Coach Marvin Lewis, though he wouldn't be too specific, said he saw his team revert to some bad habits during Sunday's 17-14 loss at Arizona.
"We were feeling pretty good,' Lewis said Monday. "We were playing for something, just like we were in the beginning. Sometimes, when people count you out a little bit, it's a little easier to play. When you get pressure back on you to play well, sometimes you revert back to the bad habits."
Lewis wants his defensive players to stay in their assigned areas and not jump around their blocks to chase plays that might cutback to them. He said the defense didn't do a good job against the Cardinals offense on third down (it converted 8-of-16 third downs). He also talked about the need for the offensive line to create more running room for tailbacks and the importance of blockers on kickoff and punt return teams to do a better job blocking. The Bengals were 3-of-10 on third down offensively. Jon Kitna threw two interceptions. And Kenny Watson and Rudi Johnson each muffed a kickoff return.
Asked if some of those areas fall in the category of learning how to win, Lewis said, "No question. I think that handling success is part of it. I don't think we should be too full of ourselves right now, but we really shouldn't have been before this game."
The Bengals are 3-5 after the loss and had the chance to become just the second Bengals team in the past 13 years to reach 4-4 at the midpoint of the season. No dice. Now it's time to prepare for a home game against the 3-5 Houston Texans.
"Obviously, we will be back to reality," Lewis said of preparation for the Houston game. "Reality is that you have to go to work. You have to work smart, you have to work hard and you have to go out and play the opponent in every phase."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "No question. I think that handling success is part of it. I don't think we should be too full of ourselves right now, but we really shouldn't have been before this game." -- Coach Marvin Lewis, when asked Monday if his team's troubles were a matter of learning to deal with success.