Here are some highlights:
Vic Carucci: “Yesterday’s loss is disappointing based on the level of expectations. We picked (the Browns) to win because we thought that they would. Based off of the numbers and statistics, the Browns should have won that game. It goes to show you that numbers can be misleading. The players have to understand what is at stake this late in the season. They need to step up and play for what is at stake, and yesterday they didn’t. I think we all overplayed what the game was, we all thought it was a bigger game and we need to be realistic with the terms. At this point, the team doesn’t have the maturity to win a game like that. Mature teams understand what needs to get done this late in the season; you need to reach deeper for something else and these guys didn’t do that. It comes down to the fact that this is a young team and there are guys who just don’t understand yet what it takes.”
Nathan Zegura: “I am very disappointed in the outcome. The Browns gave this game away; they had this game and were in the driver’s seat. They just handed it over to the Bengals with poor execution, turnovers, special-teams gaffes and offense gaffes. It’s considered a failure in this league when you have to settle for field goals in the red zone. The Browns did more to beat themselves than the Bengals did. I firmly believe, though, that the arrow is still pointing up, even after this game. When you look at the landscape of this team, they have an opportunity to take a leap in to the playoffs next year. The most important thing to me is that they learn from this experience and they do it better next time.”
Je’Rod Cherry: “I’m disappointed, upset, even angry and mad. The Browns wasted a great opportunity yesterday. When a team lets you (potentially) get up, 21-0, and you only have six points to show for it, there’s an issue. I truly believe that had we of won, we would have been on our way to the playoffs. You have to question the guys in the locker room now.
Tom Withers: “Yesterday’s game was beyond bizarre. Had they got a touchdown on that first interception, we’d be looking at a different outcome today. Maybe we built this game up to be bigger than it really was. We have to remember that this is a young team who has to experience games like this for the first time. Maybe it’s a part of the natural growth and development of the team. The good thing about this week is that it’s Steelers week. The team needs all their focus on Sunday’s game and to move on from yesterday.”
Doug Dieken: “It comes down to making plays. We made some plays and got 13 points right away. Then, we just stopped making the plays and that is when (the Bengals) stepped up. We had the ball for 11 minutes in the third quarter and they scored 31 points. That’s unheard of. This is a very young team and the guys aren’t use to being in situations like that. This team is a much better team, but they have a long way to go. They need to focus on the Steelers and they can’t feel sorry for themselves. If you feel sorry for yourself, you’re going to have your teeth shoved down your throat. It’s going in the right direction, just not at the pace we want it to go. The players have to remember that if you want to get where you want to ultimately go, you’re going to go through even bigger games.”
Rob Chudzinski: “We got off to a good start yesterday, which was important. The guys had a great attitude coming in to the game; we know the focus was there. We just had too many critical errors in the second quarter. We’re taking it one game at a time and always have. I fully expect this team to bounce back, given how they have handled adversity in the past. This game gave us the opportunity to learn and grow and when we have that opportunity to play in that type of game again, we’ll be better.”
Tashaun Gipson: “It was a tough loss, seeing how we were in contention for first place in our division. The Bengals were able to make plays when it counted, especially in special teams. There’s a lot of stuff that everyone could have done better. Any time you have a defensive outcome like we did, it’s typically a win, but the score showed the outcome of the game. We have a good Steelers team coming in and we know they are hot; they have guys who are able to step up. We are going to go out there and put our best guys up against their best guys. I’m confident in what we are going to do; it’s going to be an exciting match on Sunday.”