"Hard fought. I said it last week and I will say it again this week – never easy, always fun when you win. We made it interesting at the end but fought through the situations. It was good to see offensively us do one of those things like we were trying to execute at the end of the game last week when you are taking a knee at the end of the game. Guys fought hard all week long and in the ball game. A lot of really good guys stepped up and made some really good difference-making plays. As usual, it is never going to be a perfect game. We are going to be working hard behind the scenes on cleaning up a few things – a couple of alignment things and a couple of technique things – but their effort and intensity is always good. I have said this before and I said this, seven, eight weeks, nine weeks, I do not know – there is a good young team in there. When they understand that and when they take ownership of that, then as coaches we pat them on the back, get out of the way and let them play, and that is what we did today. They played well."
On the importance of not finishing last in the AFC North for the first time in several years:
"That is very important to any prideful man that plays the profession. That is important. I did not know that so I appreciate you telling me that, too. A prideful competitor in professional sports, that is important. I will use that in the notes this week. That is good. It is important."
On WRs Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins coming to the defense QB Baker Mayfield after receiving a hit out of bounds:
"We have each other's back. We do that. As you guys have seen how we practice, in the heated up moments of practice, you are never by yourself when you get inside of the white lines with us. We are always as a team. We stay as a team. What we do every time that we can also is that we do not want to hurt the team. We do not want to have unnecessary extended plays or penalty yards and penalty things. We have some things to clean up there, too. To me, personally, that is important to see that we have each other's back, yes."
On if he noticed a different intensity with Mayfield today, referring to him asking the fans to show up in full force today:
"No, Baker is that way all of the time. You guys only get a chance to see a smidge of it. If that looked different to you all because of that, we see it every day. We see it in the practice settings and stuff. That is who you are and that is what you want at that position."
On Mayfield's completion percentage increasing significantly after the first quarter and if that was due to too much intensity and energy early in the game:
"I was looking at that same thing. It crossed my mind, but then, no. That is who he is. Did not have to say anything. I did not even say anything to him because sometimes when you bring up something like that to a prideful man, it makes it worse. The type of things that you want to see out of that are the corrections that he knows how to make. He is a good you ng man. He is a very good competitor. If I had to choose, I would much rather have him amped up than slow-mo. I would much rather have it that way."
On how today's game compared situationally to the 28-0 advantage in Week 12:
"The 28-0 down there has nothing to do with playing a game today. Everything about today and this game, every competition is different. Every game is different. Our guys did a good job of accepting how we had to play today, how we battled through some field position things and how we battled through some setbacks early in the game. You have to play and treat each game as a life of its own. Our guys understand that. We do that every day in practice. We try to simulate that every day in practice. We treat that as period by period. This period is the game. This period is the game. Our guys understand that."
On RB Nick Chubb's performance since becoming the starting RB:
"(Knock's on wood) I keep on saying that I do not want to jinx him. You see how strong he is on securing the football? I have been around a lot of guys that do not get that. Since he walked in the door, did not have to spend much time. Not only is he powerful and not only does he have good vision but just look at the instincts of protecting the ball. That is excellent."
On Chubb having at least one explosive each game:
"Every game, oh yeah. We believe that. We believe it is just a matter of when he is getting ready to pop one. When you have that style or that ability, you can't get frustrated knowing that it is going to come next. It is going to come next. Don't look back. Look forward. It is going to come next. He does a good job with that, and the staff does a good job with that, too. They really do a good job with keeping him in that mode."
On if the gameplan allowed DL Larry Ogunjobi and LB Genard Avery to have big games:
"No, a smile on my face – you can go ahead and print this because I love the defensive room – about time. That has been in them. They do that, and it is good to see all of a sudden boom, there is some significant plays. They have been wanting to do, too. Schematically, we do a lot of different things, and Cincinnati cooperated. Maybe they thought a little bit differently when we put them in a couple of those positions. I think the plan was really good and those guys executed well. They came through. They did a good job. Those are significant big plays right there that puts the play caller on the other side in a negative situation. It was good to see those guys take advantage of that."
On fans responding to Mayfield's challenge:
"I think it was outstanding, and it brought back memories to me. I am serious, I am thinking before the ball game this is how it was when I used to come up here in the late 80s and early 90s. That is what I thought, and I think it is really cool and it was evident. We talked about it really Thursday, Friday and then the last night's team's meetings. We talked quite a bit about that part of it. Let's give the fans something to rock and roll and cheer about. Our players were into it with them, and I think it was great to see the fans have a great Christmas. We talked about help giving them a gift with something like this, show our appreciation and play the way the Cleveland Browns are supposed to be playing."
On the reverse pass from WR Jarvis Landry:
"How about that? Anybody want to say they can make a better throw than that? I can't wait for Baker to tell him he thinks he can make a better throw than that. The only thing is I kept on thinking as soon as the play was over, I was like 'OK, when is the next one going to come?' He is going to be knocking on my door, knocking on (offensive coordinator) Freddie's (Kitchens) door to come up [with another passing play]. What a great athlete. We repped that quite a bit. We have been working that for weeks and weeks and weeks back in training camp all those types of things. The situation came up, we had a plan and it was an unbelievable throw. Did you see the positioning (WR Breshad) Perriman and how he gave ground to make that catch and created the space on a tight window throw? Excellent execution."
On shovel passes in the second half:
"Here is the deal, when you are seeing those types of plays, yes, we take a look at the body position and the body language of them. If their head is down, one of the things you will see us do – you will see all good teams do, not just us – they have it and they have been showing it. We repped and worked hard on after those types of games if you can get their head down and the line of scrimmage in a hurry and get on to the next play, make them think about the next play and Freddie and the guys did a good job of that. Baker and the guys did a good job with those things, and we have to prepare for those things defensively about that every week. Most teams show that and we have that in our arsenal, too."
On the CBS broadcast making a big deal of Mayfield staring down former Browns Head Coach and Bengals special assistant to head coach Hue Jackson following TE David Njoku's long reception:
"Oh., no (laughter). I am onto now the Ravens (laughter). I did not see it so that will be something I will chit chat next week about."
On if DB Denzel Ward sustained a concussion:
"Right now let me tell you this, I am not a doctor, but if I was a betting man, I would say he is in [concussion] protocol, yes. We will take a look at that, and they did mention that he is in the protocol so we will see how it is, yes."
"Also, you guys have a good Christmas. You guys do a good job, too. You are pushing hard. It has been an interesting year, and we have to finish this thing up strong. We have to get ready to go to Baltimore, and if any of you guys saw those guys play last night, we have to play well. We have to play well. Merry Christmas."