Are you feeling any better now that [you've had] your best performance of your professional career on prime time—getting your team right back in the playoff mix?
QB JAKE BROWNING: No. (Laughter) Yeah, big win, really needed that one. Fun to do it on Monday night against a really good Jacksonville team who will be in the playoff hunt going forward. Yeah, [it] felt good.
Q. Did you have a favorite moment in this game? I mean, you had a million great throws and so many big moments. Is there one that stands out to you among the rest?
JAKE BROWNING: Hmm, I think just the last drive, knowing that once they won the [coin] toss and got the ball, it was basically, 'All right, we need a field goal.' So, there were a couple third down throws I think were big there, but I don't know, you're just in the moment when it's all going on and I'm still in that mode. I don't totally even remember all the throws.
Q. There was a scene during the review, towards the end, that caught you kind of laughing a little bit in the huddle as you were pretty close into field goal range. Did it feel like that kind of relief or where you felt like you were enjoying yourself out there, finally letting yourself enjoy it?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I was joking with [WR] Ja'Marr [Chase], can you get the first down there? I don't know, just a little sarcasm back and forth. Yeah, it just felt like we were in rhythm. I think the stats kind of show that, and just overall top-to-bottom good offensive performance. So, a lot goes into that, establish the run, get aligned. The tight ends did a great job, [RB] Joe Mixon went really hard, [RB] Chase Brown came in and provided some spark, some explosive runs. And so, I just feel like I'm still kind of in that mode where I'm in the moment and not very reflective. But I definitely think it was a big difference.
Q. How big was it when the ball left your and and the touchdown to WR Ja'Marr Chase? Did you know as soon as the ball leaves your hand, Ja'Marr, one-on-one coverage, is this going to be good?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I think part of the reason we had that one-on-one coverage is because we ran the ball so well. I think if you don't establish the run early like that, we're not going to have one-on-ones with guys like Ja'Marr [Chase] and Tee [Higgins] on the outside. So, I did not see any of the throw. I threw it, got hit, and kind of just watched him run, and then I saw him turn around near the goal line and I was thinking, 'Why is he turning around?' He said it was because he was getting disrespectful. (Laughter)
Q. Two things: Head Coach Zac Taylor said you were much better on third down this week than last week. That last one to Tee Higgins, it looked like they blitzed you, could you walk us through that and maybe talk about how you handled the blitz differently?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, against the Steelers, we were in a lot of the five-minute protection, trying to help on the edges. Which makes a lot of sense with the two guys that Pittsburgh has. This week, a little bit more six- and seven-man protection and mixed it up a little bit. So, the difference between five- and six-man protection for a quarterback is huge, because you just send it one way. I know where my issues are. I feel like I played with better eyes because of that. I think that was my main take away from the Pittsburgh game, is I'm peeking over here to make sure I'm not hot and then I am trying to go through a read and deliver it on time, and my eyes were all over the place. So, that was kind of a big thing coming into this week it was just eye discipline.
Q. Jake, was today emotional for you?
JAKE BROWNING: Surprisingly, no. (Laughter) I don't know why, but not really.
Q. Is that a result of the confidence you've been talking about all year?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I mean, I don't really know why. I think partially because it came down to the wire and I feel like I play my best football when I'm just calm and not really thinking about anything outside of what is in my control—which is just operating on offense and staying calm and delivering the ball to our playmakers.
Q. The 8-yard completion to TB [Tyler Boyd] at the end of regulation that led to the field goal to put you guys up how important was to get something positive yards-wise and how much was that the thought process?
JAKE BROWNING: When are you referring to?
Q. TB [Tyler Boyd] on an 8-yard out route, got it down to about the 36 that allowed...
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I think it was like third and really long? So, any time you're in that situation you're kind of starting to think about the field goal and just trying to get it in range. Evan [McPherson] made some huge kicks, which was awesome. Yeah, that is kind of just – the coaches handle that a little bit more with the play call. Once they call a play that maybe we wouldn't normally run on third and 15, whatever it was, for me it's just the same read.
Q. How much did you want to show that this offense was still good enough to be able to put up points, put up yards even without QB Joe [Burrow] on the field?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I think after you put up ten points in your first start, you're kind of excited to get another crack at it. Feel like I had a better week. I kind of knew. I was able to reflect on going through a week of it. I can watch Joe [Burrow] or whoever I've been behind do it a million times, but it's different once it's you. I was able to reflect on what was my week like and what do I need to improve. It was the first time in a live pocket for a little while and first time in a regular season game for my whole career, so I learned a lot from the Pittsburgh game and was able to focus on some of those things throughout the week of practice. Yeah, I think the main thing is just having those reps and having another week of it. We were able to put up points.
Q. When do you think what you did tonight will hit you, or will it?
JAKE BROWNING: I don't know if it will. Maybe that's a post-season thing. But I mean, we've got I think two games in 12 days, so we've got to get moving quickly. You know, I haven't played a lot of football but it's not like I'm not used to winning. I've won a lot of games in my career. None of them have been in the NFL until today, which is obviously noteworthy, but I'm used to winning. I've won a lot of football games in my life.
Q. How important was it to get the ground game going and how valuable was that for you?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, it's huge. I think any time, you know, like the long one to Ja'Marr [Chase]. I think part of reason they're playing single high – I think this busted the coverage, but part of the reason they're playing single high is we're running the ball so well. So much opens up off that and makes my life so much easier when we're able to run the ball like that.
Q. On top of the run game, WR Tee Higgins' presences out there, although he on had three catches, did you notice a difference on how you were seeing the defense because Tee was out there?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, Tee [Higgins] is one of the best receivers in the NFL. When you're game planning for us you definitely have to figure out your plan on how you're going to handle him, as well as Ja'Marr [Chase], and then you have the run game and Tanner [Hudson] and there is so many different pieces that when you have someone like Tee, it does create more headaches. Great player.
Q. The fourth and three to Ja'Marr, third and 3, he drops it, which is pretty rare.
JAKE BROWNING: Yes.
Q. Can you walk us through that progression, what you saw?
JAKE BROWNING: Ja'Marr [Chase] could drop like five straight passes and I would keep throwing him the ball. I'm going to have bad throws; he's going to have drops. I'm not going to speak for him, but I would bet the reason he dropped it is he's probably thinking, 'I'm going to catch this and break both these tackles into a score.' I think the next play was the fourth down. We went right back to him and again, I thought he was going to score again. We've got a pretty resilient locker room, but you know who our guys are, and I'm going to continue to throw him the ball regardless of what happens.
Q. What did QB Joe Burrow say to you after the game?
JAKE BROWNING: Congrats. Joe [Burrow] has been great. Nice to have him on the sideline. It's nice to have him travel down to Jacksonville. He's probably got some other things he could do and are maybe more enjoyable for him, but he's coming here and being supportive, it's awesome.
Q. Who behind the scenes deserves some credit that helped you get on this road, Jake?
JAKE BROWNING: As far as?
Q. All the time, four plus years wondering if you would get a crack at this thing? When you look back at that, is there anyone who stands out?
JAKE BROWNING: Probably my girlfriend. It's been a long road, a lot of the moving, a lot of, ]Am I going to make a team? Am I going to make any money? Am I going to make – you know, just some of that real- life chaos and kind of what happens behind the scenes. She's been very supportive, and that's an
awesome to have, somebody very calm. That's why I always date somebody smarter than me.
Q. Was there something going on in the last drive in regulation? Couple of false starts.
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I think we just had some issues on the snap, you know, procedure and all that. But, I don't know. Glad he made the kick though.
Q. Earlier this week, you spoke about how quarterbacks, beginning of the season takes them a few weeks and start to hit a plateau I think is the word you used. You said you are not there yet, this was going to be your second start. Do you think there is more before you plateau?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, I think it definitely feels good to have solid performance under your belt, but I'm not planning on plateauing any time soon. I think I can continue to get better. I think there will be a lot of different looks thrown at me over next couple weeks. There is always a new challenge. Even the best of best quarterbacks that have been doing it forever, and there is always something new and some new game plan, new adversity or whatever it is. So, I'll be focused on continuing to improve, continuing to grow as a quarterback, and keep playing every week.
Q. Do you think this sets the standard for you and the team and the offense specifically going forward for what your potential is?
JAKE BROWNING: Yeah, yeah, I mean, on Wednesday or whatever day I do my press conference now, I said that it's never as good as you thought and never as bad as you thought. So, I'm sure there's going to be something where I'm watching it—and usually it has to do with how the game went. When you win, you think you're the greatest player, but then you watch the tape and you're like, 'Ahh.' There will be something, nobody plays a perfect game. So, you know, something on a short week to get ready for Indianapolis, and but it does feel good to have a solid performance under the belt.
Q. What are you going to do with the game ball?
JAKE BROWNING: With the game ball? I don't know. Hopefully not lose it. I struggle with memorabilia because I always lose it. So, I've got to figure out something. Probably where my girlfriend comes in again.