On putting the Bengals away and not letting it come down to the final minutes of play…
I’m just proud of our defense and special teams for playing so well and lifting up the offense today,
because we weren’t at our best and I was pretty much the reason for that. I made some poor reads, some
poor throws and a couple of bad decisions. To get a win when your quarterback doesn’t play that well,
means we have a pretty good team and I’m really proud of the way they helped us out. We made throws
and plays when we needed to on offense, but it just wasn’t our sharpest night. It’s frustrating, but at the
end of the day, keeping things in perspective, we’re 9-2 and had a great outing today from our defense
and special teams so we’re really happy.
On Brad Smith’s rushing touchdown…
We came out, first play of the second half, with a play-action pass and Santonio (Holmes) did a great job
coming back for the ball and it set us up after the big first down to have a really big play. (Brian Schottenheimer) made a great call on the end-around and Brad (Smith) did the rest. There was a great block from Dustin Keller and a big block from Braylon (Edwards). Brad Smith, the guy is pretty special, whether he lines up as the quarterback and throws it or runs the option or (handles) kick-returns and we’re lucky to have him.
On whether he will allow himself any time to enjoy today’s win with New England on the horizon…
I’m pretty ready to get this game over with. I know some of the other guys might not be, but I’d like to
watch the film maybe tonight. There’s a lot of room for me to improve, especially after tonight. It wasn’t
my best outing, by far. I just took a step in the wrong direction. It’s not a good thing and I need to get a lot
better down the stretch.
On Brad Smith’s two big plays…
He’s an electric player. He really provided a spark for our team. When our offense was sputtering and I
wasn’t playing well, Brad Smith comes in and does a great job for us with the return and the end-around.
He really carried us on offense and that was big. We needed it and it’s the ultimate team sport, so we’re
On getting ready for New England…
I can’t wait to get on the field again because this was a bad outing by me. I’m excited to get back out on
the field as soon as possible. I wish we were playing tomorrow.
On whether he believes having played in Foxboro before helps him this time around…
We’ve played well on the road. It’s going to be imperative for me not to make bad decisions like I did
today. Getting out on the edge when I scramble, I just need to know when the play’s dead and it was
definitely dead today. You do that against Tom Brady and you’re dead.
On the interception…
It was just a terrible decision. I just have to throw it away and sail it into the stands. Hit Fireman Ed. It was
a terrible job and a very selfish play.
On why he considered the interception a selfish play…
Because I had no regard for the ball. It was just a bad idea.
On being able to put a team away early…
It was thanks to our running game, thanks to our special teams and our defense. Our passing game
never really got off the ground today and I just didn’t play very well, but we won despite the play of our
quarterback and sometimes you have to take that. We’re 9-2 and, like coach says, we’ll never apologize
for winning. I have a lot of work to do and I’m excited for that.
On what the team’s biggest challenge is for the second half of the season…
Our biggest challenge is staying consistent. If we sputter early, we have to rebound quickly and not take it down to the wire. Who knows how many games you can win at the end like that. I think if anyone has a shot to win a close game at the end, it’s us.
On next week’s match-up with New England and what it means to put the team in this position...
It’s a monster and it’s huge for us to start 9-2. I know that’s one of the best starts for our franchise - to do
it in my second year as a quarterback (is big). Keeping things in perspective, I should be doing back-flips
in here. I should be thrilled and through the roof excited and I am. I honestly am. But as a competitor and
as someone who really cares about playing well for this team, it’s hard. I know I could be better. I know
we could have won this game going away handily without any turnovers. It’s really too bad, but this game coming up is a big one and it’s going to be imperative that I take care of the football and make very good
decisions against one of the best ball clubs around. If you make mistakes against those guys – if you
scramble around and throw a pick to a linebacker like I did today, against them – you’re in trouble.
Last year, we went up there and I had no regard for the ball and they ran away with it. It’s going to have
to be the complete opposite. Great footwork. Great reads. Disciplined play and a penalty, mistake-free
game. We’ll give them our best shot and it’s going to be a fun one.
On the Brad Smith touchdown on the end-around…
It was perfect. Dustin (Keller) made a huge block coming around, and then Braylon (Edwards) secured his guy just long enough. Brad did the rest. He just ran away from the coverage and the defense. It was set up really well. Our running game did a great job today. It was time for a misdirection play, and Brad took it the distance.
On what he attributes his passing performance…
It was a bad decision on the perimeter there, throwing the ball to Rey (Maualuga). I just had a couple bad throws. The reads were there, but the throws were just off. It just wasn’t a very good night.
On if he talked to Rey Maualuga after the game…
Yeah, I did. He was happy for me and bummed for his team. He played a pretty good game.
On him critiquing his performance…
I’m proud. There’s a lot to be said for that, but the guys know how I am. I’m pretty hard on myself and I need to be after a night like this. I need to be perfect. To demand what I want to demand out of these guys, to get where we want to go, the quarterback needs to be a lot better than tonight. But I’m very proud of our team. This is a Happy Thanksgiving for us. We are 9-2 and were in the two ball games that we lost. This is a good team. We are going to have to keep playing well and I’m going to have to play better.
On if the team is prepared for December and January…
I think we all want to peak at the right time and we did that last year. I think we are just waiting for that complete game, and that would have been nice to have tonight. The way our special teams played, especially the return game, the way our defense played in getting pressure on the quarterback and getting turnovers, it’s now the offense’s job to take that momentum and use it and capitalize on those big plays. I think that was a shortcoming today. On other days it’s been the offense having to pick up the other phases, and we’ve done it. But when all three phases play well, it’s going to be scary. That needs to happen these next few games, especially this next one on the road.
On if the long week will help the team…
I think it’s great. Some of the guys are nicked up a little bit. They fought through some injuries today and played really well. We’re ready for those days off. We need the guys to be smart, get some rest, see their families and come back recharged, ready to go.
On the biggest challenge against New England…
We just have to be sharp from an offensive standpoint. We have to play mistake-free, take care of the football, not have penalties and be efficient in the red zone and on third down. Defensively, they know they have their hands full. That’s a great quarterback as always. We need to apply pressure with the pass rush. In special teams, we have to be sharp. We have to make our field goals when we get our chances. Put us in a good position with our return game, and slow down their return game because it’s pretty good.
On which pass he would have taken back tonight…
The deep one to Braylon. He was open, running down the field. It could have been a monster night for him and I kind of ruined it for him.