Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis
"I'm very proud of our football team, and to be sitting here 4-0. We played a team today that obviously wanted to come in here and give us their best shot. They did a nice job. Our guys responded, adjusted and responded. We left some points out there — no question — on offense, and we need to do better. Interesting enough, I talked to the guys all week about expanding their roles, and we had some guys expand their roles today. They were ready to go and answer the bell. It was a great win for the team. We now have the opportunity to go to Jacksonville."
Can you explain 31 penalties in 2 homes games?
"It makes it difficult to win. We are hurting ourselves. We've got the two hand penalties in the kicking game, the flinches on offense and two offensive interference calls. But when we get clarification (on the interference penalties), it often turns out that our guys were not wrong. We have to be careful. We have to continue to coach harder and harder because we are hurting ourselves. We had third-and-one at the end of the game and had the chance to put the game away, but we flinched there. It was not Levi (Jones) as much as it was my fault as a coach."
Can you give an updated status on S Madieu Williams?
"Madieu will probably go into the next week as questionable. I would imagine Richie Braham will be questionable. Larry Moore, chances are, will be out from what I understand."
To see G Eric Steinbach go in and hang tough at center…
"I told the guys to expand their roles this week, and they sure did."
Don't you need C Rich Braham? Isn't he very important?
"We really feel comfortable with Eric Ghiaciuc. Hopefully Richie can play, but if not, Ghiaciuc is ready to go. We have him on the back burner a little bit. The only reason he isn't suiting up is because Larry (Moore) can play both spots. Now will be his time. This is why we drafted him. It's time to go play."
So he'll be your guy next week?
"Chances are he'd be our guy if Richie can't go."
How did it feel to watch your team go backward?
"It happens in football. They had the ball on our side of the 50 in the start of the fourth quarter, and they went backwards."
The last couple of weeks, the story was interceptions. Today, it was sacks…
"You never can tell how the script gets written. You just keep playing."
How big was LB Odell Thurman's sack on QB David Carr?
"It was a big sack. It was a big field position play, and David followed it up with a sack the next play."
Bengals QB Carson Palmer
Not every victory is going to be pretty...
"No, definitely not. It started off ugly and it ended ugly, but in this league you need to be happy with a win. The main thing I am most proud of is the way we hung together as a team. Special teams played great. Defense won the game for us again. A huge key in the game was we lose our first two centers, (Eric) Steinbach comes in, hasn't played any center, and Scott Kooistra goes from playing left tackle to left guard. The biggest thing was the way those guys communicated. Willie (Anderson) and Bobbie (Williams) — they picked up the leadership — Levi (Jones) ... everybody was talking and working together. When you have five guys and only two of them are playing their right positions, everybody else is bouncing around. When you lose a guy like Richie (Braham), he leads that offensive line. He's making all the calls, calling out protections, pointing everything out. And then you have three guys playing positions they're not used to, and one guy that never played center before. And Bobbie, Willie and Levi are just leading the charge, making all the calls, calling all the protections, getting the run game going, and communicating. It's a great team win, and the way the offensive line stepped up, gelled together, talked and communicated was a key to the game."
Can you talk about WR Chris Henry, with his size and big-play ability downfield, what he brought to the offense?
"He creates a mismatch. We've got Chad (Johnson) over there — and they like to double team him, which leaves Chris Henry one-on-one. He (Henry) can run by you, he can run slants — he can run a bunch of routes — and basically just create mismatches."
How frustrating was it to be on the shadow of their goal line, and then all of a sudden you're back with a 24-yard loss?
"That was tough. That's my fault. I need to just throw it away early and cut our losses and go for the three points. I was just trying to be too aggressive, and I hurt the team on that one. It was a dumb play by me. I need to look at it. I think I should of thrown the ball away early."
Talk about the big sacks from LBs Odell Thurman and David Pollack, and DE Justin Smith's sack fumble...
"When our defense isn't making plays turning the ball over and getting interceptions, they're making plays some other way. They're getting big stops on third down — getting huge losses. Our defense is just making plays, and they have a bunch of playmakers. We've drafting guys like David Pollack. He makes plays. Deltha O'Neill makes plays, Tory James makes plays, Odell Thurman ... Our defense just kept us in the game. It came down to who was going to turn the ball over. Whoever didn't turn the ball over was going to win. They turned it over, we got a great call and ended up with the win."
To not turn the ball over and roll up the amount of yards you did on offense, does it surprise you a little that you only had 16 points to show for it because of mistakes?
"Yes. We had some dumb mistakes. You're not always going to be perfect, and you're not always going to get a 25-point lead and jump up early. Things weren't working and clicking like they had been (lately) and it's frustrating. But we held together. We didn't start going different ways. When it got bad, we gelled together. The offensive line was talking, calling out, helping out Steinbach and Kooistra. When it's not going great and things aren't how they used to be, that's where you see where you are as a team. We stuck together and played well as a team."
Bengals WR Chad Johnson
Did you think from the start that it was going to be as sublime as it turned out to be?
"No. I had no idea. There are going to be games like this. Sometimes it's going to come down to the last series. There is usually a key play that is going to decide it."
Is it good to win a game like this?
"It is. There were things that happened out there, and we responded to the adversity, when things weren't going right. We played well — good enough to win. We did do some things that shot us in the foot, and it didn't have to be like this, but it happens."
They didn't give you the big play … ?
"They didn't give me anything. I had double, and a couple of times, triple coverage. It was ridiculous, the exotic coverages they had."