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Everything Jake Browning Had To Say After The Bengals Beat The Vikings



Can we get your general reactions to that game now that you've have a couple minutes to decompress?

        "I feel like I need a beer, but I'm right off of a cramping incident, so I'm probably going to pass on that. Yeah, that was a roller coaster. Obviously, the overtime was similar to Jacksonville, but in Jacksonville we were always kind of right even with them. This one, we got down and hadn't played great in the first half. Then, I threw the pick in the second half, and (then) rallied from there. So, there were some big-time plays being made. A couple of shout-outs ... First of all, to Drew Sample, who played with a stomach virus and was feeling terrible. We needed him really badly because these guys blitz a lot. and he's incredible in protection. Another one to Joe Mixon. No running back wants to sit there and just be in protection all day long, but that was the best chance to put up some points, and all that. He did a great job. Then, our O-line, starting with Ted Karras ... Just the communication. There were very few protection calls I even needed to make — I can't even talk, I'm so tired — because he directed the whole show. It was a very exotic scheme (the Vikings' defense), and so I just wanted to point out those three guys."

What is your reaction to Tee Higgins' second touchdown catch?

        "Yeah, I would have included him too, but I think everyone knows that one's obvious. I was hot, they brought a Ponzi pressure I believe, and I just had to drift it and give someone a chance with it. I always feel good just throwing the ball up to Tee. There were a couple of times this game where I just threw it up to him, and good things seemed to happen. We were really close on it a couple of times, and I'll just continue to keep throwing the ball up to him when those opportunities present themselves because he's very good at it."

So that was a blitz that you needed to get rid of it?

        "Yeah. I haven't watched the tape of anything, but it was a pressure where they're bringing more than we can block, and it beats whatever our protection call was. So, I was hot off of — I think it was Harrison Smith— and just drifted away and threw it up."

Can you take us through the play to Tyler Boyd for 44 yards in overtime?

        "They blitz a lot, they drop a lot. A lot was made about the scheme — it's a really good scheme, (and) that was part of it. They drop a lot of people, so I don't know if there were three or four rushing there, but I believe it was three, and so there's not a lot of timing plays that are open when they drop eight. So, Pitch (quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher) our quarterback coach had said that I'm going to need to move around and make some plays with my legs. Throughout the whole week, he had been saying that. So, that's where that came from. He (Tyler Boyd) did a good job of coming back at a friendly angle. I think Tee (Higgins) thought he was getting the ball as well, so they kind of crossed full speed. T.B. got the ball, and I think that's what spun him on the run — (that) half the DBs thought Tee was about to catch it, and the other half thought T.B. was doing it. Everybody just kind of ran into each other. I thought he was going to score, but then I was glad (he went down) for ball security. I think if that was the second quarter, and not the end of the game, on that situation, he probably would have scored."

How about the third-and-20 throw to Ja'Marr Chase?

        "I think that came open because we ran a similar play earlier in the game where I missed Charlie Jones down the middle. So, when you throw one of those, and they're playing a lot of two deep and having someone run the middle, once you throw one of those earlier in the game, you have to respect it later. So, I think that was a product of that."

What was it like out there? You were obviously calm, but it was very loud and things were going a mile a minute. What's going through your mind when all of that is happening? Was it as loud as you've ever heard it?

        "Yeah, it was loud. Our fans definitely had their one-more-drink and came to the game. So, you definitely felt it when the defense was on there, and just the energy of the stadium was really good. I'm kind of in a position where I just detach from that. I feel like the louder it gets, the quieter it gets just in my own head, I guess. But, I think that played a big factor. There were some false starts, delay of games. It was tough for them to communicate, and it was a fun atmosphere to play in."

Why do you think the offense was able to find rhythm at the end of the game, after spending three quarters not really finding rhythm?

        "Like I've said before, it's not as bad or as good as you think on tape. My first half was pretty bad I thought. So, at halftime, it was basically like, 'Alright, that was a bad first half. Just get it back together.' Then, I came out and threw a pick. I just basically told myself, 'OK, that was a bad decision. Just keep rallying.' I felt really good about our scheme. There was a lot made of the defensive scheme, which it's tough. It is a hard scheme to deal with, and they do a great job with so many different people in so many different positions presenting a lot of different looks. I guess another shout-out to (offensive coordinator) Brian Callahan. The first thing he told me when we came in the building on Tuesday was, 'I think you're going to throw for 500 yards.' I was like, 'OK, sounds good.' But that kind of set the tone for the week, 'OK, we're going to keep attacking. They're an attacking, blitzing defense, and don't let that get you into a shell. Keep attacking.' So, I think we were able to keep that mindset and finally put together some points."

You talked about Joe Mixon. You went into the pass protection, but he also made one of the plays of the game where he's stopped in the backfield on fourth-and-one and his second effort went for a touchdown ...

        "Joe Mixon's like a battering ram. I just feel like the more touches he gets, the more he kind of is our tone setter on offense. It starts with the O-line, but when he's able to ... When they put 11 guys on the line of scrimmage and in the box, and we're still able to run the ball ... There's going to be one that's going to be unblocked, and you just have to run him over. He's really good at that; he's a battering ram. Then also, to be able to hand off an inside zone and all the sudden he's bouncing and running around everybody. To have a running back that can do both is huge."

Did you see the defense's fourth-down stop in the overtime period, and what does that say about those guys that they literally didn't give up an inch on back-to-back plays?

        "I think one part of that was calling the timeout right before the third down. The first down, they tried to just get on the ball and snap it quickly, and we called a timeout which lets us get set and lets us really come off the ball too. It's impressive. It's third-and-one and fourth-and-inches with the game on the line. Everybody is going to talk about the Tyler Boyd throw and catch, but if they (Minnesota) get that, they're probably kicking a field goal and winning the game."

You've made it pretty clear that you try to stay even keeled. Earlier this week, you spoke about the Steelers loss, and said that because you were involved in that game, it hurt more than a typical loss has. On the flip side, does a comeback win in overtime feel even sweeter?

        "Yeah. I'm not going to sit here and say it's not a good feeling. It's much better than losing. I think the emotional roller coaster is part of the game, and part of that is just me staying even keel. There was definitely a little extra part (to this game). I remember getting cut there (Minnesota) the last time, and just being told, 'Hey, we might have a spot for you on the practice squad. Go to the hotel and wait.' So, I sat in the hotel for a couple of hours not knowing if I had a job or not, and just basically got a call from my agent. They didn't tell me. I had been there for two years. I've been cut my fair share of times, and that was probably the (crappiest) one. There was a little bit more (to this game) this week. I know I denied it, and there are some great people over there. It's completely different (now) — a completely different coaching staff and everything — and I want to emphasize that there are some incredible people over there, but that one (today's win) felt good. I think, right after we made the field goal to win the game, I screamed at a camera and said, 'They never should have cut me!'"

Did you know earlier in the week then that you were just going to play down those emotions until afterwards?

        "Yeah. You can't say that the whole week and then go lose. You kind of just wait until you win, and then don't look like an idiot."

As the starting quarterback of this team, you guys have won three straight. What's your confidence level leading this team into the playoffs?

        "High, but I think we're going to play an important game next week. We play the Steelers. I played terrible against them last time, so I'm pretty focused on that."

Tee Higgins talked about how it was time for him to be the alpha when Ja'Marr Chase went out. When Ja'Marr goes out and you're tasked with winning the game, what's going through your mind?

        "Ja'Marr (Chase) is one of best players and has been for a couple years, but sometimes that's just going to happen. It's a physical game; stuff happens. He made an incredible catch — I think on the play where he got hurt — he made the crazy third-and-long catch over the middle that we referenced earlier. Maybe Tee (Higgins) feels differently, but I feel like they're both alphas the entire time. That's a 1-A/1-B. I have a ton of comfort. Maybe Tee doesn't feel that way, but I throw it to him like he's going to be the alpha all the time. So, it didn't really change my mindset. Obviously, you want to have Ja'Marr out there, but Andrei (Iosivas) has done a lot of great stuff in practice. I have a ton of confidence. Really no matter who's out there, I'm going to throw to where the coverage tells me to throw, and it's on them to win. So, once you get outside of that mindset, that's when you start to make some bad decisions."

Given what you just said about the context of this game and what it means to you personally, how long will you savor this one as opposed to other wins?

        "It's nice to not be on a short week, so maybe a little bit longer. I'll probably go to dinner with my family — probably get that posted on Twitter again. Then, move on after that. I'll watch the film of it tomorrow and move on."

Your first game here when you signed on that practice squad was against this club and you beat them in overtime. Now today, you're the guy doing it ...

        "Yeah, it feels good to win. I'm not sure where to take that one."

You shook your head after the interception all the way back to the sideline. What were you thinking after you threw that?

        "It was a dumb throw."

Why was it a dumb throw?

        "Because I threw it right to the corner, but also because I just felt like — I usually do a good job of not pressing — and I felt like I pressed there. I was trying to make the play to get us back in and get us rolling when the guy underneath was open. So, I should have just thrown it there."

You just talked about your raw feelings when you found out you were cut by the Vikings. For Tee Higgins, given what he's gone through this year from an adversity standpoint this season, how much sweeter does it make it for him to make that kind of statement play in a really important game?

        "I'm a huge fan of Tee Higgins, whatever his situation is with contract stuff and all that. I've never been that guy. I've never been in that situation, but I've been the guy that you have personal stuff going on, or you're on a (practice) squad or you want a contract — everybody does. But I've never felt in the locker room that he's made it about that or anything like that. So, that speaks to his character. He's a really enjoyable guy to be around. So, I think anytime you have somebody like that — obviously, it's a fortunate situation where you're right on the cusp of that, but maybe you feel this close, and then it's not happening. That can mess with people, and I haven't felt like that has messed with him at all. He's had some unfortunate injuries, but he's made some incredible plays. I don't really care if he has some drops — if he makes crazy plays like that, I'll just keep throwing him the ball and good things are going to happen."