stay on the field or go for the field goal? What was going through the offense’s head?
“I was thinking we didn’t get it so we’re probably going to kick the field goal. With Coach Reid, you kind of feel you’re going to stay out there
but we went to kick a field goal and came up short.”
How much of a motivator is this?
“We’re always motivated. This is a locker room of humble guys. This one stings. We’ve lost to this team three teams in a row. Everybody
knows what we’ve got to do.”
What was Andy Reid’s message after the game?
“Time’s like this is where we build. Come ready to work at practice on Monday and get rolling for next week.”
What were you seeing out there that allowed you to have some success?
“Just following the leaders and just doing my job to the best ability that I can, and one play at a time.”
Cincinnati did a lot of three-man in the beginning and then mixed in some four. What did you see out there with their defense that made
you stall out?
“It’s a good defense. We’ve just got to execute. Come ready to roll at practice Monday and clean some things up and get back at it.”