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What Zac Taylor, Joe Burrow And The Bengals Said After The 41-17 Win Over The Ravens

211024-Taylor-Zac_sideline (AP)


Head Coach Zac Taylor

(on quite a different result from last year) "It's a different team. We're allowed to build and improve, and we just have a different mentality right now. We've done a lot of different things to get to this position, and I've given out a lot of tough speeches over time about great things to come and [to] keep working. And you hope and pray that the team believes in that. That's the foundation of what we're building, and this is the result. This is their moment. Everything we've talked about, we've earned. We're starting to earn respect, but we still have a long way to go. Just winning one road game against a divisional opponent, that's what you have to do if you want to compete in this league. We have a long way to go, but I'm really proud of the collective team effort. This was a complete game today by all three phases, and that's what we need to come on the road to Baltimore with and beat them."

(on facing adversity in the middle of the game) "Baltimore is a dangerous team, and so you know they're going to have some big plays. You stop what you can stop, but they're going to get explosive plays. That's what they do. You just have to be able to respond immediately after that. I don't think anybody was phased when they got that touchdown coming out of the second half. We knew it was going to be that type of game. They were going to have their moments where they were going to score and make big plays. And you just have to respond. And we did. [We] didn't give up another point after that."

(on their slow start) "We had some trouble with second-and-1s and third-and-1s. We felt like we were having some success, but we just couldn't get that first first down, and it set us back. But we didn't go into halftime feeling like we were struggling. We saw some opportunities over there in the drop-back passing game. And we were starting to get some rhythm. We had a lot more patience with some of our blitz pick- ups. The first drive, [Joe Burrow] got hit, and there were some communications issues we had to iron out. [We had to deal with] their complex blitz packages, they're very good at it. They get free runners coming in on quarterbacks for years. But our guys, we felt did a good job of coming to the sideline and communicating, fixing that, and keeping some tough hits off Joe [Burrow]."

(on whether this was the most in rhythm he has seen his offense this year) "I feel that, in the second half of games this year, we've had good rhythm throughout. Look, I wish we scored 28 points in the first half to really get rolling, but we didn't. But it's a long game. Our guys, going into halftime, just had so much confidence. They've done it so many times that we feel we're going to come right out, score and get that momentum. And part of it is that run game. We've got physical backs. They wear people down. Sometimes, you don't always have the big, explosive plays. But, over time, we know what kind of an effect it has. In the past, we haven't been able to use it because we really haven't had a lead. But, now, you see that payoff where you get into that four-minute mode, and you get big chunks of yardage, and touchdowns come from that. Joe [Mixon] and Samaje [Perine] are big, physical backs, and they're hard to bring down. They wear people out. So, it was good we were able to put ourselves in position, finally, to let that stuff pay off for us."

(on C.J. Uzomah's role in the offense) "The first play was designed for C.J. We just had a ton of confidence in him. C.J. started off last year with a bang in his first two games before he got hurt, and it was hard to see in training camp how he was responding to that physically. But, he's found his spot. Joe [Burrow] has a lot of confidence in him, and he always makes plays when his number is called. He broke a bunch of tackles on both of his touchdowns. So, it was good to see C.J. do that. And it was 'national tight end day' today. So, that kind plays into it as well." 

(on how big of a difference maker Ja'Marr Chase is) "I mean, he broke a snap route on third down and scored a touchdown. He's dynamic; he's smart; he just makes plays with the ball in his hand. But, part of it is we have [Tyler Boyd] and Tee [Higgins]. So, teams just can't say we're going to lock in on Ja'Marr because we have other playmakers. [Ja'Marr] may get the production sometimes. But I can promise you that the other receivers we have will factor into the defense playing the way that they do. So, Ja'Marr is going to continue to have a lot of opportunities." 

(on whether he will look back one day and say "This is where it started for the Bengals") "No, I feel like it started before this. These are just things we needed to check off. Baltimore has really taken it to us the last several times we have played them, and we don't run from that. So, I won't say we needed to prove it to ourselves, because we had a lot of people in that locker room who were confident going into that game today. But this was a box we needed to check. Now, we just move forward. We have a huge game next week, and we just can't let this week carry over and have our guys getting fat and happy. That's not what good teams do. So, we're going to make sure we handle this victory the right way." 

(on what a 41-17 win does for your guys) "Confidence matters, but you have to put in the work to be able to have that confidence, and they do. I don't worry about a game like this carrying over, because too many people on this team understand what it takes to win. We have too many guys that have played on championship teams in college. Some of our guys have played on other great teams in this league. So, they understand what it takes to build and how long it's going to take to get there this season. So, I have just too much confidence in our guys now to get complacent." 

(on whether he is building the culture or done building the culture) "No, we have no right to get complacent. There are so many things we can't let slide, a guy coming late to a meeting, as an example. We're not going to let that happen. And, again, that comes back to the coaches and the leaders on this team to make sure that doesn't happen. And we've added the right pieces to make sure we don't have guys that try stuff like that." 

(on sacking Lamar Jackson five times) "I thought our defensive coaching staff came together with a great plan, and our guys executed it to a tee. We have smart pass rushers, and [Lamar Jackson] is so dangerous. Every time he extends a play, he's capable of running for an explosive play or passing for one. He's just such a tremendous player, and I'm really proud of how our defense handled him today. That was a really big step for us." 

(closing statement) "I just want to [give] credit to the coaches on our staff. What they've done through helping with this thing, a win today means a lot to them because it's hard for them to keep it up over some years with some tough losses in this stadium. Our coaches are tremendous men, and I really appreciate the work they've put in to put us in this position. The players have really responded to their leadership, and that's just such an awesome thing to see."

QB Joe Burrow 

(on how he thought he played) "Aside from the interception that I'm disappointed in, I thought I played really well. There's always stuff to clean up, but we made plays, and we won the game. [I'm] never going to be upset about thrashing like that. [We] still room to improve but excited about the win."  

(on what it says about the team winning two division games on the road) "We just got tough resilient guys that don't back down under pressure. That team [Baltimore] puts the most pressure on you of any team that I've played in the league, and we really responded today. We got guys on the outside that are tough, physical guys that are tough to cover, and the O-line played great today when they had to. Third downs were a big emphasis for us, and I think, I don't know what the stats for us are, but I feel pretty good about all of our third downs in the second half. So you know, good day." 

(on responding in the third quarter after Ravens took the lead) "You know, we were playing alright up to that point. We weren't playing great, and then that two-minute drive really propelled us going into the half. After that, you know, came into the locker room and was like, 'We got momentum, we're rolling, we're seeing things better, we're making plays,' so after that, we knew what was going to happen." 

(on what kind of statement scoring 41 points against the Ravens was) "I think it was a big statement, 2-0 in the division for the first time that I can remember. You know the most exciting thing was the last two or the last three drives where you know, they knew, we were going to run the ball, and the O-line really took it to them. That was exciting to see. I know those guys were fired up about that, so that's how you should finish the game – start out throwing the ball, get out on top, and then the O-line finishes it off." 

(on how he knew it was going to be a different type of game than he previous game against Baltimore) "We had a great plan. Coaches did a great job with putting together a plan that I felt good about, and we felt good about, and we knew what [the Ravens] do is they make you, they put you in a lot of one-on-one matchups, so you have to win, and that's why guys get paid. You've got to go win the one-on-one matchup, and we have guys that did that today in the second quarter and the second half. We really won all of our one-on-one matchups that really mattered." 

(on the chemistry between him and WR Ja'Marr Chase compared to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and former Steelers WR Antonio Brown) "I just, we have a lot of reps accumulated over the last three or four years. We've been together for a long time. I've been dealing with him on Saturdays since I was 21 years old, so that's what happens when you get all those reps accumulated. You understand the kinds of throws against leverage. You know, they were playing on top and press and so that's what opened up the back shoulder balls today and we've thrown back shoulders for the last three years and thrown them over and over and over again and that's what it takes to feel confident in those kinds of throws. It's just reps and reps and reps." 

(on if there were specific plays that demonstrated his chemistry and trust with his receivers) "I mean there were several times where I just threw it up to our guys in 1 on 1 situations and let them make plays. You know there were a few in the first half that we didn't get and we just kept doing it because I knew that we have guys that are going to continue to make those plays and as the game went on, the more we did it, the more plays they made, so that's exciting" 

(on the plays demonstrating trust and chemistry with WR Ja'Marr Chase) "I mean there were several times in the second half where that happened where there is zero check where he had Marlon Humphrey – who I think is the best corner in the league, and [the Ravens] play that way because they have that guy to play a zero blitz and put him one on one, and Ja'Marr did a great job against him today. There are multiple times where he got that guy one on one and won his one-on-one matchup."  

(on how has he been able to build the chemistry with TE C.J. Uzomah) "That connection really started last year. He was one of our ... I think he was our top target through two weeks last year, and you know, unfortunately, went down with a knee injury early but we really clicked from the beginning with each other." 

(on if TE C.J. Uzomah talked to him about National Tight End Day) "Yeah, that's all I heard about. It's National Tight Ends Day." 

(on if the second touchdown pass to TE C.J. Uzomah was an audible out of a wide receiver screen) "Yeah, something like that." 

(on if the mechanical changes he made at training camp worked well) "Yes. There are a couple plays today where I feel more confident outside the numbers to the field, and there are multiple times today where maybe I got it there, maybe I didn't, but I felt like I got some extra juice this year that allows me to make those kinds of throws." 

(on CBS Sports' Phil Simms comparing him to former San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana and RB Joe Mixon comparing WR Ja'Marr Chase to former San Francisco 49ers RB Jerry Rice) "Let's relax. Let's relax with all that. Let me be me." 

(on if there's a better feeling on coming back and beating a team you struggled against in a previous game) "That's a great feeling. That was the thing, you know, I got injured last year that was one of the things I was most upset about was not getting a chance against our division multiple times. I've always felt like the more I play, you know, if you give me two chances against a team, I'm going to play much better the second time. That's just common sense in my head, and I didn't get that chance against Pittsburgh and Baltimore last year. You saw against the Browns last year I got better from Game 1 to Game 2, and that's what I try to do going forward." 

(on having his best career game against Baltimore after struggling against them last year) "Obviously last year wasn't very fun. Today was a lot of fun. Now it just really comes from preparation during the week and getting a lot of extra reps with the guys and our guys on the outside making plays. There wasn't a ton for me to do today apart from trying to protect the ball. It was putting balls in positions where our guys could go make plays." 

(on how this game speaks to his development as a quarterback) "I feel like I'm getting better every week, and I'm going to have to if we want to go where we want to go. You know, the goal wasn't to go 5-2. We have bigger aspirations." 

(on if the win against Pittsburgh felt any different than today) "It feels very similar. We played a lot better on offense today than we did against Pittsburgh, but now our defense has proven to be one of the top [defenses] in the league, and it feels good to go 2-0 against those guys. But the great thing about the NFL, we've got to play those guys again later in the year, so we know that they're going to be ready as well as Pittsburgh, so really we've got to just keep getting better."  

(on the importance of patience in overcoming their slow start) "Our O-line did a much better job picking up the twists in the games up front, and after that start, I really felt super comfortable back there, and there was almost no pressure the rest of the game. And then you know, like I said before, they put you in a lot of one-on-one matchups, and early they were winning the matchups, but I have a lot of confidence in our guys. And as the game went on, I kept putting them in those positions, and they started to make a bunch of plays, and we got the guys on the outside that it's tough to play that way against us."

TE C.J. Uzomah

(on whether this was his best national tight end day ever) "Are you kidding me? That's big time. Yes, for sure. It is the best national tight end day I've had. It was a lot of fun out there."

(on the struggles this team faced for so long, and whether this win is the start of something good or the end of something bad) "I don't consider it the end of anything, because I have a very short-term memory. This year is unique for me. It's the start of something which we have been working on since [organized team activities]. It's something Coach [Zac] Taylor has been trying to implement since he's gotten here. Now, we're just out there making plays and having fun. On the sideline, I was a little emotional as to how connected we were. You see everyone juiced for every single play out there. That's what it is all about. It's the start of something new, something good."

(on the importance of the field goal drive at the end of the first half) "I don't know what the statistics are with this, but, at the end of the half, we have to be up there with putting points on the board. That's something we pride ourselves in. We know that's stealing a possession, really, by going down, executing a two-minute drive, and putting points on the board. That's huge going into the half. We view that as a victory for us whether it's seven or three [points]."

(on whether today's play backed up his earlier statement that there is something special about this team) "To be honest, it's more about something we've been manifesting. We've had two tough losses that were close, and we feel like we should have won against two good teams. Today, the way we executed against a damn good team – that's the epitome of having some [stuff] too. That's just the guys out there executing the gameplan in all three phases. All three phases certainly got after it today."

(on whether the momentum is on their side after beating Pittsburgh and Baltimore on the road) "I don't know about momentum. I think we need to get the train rolling. We are trying to establish who we are as a team and put the league on notice that this isn't the Bengals of the past. This is the 2021 Bengals, and the past is the past."

(on his impression of what Zac Taylor can bring to the locker room and leading the team this year) "I think we put more pressure on him with the things we say to the media. He remains constant. He has the same attitude. The same energy. He holds us to the same standard that we should be held to, and, if we don't meet that, he lets us know. We have no problem calling each other out. That's something I admire about him. He is 'on' all the time, and he expects that out of us. Once the players start buying in to that, you can't have a bad day. We get to play football. That locker room over there is lit. It is awesome to celebrate with your boys after a win."

(on dealing with the crowd noise early) "The crowd was a factor early on. I know I botched one thing that almost cost us. Luckily, it didn't, because Joe [Burrow] was back in the pocket making things happen. The offensive line doesn't get enough credit. They played like 'no other' today. Baltimore brings a variety of things. So, you've got the [stuff] they bring on defense with the crowd noise and having to get everything communicated. It's tough. We did a great job today. Joe [Burrow] and the line did a great job picking us up."

(on whether he expected CB Marlon Humphrey to be covering him on his touchdown) "Hell no, are you kidding me? I looked up, and I was like, 'OK.' I wasn't prepared for it, but it's national tight end day. You've got to make something happen. You can't let anybody else have all the fun. Even though I caught the touchdown, Drew [Sample] had to block Calais Campbell one on one and did a hell of a job. If [Sample] didn't block [Campbell], the way he did, Joe [Burrow] would not have been able to get the ball off. That touchdown is for Drew for sure. That block really helped me to get open."

Check out some of the best images from the Bengals-Ravens matchup in Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season.

DE Trey Hendrickson

(on their game plan to stop the Ravens) "We game planned to stop the run and we knew that if we had that aspect of the game handled with our discipline and run fits that we'd make them one dimensional, and that was one of the goals for this one."

(on if the Bengals have arrived) "No, I think this is a steppingstone to where we want to go as a team. I think we have goals as a unit and as a complete team. This is a stepping stone to take us where we want to go. Complacency can set in real quick, and 'Any Given Sunday,' somebody can step up, so consistently winning is something we want to do."

(on what the Bengals' defense did to limit the downfield passing of the Ravens) "Yeah that's one thing, like you see five sacks, but I mean, I can't say enough about the guys in the back end, Mike [Hilton], Von [Bell], Jessie [Bates III], Chidobe [Awuzie], Eli [Apple] stepping up. Those guys are making opportunities for us to rush, and that's what complete defense is. One of these games, it's going to be, we're hitting the quarterback, and they're picking the ball off, so that's what you strive for as a defense. We're playing like a unit, like I said for weeks now, this is special, we're building something that's special and like I said, this is a stepping stone to where we want to go as a defensive entity."

(on wanting to make QB Lamar Jackson play with the ball in the pocket) "They have weapons all over the field and that's a part of the game plan that we specifically attacked, was taking away certain elements and weapons and getting after him in the passing game. So, you know, I think it's one of these things. I can't say enough about the back end with the linebackers covering too to make way for us to capitalize."

(on if he thought the defense and the team would be this good when he signed with them) "Absolutely, that's one of the things I said early on. I think they were a couple pieces away from being truly special. I think what we've done in the locker room is something that the guys have welcomed me with open arms in OTAs. I felt like I played here my whole career. I think it's a really special locker room and a brotherhood that I'm very thankful to be a part of."

(on his interaction with T Alejandro Villanueva when QB Lamar Jackson's long run was called back) "Well, I mean cheating in any game, it's not supposed to be ... It's pretty frowned upon. I mean if we're playing checkers, I'm pretty sure that would be the same way. Try not to cheat; it takes production away. Things like that, I mean, that's why you play the game. It's part of the element of being who we are out there and having fun, and that's one of the aspects of this defense that I'm able to have fun and it's really special."

(on if he was pointing to show T Alejandro Villanueva was holding) "Well, they have a huge Jumbotron. So, everybody could see. So, it's just one of those things, you know, part of the game."

(on how tough it is to game plan against QB Lamar Jackson) "Well, I think [defensive coordinator] Coach Lou Anarumo, [defensive line] Coach Marion Hobby gave us great tools, and [senior defensive assistant] Coach [Mark] Duffner. They did great tools on what we were supposed to take away in the run game, in the passing game, and stuff like that. It starts with the first play, and as the game keeps going on, we start chipping away at our goals, and the end result took care of itself."

(on being able to respond after going down 17-13) "I think I speak for our entire defense that we're not looking at the scoreboard. I think every opportunity that we get to go out there is a time we can change the game. We can stop them. Like I said, the goal for our defense is to get Joe [Burrow] the ball back because he's truly special."

(on having a disciplined pass rush in order to put pressure on QB Lamar Jackson) "I think we have a lot of selfless rushers on this team. I think [with] Sam [Hubbard] being a captain, he reels everybody in and says, 'This is a team thing.' I mean, I wouldn't have had a sack if it wasn't for the push and contain from Sam. You can't say enough about him and his two and a half-sacks. I mean it's about time some people start putting respect on Sam's name. That guy can rush. Larry [Ogunjobi] on the inside, pushing guys back, so that [Lamar Jackson] can't step up. I mean that's a part of team defense. D.J. [Reader] you don't see all these stats and stuff but if you watch the game from just his perspective, him pushing back all the guards and centers, that's the only reason our production is like that, and that's the complementary football that I think is so special in our unit – just in our D-line room and then for our defense. It's another win, and it's a divisional win. So, that obviously takes us where we want to go. We have a game coming up next week. Monday is going to come. We flush the bad ones, we flush the good ones, and it's on to the next."

(on his thoughts on the sideline watching WR Ja'Marr Chase and his touchdown) "That's what you hope for as a defense. We're able to sit back and watch our offense work. We make our checks and stuff like that, but then we watch special plays like that. We have a lot of faith in our offense. That's one of the goals for us as a unit. We want to get them that ball back because they can do a lot of special things with it. So, I mean, it's complementary football, 11 and 11 on both sides, but it's 22 as a team."

(on their gameplan against the Ravens and why it worked so well) "Well, it's the brilliance of [defensive coordinator] Coach Lou [Anarumo]. You know he's scheming things up and you know it's our job to execute it. So, when guys step up and make plays, I mean, that's what we want. So, at the end of the day, it's just good coaching and good execution by the players."

DE Sam Hubbard

(on how big the fourth down stop was to set up QB Joe Burrow and the offense) "Honestly, I'm not sure which one you're talking about, but every series was the same for the defense knowing that we had to stop them and the offense was going to get in the end zone. We just took the same approach every time we stepped on the field."

(on if a win like this means more) "We had a long period of time where we couldn't win on the road, and we kind of got over that hump. These divisional games are huge. To finish the way we did and not allow them to come back into it and have that killer instinct is just so huge for us as a team, what we've come from, how we've progressed and where we've always envisioned ourselves getting. Now, finally to see that is good."

(on playing against QB Lamar Jackson) "Lamar [Jackson] is a special player, and playing against him, you have to continue to rush even if you win your one-on-ones. He's going to get out; whether he's jumping around back there or escaping from a tackle, the play is never over. You have to keep relentlessly pursuing him and swarming him. All of those sacks today were four- or five-man efforts. I was lucky to get a couple, because he just jumped to my side."

(on a different gameplan because it was the Ravens) "Yes, I mean, you have to prepare differently for them. We had a few practices in camp where we ran some defenses against this style of offense, because it's so much that you just can't prepare for it in one week. So, they're a divisional opponent. We had this game on our calendar for a long time."

(on comparing this year's game to last year's game) "I think it was all about execution. Today, we executed very well. We had a few plays we'd like to have back."

(on his favorite part about playing for defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo) "If you do your job and you play hard, you have a spot on this defense. And that's a good feeling, because when you go out there and everybody that gets put out there is playing hard to the whistle – that's just our DNA. It's fun playing for guys like that, because you're going to war, and games are just warfare out there. We have guys that we trust and we love playing next to you – that's what it's all about."

(on the biggest difference between his first year and now) "I think we've all improved. I've been around for a long time, so I've seen it all. I think we've all grown, we've progressed, we've all learned a lot, and we're taking those lessons to become better players and coaches for us."

(on if it means more to win in Baltimore for him) "Yes, definitely. I went down last year on this field and went on IR [injured reserve] after the game. It was a tough few weeks for me, and I wasn't able to play after that injury. This was a special win for me. I know D.J. Reader, too, it meant a lot to him to get this win, and it's a great feeling."

(on what it's like sitting on the bench after being pulled from the game in a blowout) "The stuff we've been through over the last couple of years, all the work that's been put in and the process we went through to get here, it's no surprise at all. It's a great feeling to feel this victory, and we have a lot of football left to play. But we'll enjoy this one and get back on track for next week."

(on how tough it is to deal with QB Lamar Jackson) "We always have to have two guys on him, one inside shoulder [and] one outside shoulder. So, you always have to have two people on the ball."

WR Ja'Marr Chase

(on whether the gameplan for him was different today) "The gameplan today still had deep balls, but, of course, it was whatever I could get my hands on. [The defense] was playing over the top on us today. You know, trying to go deep. [Marlon] Humphrey did a great job of not letting me go over the top of him. We just started going to back-shoulders, stop routes, slants, quick pitches and stuff like that. After the catches come the [yards after the catch], breaking the tackle, making guys miss, and heading to the end zone."

(on Joe Burrow's performance) "I expect Joe [Burrow] to be like this. I expect nothing less. I expect him to come out of every game with his A-game, as he would expect of me."

(on his feeling about having the most receiving yards for a player in his first seven NFL games) "That's lit. I'm really excited."

(on the post-game locker room celebration) "After the win, with everything that was going on, I sat down and watched everybody celebrate just to see the reactions. This is my first time in Baltimore. I'm a rookie. They don't expect me to react the way they do. I soaked in the celebration. It's just a blessing to be here."

(on his touchdown play) "I had a slant on that play. I knew my release, what I wanted to do before I ran the route. I've been watching [Marlon] Humphrey's film day and night to get the best idea I can have of him. I know he's such a great corner. I came off the line with some hesitation then gave it a big burst and cut in on the slant route. I protected myself from any hit. As I was getting hit, my momentum took me into a spin. I kept following the spin and went from there."

(on whether it matters to him if he has a good game against a top cornerback) "Of course, I don't know how other receivers feel but matchups like that; you want to get excited for them. You want to have something to be excited about. It's the best against the best. In the NFL, you can't shy away from it, because it's definitely going to happen if you're putting up stats. It's just something you have to acknowledge. You've got to give respect to your opponent. I'm pretty sure he gave his respect to me. But you have to know your opponent like they know you. I took my time and watched a lot of film on him."

(on if he made any adjustments on the last drive before halftime) "No. I didn't make any adjustments. Our coaches just started calling plays to give me a chance [to be] in a better spot to make a play."

(on if Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey said anything to him toward the end of the game) "Yes, he was just like, 'Good job. Keep working.' I was like, 'Same thing to you,' and we just kept playing."

(on if anyone has ever run him down from behind on a long touchdown run) "Yes, I'm pretty sure they have. I'm pretty sure I've gotten caught before by faster people, yes."

(on how good this team is) "The sky is the limit for us. We've got so many weapons, and the defense is playing great ballr right now. It's still the middle of the season, and I think the sky is the limit for us. We still have a lot of room to grow."

(on what the proverbial sky looks like) "You make the picture up, honestly. You think of the picture." (laughter)

(on if he made an Uno reference and is an Uno card player) "Yes, I have a deck of cards in my house and in my car, so I'm going to travel with them."

(on if he's surprised himself with his performance early on) "Yes. I can say today I surprised myself, putting up those stats – 201 yards. It's something you dream of, but you don't go into the game actually telling yourself you're about to do it. So, I just came out here and played the best ball I can today and tried to make plays."

(on how big a deal it is for the team to have risen to the moment again and again this season) "Yes, I think the guys in the locker room want to play. I think they see the potential in everybody in the room. I feel like they see how bright our future is, and the more we win, the more excited we're going to be, and this momentum can keep carrying us."