After the Cleveland Browns 23-20 loss in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Eric Mangini talked with the media in his weekly post-game press conference. Here are some highlights and notes, with the full transcript available for viewing here.
(On if the fourth down scramble was the last thing they expected Carson Palmer to do)- "We were in man-to-man coverage. There hadn’t really been a big scramble issue to date, especially with the injury that he’s had and the problems he’s had with that. You always want to keep your rush lanes and keep the integrity, just maybe got a lane too wide and the opening opened up. Guys were doing a good job down the field with the coverage and he was able to get the first down."
Reaction: There are many plays you can say "I'd like to have that back", and this is one of them. Considering Palmer's lack of mobility, I'm sure the last thing our defense expected was for him to take off on fourth down needing more than ten yards.The defense tried to collapse the pocket from the sides, presumably expecting Palmer to take a deep dropback.
It came down to being a heads up play by Palmer. Marvin Lewis after the game said that the Browns taking a timeout allowed him to reconsider his decision to punt in that situation, as he was ready to settle for the tie. You can't fault the Browns for taking a timeout though; I don't think teams should settle for a tie in most circumstances.
(On if he thought about going for it on fourth-and-one when it was tied 14-14)- "I did think about going for it at that point. I thought that we had a better shot there. We kind of lost a little bit on the third down play, it was third-and-inches. I think if it was fourth-and-inches we might have had a play in mind for that, but when we got knocked back a little bit, at that point go ahead and take the points."
Reaction: Our defense had done a great up until that point, and the field goal on fourth down wasn't an issue. We just need to improve upon converting that third-and-short in the first place.
(On if he thought about trying a long field goal at the end of regulation)- "With Billy (Cundiff), he has a nice leg. If it was Phil (Dawson), it may be a little bit different. That doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence [in Billy]. That field goal was a pretty low percentage. I would have liked to gotten a few more yards. If we had a play before and then take a shot at it, but weren’t able to do that."
Reaction: It sounds like we would have gone for the field goal with Phil Dawson available. Shucks! Still a good move to punt with Billy Cundiff as the kicker though.
(On why it took until today to get Mohamed Massaquoi involved in the game)- "We hadn’t really been doing very much effectively. We hadn’t really converted a lot of third downs and had the opportunities that we had. It wasn’t something that we were trying not to do, it just didn’t hit. It was good to see, really good to see. Brian (Robiskie) got his first action. I think he might have gotten a grab. All those guys, Josh (Cribbs), Mike Furrey, I thought they all played well."
Reaction: I don't think Brian Robiskie had a grab. I think I have to disagree when Mangini mentions that the effort to get Massaquoi involved didn't really change. It doesn't take a genious, or even a Man-genious, to know that Massaquoi saw much more playing time in place of Joshua Cribbs.
(On Derek Anderson’s goal-line interception)- "I think it just got away from him a little bit. When we challenged it, they didn’t have the television angle from the other way. I really thought the DB had trapped it, but there was no way to really confirm it. On the scoring plays, that’s why you take a chance at challenging it, but just didn’t have the other look. I think it just got a little bit away from him."
Reaction: This was the better of the two challenges by Mangini. I still don't understand that with so many cameramen at work how nobody could show an angle from the other side of Jonathan Joseph.
(On why he called a time out on defense right before the two minute warning in the first half)- "What we were trying to do is, in looking at it, I thought they were going to get the play off before the two minute warning. We didn’t have people in the right spots at that point for a fourth down play. I thought about letting it run to the two minute warning, but the last thing I wanted to do was not call it, have them snap it and have a guy miss a line. You never want to waste a time out. I probably would do it again if it came up, just because we weren’t in the right spots. It was too critical a point in the game. I didn’t want to leave it to chance that maybe he’s not going to call it. We did it when we did it, trying to get people in the right spots. I’ll have to take a look at what they were going to do."
Reaction: You never know -- maybe if that timeout isn't called, maybe the Bengals don't score the touchdown. Our defense did look confused though, and I expected Palmer to do a quick snap to take advantage of it. The timeouts throughout the game might have seemed questionable for the Browns, but in the end they really did not cost us.
(On if it is clear that Anderson gives the team the best chance to win)- "I was really happy with him today. I think it showed our ability to, as we play together and mix the run and pass and do some different things, move the ball effectively. Cincinnati’s been playing really good defense throughout the whole course of the season. I was pleased with him."
Reason: I guess it's 'so long (for this season), Brady Quinn'.
(On the interception) – "Steve (Heiden) and I just misread it. I was expecting him to do something different and the corner came off of Braylon and made a good play. It was a low ball, I was trying to put it in low for Steve to make the play. We just didn’t read it right and we weren’t on the same page, but it is football. That wasn’t the only thing that cost us the game. There are a lot of different things that we could have done better when we got the ball in overtime."
(On how playing safety helps his offense)- "It helps out tremendously. When you go over there and understand what you are doing on defense, especially reading coverages, it helps out."
(On his personal foul sparking the team)- "If you want to take it that way, that’s a good way to take it and I’m sure everyone will love that. For me, it was that I saw them doing a little extra after the whistle on our running back Jerome Harrison. I’m not a fan of that. As an offense, we take care of one another. So I was just trying to take care of my guy, which led to some other things and that’s a personal foul, but I’m not going to stand for the extra after the whistle. I was just protecting my guy after the whistle."
(On QB Derek Anderson’s performance and the energy of the team) – "I think he played solid. An alternative is always good and he proved that he can lead a football team. I’m proud of this football team. We fought until the end. In a city like this that works hard – I don’t think that any other city works this hard – the blue collar workers in Cleveland expect the football team to work as hard as we did. Even though we lost, I think the fans are still proud of us."
More individual quotes from the players can be read here.