The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field for an AFC North Divisional matchup in Week 8.
Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis** Opening Statement: I'm proud of how the guys played with the grit, the grind and the whole thing to stay in that football game all day. We had to overcome ourselves a few times to still fight back and win the football game at the end. Getting the stop and the interception there was big. The first interception led to the field goal and put us up by six after we scored. The quarterback was resilient coming back and driving us down the field again and again. We had some miscues today obviously, but we just kept playing. We went back out there. When the defense needed to stand up, they stood up. When the offense needed to drive the field, they drove the field. The special teams did a fine job today. After our first punt, we were pretty consistent. I'm proud of this. Obviously it was a tough football game against a good team at their place. Now we're on to Cleveland.
Re: The interception by Shawn Williams:
That was a huge play in the game obviously. He did a great job of getting it before he went out of bounds. I'm proud of it.
What does this win say about Andy Dalton?
He anticipated what didn't happen. He let go of one he tried to get back. That's the way Andy has always been his entire career. He's going to forget that, come right back and go to the next drive. He has a great demeanor that way. That's one of his great traits.
Was your third-down inefficiency caused by the Steelers defense or your own offense?
Both. They do a good job. We have to do better. We had some third and too long sometimes. Then we had a couple third and shorts that we didn't make. We had a combination of both from what I remember.
Re: Vontaze Burfict being vocal and aggressive:
Yes. Now he puts me back to work on Sunday. It's big for him. It's an emotional day for him. It's good to get out there for him to start working on his conditioning.
Re: Amount of playing time for Burfict:
He probably played a little bit more with Rey Maualuga going out early. He did a good job of handling it. At first he said, "I can't do that," and then he's fighting me to go in. That's typical.
Re: Burfict's personality and resiliency:
He has the right personality to play this game. Part of his personality is also part of my coaching work. It goes two-fold.
Last week you said being 6-0 was miniscule. How do you feel about being 7-0 for the first time in franchise history?
It's good. I'm happy. My boss will tell me congratulations. I'll tell him congratulations. Then we'll move on and get ready for the Browns.
How big was Reggie Nelson's play in reference to his interception against the Steelers in 2012?
It was a big play. I don't think guys remember back that far. They're not history buffs out there playing, but thank you.
Re: Resiliency as the word to describe this team:
That's a big word. That's the word the coaches say. It's part of our deal. We knew we had to be like that. It's an NFL football game. It's a 60-minute game. That's what it is.
How rewarding was it for the defense to carry the team instead of the offense this week?
It does. They kind of settled down. We had some negative plays, but we were able to be even at the end. In the third quarter, holding them to a field goal was big. We needed that.
Re: Shutting down Antonio Brown:
Antonio is fine, fine player. I don't know that we shut him down. We were just fortunate enough to be able to win. We get to play these guys in a few weeks. We won today, and we'll get ready to play the Cleveland Browns.
Did the Steelers become a totally different team without Le'Veon Bell?
Bell's ability to be a receiver out of the backfield is as good as there is in the National Football League. So, they did lose a little bit of that dimension. I think running-wise Williams is a fine runner, which he proved over the first few weeks.
Can you put in perspective what it means to be 3.5 games up in the division?
Again, I can't because it's a new territory. Let's just keep on. We've done this one game at a time and one snap at a time. It's the process each week and trusting the process of what we do during the week. The guys have believed in it. It's gotten us here. This is again another ratification of it. This is what you do. This is why we do what we do. You get in those moments and we can play calm at the end of the game and expect guys to make plays. We made some interceptions on balls at the end of the game where we didn't get some in the first half that we should have gotten.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton**
Re: The first 57 minutes [of play] didn't look very good:
That's why you play four quarters—I said that a lot this year. The defense kept getting stops and we had chances to put it in there. Eventually we were going to score a touchdown and we did. We did enough to get it in there. The defense played great, this is a big team win.
e: On if he feels he repeats himself week after week because people aren't convinced on how good they are:
I think at the end of the day we have found ways to win in different ways. We've had to come back in games; we've done whatever it takes. That's just kind of our mentality. The focus is one game at a time; however, we can do it and we did that today.
Re: On if the win felt any better since it was a divisional win:
This win is important because of the division. Any time you get a win in the division it means more. It gives us another game. So, for us, we just have another division game this week. It's a short week so we have to prepare and get ready to go.
Re: On what he saw on the third and two shovel pass to Giovani Bernard:
He was obviously a check down. He wasn't my first read so my eyes were downfield and I felt like they were getting a little pushed. So I moved around and saw Gio—there wasn't anybody on him. So I had to give it to him, put Gio in the space and putting the ball in his hands is big. That was a big play. It got us down there and gave us a chance to score that touchdown.
Re: Getting Giovani Bernard the ball on the shovel pass:
There are different times where that's how it is. However you can get him the ball, he's done that a couple times against Pittsburgh taking check-downs and taking it to the house. As soon as I got it to him, I knew there was a chance he was going to do it again.
Do you work on things like that?
No. It's just kind of part of it. Just get it to him. It's such a short throw, shovel, however you want to look at it. It's easier than taking your arm all the way back to throw it to him.
Re: The Steelers defense on the Bernard play:
Their blitz packages and things that they were doing were really good. That one they kind of showed it. They ran out of different things. They didn't have anything left for Bernard. He did a good job of getting out and getting open.
Re: AJ Green's touchdown:
They tried to show one coverage and run out. There was enough room to throw it to him. He did a good job of catching it and getting north to the endzone. It's a play that you have to have at that point in the game. We had the opportunity, and we made it.
Re: Targeting AJ Green:
You try to get AJ involved as much as you can. When you have a player like he is, you find different ways to get him the ball. He made big plays for us. We kept trying to get it to him. He kept giving us looks where we could get it to him. He made plays.
Re: Steelers defense on AJ Green:
They were kind of playing soft on him, so I tried to get it out quick to him and let him go run. There's times where they came up on him and times where they hit him down the field a little bit. It's kind of just part of what their plan was to do.
I think they did a good job of getting pressure and making me move around. We were in some third-and-long situations. It makes it tough to pick up. It's not always going to be pretty. We found a way to win and that's all that matters.
Re: Resilient player:
I feel like it's the mentality that I have had. You can't get too high when things are going good and too low when things are going bad. We stayed the course of the game. Eventually, something was going to work and it did.
When you can't score touchdowns is this the most frustrated you've been with the offense as a collection?
Yeah, we had good field position, and then we would have a negative play. Anytime you do that, it hurts you and makes it tough. Their defense played very well. They were able to stop us on some third downs. We managed to kick field goals. Sometimes it pushed us out of field goal range.
Bengals WR A.J. Green
Re: Physical game:
Pittsburgh is a physical team, that's their history. We are the Bengals we are physical as well. We are going to keep punching until someone gets knocked out.
7-0, and two of those wins were road wins in the division. How big is that?
It's big. It has prepared us for something better. We are playing for something greater than just being 7-0. We have a long season ahead of us and we'll see what happens.
Bengals WR Marvin Jones
General Comment: Our goal is obviously clear. If we waver, if we go up or if we're two up or two down, it's not going to work out, but what we are doing is translating into wins. It is what it is. We can't be perfect all the time. When stuff like that happens, we have to join together and go for it.
Where does that come from?
All of us. Obviously the execution. We had some problems in the game but it was a hard fought game against a good opponent. We knew it was going to be a battle. It comes from execution and what we are doing. We do it during the week with the players that we have. We know that we have to go down and score. We did that at the end.
Re: Winning in Pittsburgh:You go back to the Ravens, Seahawks, how we went through adversity and then came back. We ended up doing what we had to do to win the game. It's just the same thing. In games like this, we have to start off early and pass and put points on the board. Sometimes it doesn't happen. Our ability to come up in the end and win the game says a lot about this team.