A handful of players shouldered the blame after the Bengals’ first loss of the season Monday night, but none was more vocal about it than Adam “Pacman” Jones.
Wide receiver A.J. Green faulted himself for fumbling what would have been a fourth-down conversion in the final minute of the Bengals’ 10-6 loss to Houston. Tight end Tyler Eifert blamed himself for three drops.
But, Jones went as far as calling the media to his locker post-game to accept responsibility — and express his anger with himself — for allowing the game-winning touchdown. The Bengals right cornerback was in tight coverage on DeAndre Hopkins when T.J. Yates threw a deep ball to the sideline in the end zone, and Hopkins made a spectacular, left-handed catch to put the Texans up 10-6 with 14:20 left.
“Our defense played great besides me,” Jones said. “I’ve got to make that (bleeping) play. … I’m one of the captains on the team, and when my number is called, No. 24 needs to make a play. I hold everyone in here accountable and everyone knows that. And, when my number is called, I’ve got to make the play, point blank. Today, I didn’t make the play that could have potentially won us the game. If I make that play right there, they probably get a field goal and we go to overtime. It is what it is. I have to look at it, but right now I’m pissed. I should have (bleeping) pushed him out.”
The catch was on Hopkins’ weak side, but Jones said he didn’t care how good of a play it was.
“I’ve got to make the play,” Jones said. “Put that in the blogs. Put the game on me.”
The Texans converted two third-and-long plays on the drive, both on 15-yard passes to tight end Ryan Griffin. The touchdown came on second and 10 from the Cincinnati 22-yard line after the second third-down conversion.
Jones said he didn’t expect Hopkins to make the catch, but that shouldn’t have stopped him from preventing the touchdown. Hopkins was held without a catch in the first half but finished with five catches for 57 yards. He was targeted 11 times.
“I was very shocked, but I still could have pushed him out,” Jones said. “He played good. The routes they did catch, it was a cut-split, you couldn’t press him, five yards out, and the one he did was out and up and he came back to, but those plays don’t beat you in games. The deep balls beat you. I need to make that play.”
Houston coach Bill O’Brien said the Texans have been working on that play in practice, and whether it’s Yates or starter Brian Hoyer – who exited at the start of the drive to be evaluated for a concussion – the coaches tell their quarterback to give Hopkins a chance to make a play, which Yates did.
Eventually, later in his post-game question-and-answer session with media, Jones gave a little more credit to Hopkins.
“The bad part about it is, I know the kid,” Jones said. “He’s in Atlanta in the offseason. He’s a good kid. When he caught the ball, he said, ‘Yes, I did it!” He was happy. I tip my hat off to him.”
Jones said the play will “haunt” him until the next win, but he won’t let it stop him from bouncing back.
“I’m not going to get down over one play,” Jones said. “I’ve worked too hard and played tremendously good football. I was in great position. I just have to make that play. Nine times out of 10, I make that play. Today, I guess they had a rabbit tail in their pocket.”