HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY
Initial comments …
“Today was obviously a very tough loss for our football team. I thought it was definitely a game of peaks and valleys, a lot of moments of adversity going through the start of the game and getting down 14-0. The way our defense responded, I really felt it picked our football team up generating takeaways, being able to come into halftime with the lead.”
“We had a great start there in the third quarter and then we had some momentum plays clearly go against us. I thought the two personal fouls on the two drives that resulted in touchdowns for Cincinnati were big momentum plays.
“Obviously the two takeaways from the Bengals, the interceptions, were big plays. But we still had a chance to go down in the final drive with a chance to win the game. We didn’t get that done. And I’m skipping over probably the biggest play of the game — the fourth-down call.
“Big plays, production are a big part of the NFL. It’s something we feel we do a pretty darn good job of, but we came out on the short end and, obviously, came out in the short end on the scoreboard. Those are my thoughts. With that, I’ll take your questions.”
How much adversity did you have to go through after losing RB James Starks, TE Jermichael Finley and LB Clay Matthews to injury?
“That’s the challenge of our game; you have to be able to adjust on the sidelines. Losing Jermichael early like that, he was a featured player today. So you adjust. I thought Ryan Taylor did some good things. I thought Andrew Quarless started slow, but he did some good things. But it affects your rhythm. The ultimately that’s probably affected the most by that is our quarterback.
“Johnathan Franklin came in when James got hurt right before halftime. I thought James was in a groove. We knew it was probably going to be tough sledding early against this defensive front. But we felt if we could sustain it for four quarters, we’d be able to have some more success. Johnathan came in and did a heck of a job. He obviously had the one (negative) play there on the fourth down. But it’s tough. It was definitely one of the most different games I’ve had in all my time.”
What was your thinking on going for it on fourth down?
“It was really on the mark. It was based on probability. You think it’s going to be close, so it was an inches play. We had a couple things going on. It was something that we talked about. Obviously we thought we could convert it. That’s why we called the play. We didn’t get it done. That’s the profession of play calling. When it works, it’s excellent execution by the players. When it doesn’t, it’s the play callers. I had confidence in Mason (Crosby) going in. We were inside the mark in our field goal. It had nothing to do with that. I just felt that we had a chance to convert and get another set of downs, and particularly have their defense on the field for another long drive.”
As a play caller, what thoughts went through your mind during the challenge of the spot of the football the play before fourth down?
“With the challenge, you obviously had plenty of time to think about it. I probably over thought it, because my initial thought was to kick the field goal. I’m paid to make those decisions. We they go wrong, I’m responsible.”
QB AARON RODGERS
Have you been in a game quite like this?
“It was a frustrating game. To spot them 14, score 30 in a row and then they scored 20 in a row to finish it. It’s disappointing; we feel like we gave the game away offensively. We had a lot of turnovers and I played poorly. Defense played well enough for us to win and we should have come out with a win.”
It’s not very often that you walk in here and say you didn’t play well enough for your team to win …
“Yes, it’s disappointing. I prepared to play well this week against a very good defense; they are very well coached. They had a good plan for us and knocked a lot of balls down. We ran the ball effectively but we weren’t throwing it as well as were the first couple of weeks, and that’s disappointing because we had some chances.”
How challenging is it to go in with a game plan and then you lose pieces? Finley, Starks …
“Yes, it’s tough to win a football game with two running backs. That limited our personnel groups and when James (Starks) went down, than Jonathan (Franklin) got hurt in the game and Jermichael (Finley) went down. But we had guys step up, Jonathan played a real good game for us, had some good runs, but we have to clean some things up. We turned the ball over way too many times to win.”
What happened on the two interceptions?
“I couldn’t tell on the first one if James (Jones) actually saw me, I was throwing to a spot that I thought he would be at. On the second one, I felt good about the ball, but Leon (Hall) made a good play.”
You appeared more frustrated than usual today. How would you describe your frustration?
“Yeah, I was frustrated; I didn’t play very well. I am competitive and I expect to play well every week and this week it didn’t happen and that’s frustrating. We couldn’t convert; we got in a rhythm in the third quarter and it looked like we were going to blow it open, but we turned the ball over twice. Then we turned the ball over again in the fourth quarter, and that’s why we lost.”
What happens when you and your coach get into a disagreement? How do you get past it for the day?
“We are both passionate about the game and competitive. We want to win very badly. I went over and talked to him after that and we got on the same page. We needed to talk, we did and we moved on.”
Was that discussion about a play call?
“I am going to leave that between Mike and I. We are both competitive and I think we were both frustrated all day that we couldn’t have some success in the red zone. We kicked away too many field goals and had too many turnovers.”
Can you take us through the sequence where you think Randall (Cobb) has the first down on third down and then the challenge and then all hell breaks loose?
“It was frustrating, I thought he had it. It would have been a big first down for us with about four and a half to go I think. We didn’t get it. We had a good play call on fourth and short and after I handed the ball off, I saw it come out. I should have made the tackle. After that they picked it up and scored.”
How has Randall Cobb come along in his year plus in the league?
“He is a great player and he will continue to get better the more reps he gets. He is tough to guard, he is tough athletic and he knows the game very well; has excellent second reactions. He is going to a big time player for this team for a long time.”
You were part of the playoff game at Arizona that was really crazy. Would you say this game was like that?
“That one was a lot more fun. We scored a lot of points and moved the ball well. This one, we scored a lot of points, but we didn’t move the ball very well for the most part. The defense played excellent today, they put us in a great position to put the game away on multiple occasions. Especially early in the game, converting those drives into touchdowns instead of field goals. One drive we got no points on after a sack and it’s disappointing. We will work on things; its only week three. But you have to win these types of games when you are coming down stretch and trying to make it into the playoffs.”
They batted down three balls on the last series. Were they doing anything different?
“I think they were looking to bat it down a little more, knowing we were going to be looking for some quick passes. They are smart defensive ends, they’ve played some years in this league. They are both 6-6 plus. We tried some different things, cutting them on some play, split the line at times. But they are good players.”
How did you come out of this physically? It looked like Michael Johnson got your knee one time. Did you make amends afterwards?
“Yeah, we made amends. He said he didn’t mean anything by it and I trust him. We have a week off and we have to get some guys healthy. We have to get Morgan (Burnett) back, John (Kuhn) if we can, Jermichael (Finley) hopefully he will be back. And James (Starks) and Eddie (Lacy), hopefully they will be back. We have some injuries, we need to get guys back and see what we can do at full strength.”
When the schedule came out and you saw you had a week four bye, you probably weren’t real happy. Has your opinion changed after what happened here?
“It is what it is. We are 1-2 right now.”
RB JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN
How frustrating was not being able to score on the final drive?
“It’s what we love. We’ve got to pass the ball, so it makes it tough to score when they knock down passes.”
Talk about the “next man up” mentality of the running backs corps.. …
“We’ve got some great offensive linemen. I’ve got to praise God and give the guys up front credit.”
Is it too easy to say that this was a learning experience?
“It’s life. You, me, everyone, we’re always learning. You’ve got to understand why certain things happen, then go from there. We’ve got a long season. Hopefully, I’ll be blessed with another opportunity. I’ve got to continue to work to and continue to praise in God.”
WR JAMES JONES
How tough was communication on offense early in the game?
“It wasn’t bad at all.”
Were you surprised that Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions today?
“The first interception was my fault. Hands down. I stopped on the route. I can never do that. I put the quarterback in a bad situation right there, giving him mixed reads. That was completely all me. I had a slant route. I’ve got to cross the defender’s face. I can’t do that (stop) to the quarterback. That was my fault. Overall, we did not play well on offense. We’ve got to find a way to get it done and help our defense. Our defense played well.”
Did you see anything strange on that play?
“No. I didn’t see anything strange. In the heat of the moment, you make mistakes sometimes. That was one of my mistakes. I didn’t cross the DB’s face. (Rodgers) was looking for me and threw it. The defender had cut me off and intercepted the ball.”
Touch on the running game that had James Starks rush for 55 and Johnathan Franklin gain 103 yards …
“We were running it well. Starks came in running it well; Franklin came in and made his mark with some big runs. We’re running it well. The running game got us in that rhythm early in the second half on some drives to score some points. We’ve got to continue to push it and run the ball a little bit more. Hopefully, it opens up the passing game.”
What held the Packers back in the red zone today?
“They’ve got a pretty good defense. You’ve got to take your hat off to them. They’ve got some good players over there. They’ve got a good defense. Obviously, we didn’t execute the way we wanted to, but you’ve got to give credit to them. They made some plays today. We weren’t out there on air playing against our selves.”
DT B.J. RAJI
Comment about today’s game …
“The first drive, give them credit. They had some different schemes for us and had some success. Obviously, if we did a better job after the fumble on the kickoff return and held them to three (points). They scored really easily at first. We’ve got to take blame for that. I was proud of how we came back in the first half and forced four turnovers, with the touchdown. Obviously, against a good team, we didn’t play well enough in the second half.”
LB CLAY MATTHEWS
Are you happy that the defense was able to force so many turnovers?
“Obviously, our goal is to force turnovers. We made some TFLs and lots of sacks. But, we gave up 34 points. They made some freak plays. We didn’t make the plays when we needed to and that cost us.”
How wild was this game?
“Crazy. It was wild with regard to the calls and the plays that happened. Ultimately, there were two very good, playoff-caliber teams out there today. They made more plays than us to win the ball game. That’s kind of where we are right now.”
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