What had been suspected is now confirmed: That late-season winning streak saved Marvin Lewis' job.
Owner Mike Brown, who rarely speaks publicly during the year, explained as much to the team website Friday afternoon:
"We made some changes to do that. I respect that,” Brown said of the two wins that put the final record at 7-9. “I thought he took a team that was failing and turned it around the last couple of games. We didn’t get back quite to where I would like to see us, but we got back to a high enough level where we could play two good teams and beat them when they were on the spot to win.”
Lewis and the team were widely expected to part ways when they're 15th season together ended in early January.
Instead, Lewis signed a new two-year contract.
Brown, who has been part of the organization since his father Paul founded it in the late 1960s, explained to team writer Geoff Hobson he saw a need for change after two losing seasons but thought Lewis the man to oversee a roster that needs supplemented rather than rebuilt.
To that end, the staff under Lewis was overhauled, including the hiring of new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Late wins were key in owner’s decision