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Everything Zac Taylor Had To Say After Beating The Chiefs

Head Coach Zac Taylor speaks to the team in the locker room after the Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24 in Week 13 of the 2022 season at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Head Coach Zac Taylor speaks to the team in the locker room after the Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24 in Week 13 of the 2022 season at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Head coach

Initial comments ...

       "Good win. But this team is so confident right now, this is what we visualized entirely. I know a lot is made because they're a tremendous football team. (We've) got a lot of respect for them. We are a tremendous football team as well. This team is playing as well as I hoped we'd be playing right here in early December. Like I told our guys, we didn't win a division championship today. We didn't win our conference. We just won a game in early December. We still have a long ways to go. We've got Cleveland (Browns) coming in our house next week and we want to keep the momentum rolling. So, I think we got the right mindset right now to handle this victory and be ready to move on next week to Cleveland."

Rivalries are defined by two great quarterbacks, but what about the plays from Germaine Pratt and Joseph Ossai?

       "The Germaine play, that's just what Germaine's all about. If there's a guy who's scratching and clawing to get turnovers just like he won us the game against Minnesota (Vikings) last year in Week 1 doing the same thing. Finding a way, sticking with it — that's what we appreciate about Germaine. Germaine is playing some outstanding football right now. That's not shocking. For Joseph Ossai, the hustle play of the century right there. I mean, he was on the ground, got up chasing and found a way to get that stop leading to the missed field goal. Two great plays by those two guys."

What do you think of Joe Burrow's performance today?

       "Awesome. But you've got to start with the offensive line first. They gave him a lot of time to be able to get a chance to find those guys open and make the plays with his feet, with his arm. I thought our offensive line played their tails off. That's a really good front. They did a good job holding them at bay. They did a great job getting us started in the run game and Joe does what Joe does. He had about 30.5 or 31 or 32, or whatever it was. Just when we needed somebody to step up, Joe made a play."

Do you feel like he's playing at an MVP caliber level?

       "Absolutely. Absolutely. He's playing at the level we need for him to lead us to be confident that we can go win every game we play. Whatever those conversations are like, there's no doubt as I've said before; I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the world."

What's your reaction to Ja'Marr Chase's performance after missing four weeks?

       "He's obviously feeling pretty good, I would imagine but ask him that. That's really what we saw in practice. Since he's got back, I've kind of been surprised at how he looks the same as when he left. I hadn't felt that after some reps last week, just watching him do routes on air. Before the Tennessee (Titans) game, I knew the wise thing to do was communicate with him and keep him out. But watching him move, man, if he comes to me and says 'I'm definitely playing this game,' I might have a couple plays ready for him, but he's just a freak."

When this offensive line was put together in March, are these the type of performances you had envisioned?

       "Sure. Giving (Joe Burrow) time to do what he does and get us going in the run game as well. They're just so smart. That group, they are tough, they are smart, and they love football. Those are the three things I think you want to describe your offensive lineman — smart, tough, eat, sleep and breathe football."

How big of a play do you think Joseph Ossai's sack on third down was for the whole outcome of the game?

       "It's a three-point game and if Patrick (Mahomes) scrambles for that first down, you just never know because they're always one play away. I've got a ton of confidence in our defense, but let's be real. He's a great player, they are one play away and you don't know how much time is going to be left on the clock. Maybe if they do kick the field goal if that were to happen after that, such a great play by him."

What did you feel like this game came down to at the end of it?

       "Our guys just made plays. We just told our guys to cut it loose. There's no fear of failure in this building. We want to go be aggressive and go make plays. This is the type of game you want to do that. Our guys are so poised, so confident. I think what we're asking them to do and just their abilities, they are able to play fast and go make plays that we need to win a game like this."

Did they do anything to make it a Samaje Perine game? Did they dare you to use him?

       "No, they did a great job. We knew we were going to have to mix in some of those gun-runs and under-center runs and he grinded out some really good runs that were well-blocked. I thought our tight ends did a good job, too, in the run game. Joe (Burrow) had some decisions to make in the run game also. He was decisive and gave us some good opportunities there to get those runs."

What was the choice in the third-and-11 play to put the ball in Joe Burrow's hands?

       "Yeah, there you go. So, that's really what it comes down to is giving ourselves an opportunity there. I changed the play call probably three times. And ultimately that's as simple as a play as it gets. It's whether or not our guys go win one-on-one's and that's what they did. For Tee (Higgins), I don't know how Tee came down with it. The ball was caught way further inside than I'm used to thinking. But again, Joe had to hold on to it for a while. So again, I can't wait to watch that clip on tape and see how they won us that game."

What were some of the other options there that you went away from and why?

       "We were hoping not to go backwards on second down. It was a tricky spot for Joe because there's 2:05 left there in the fourth quarter and so you're able to throw the ball there as long as he uses the whole five seconds. Joe was kind of put in a tough spot there because he knows we want to eat up all five (seconds) and not give them a bonus timeout. You're just mindful there. So he was looking to extend the play, making sure he ate up all five seconds. That's just a situation that can be difficult to manage. Ultimately, he got us, secured the ball, third-and-11. We just got to let our receivers be in a position to go win us some one-on-ones and Joe found the right guy."

The first two scoring drives, you guys went right down the middle of the field, no sidelines. Did you see something in the Kansas City defense that opened that up?

       "No. I mean, we try to make them cover the whole width of the field. We had things going on with the perimeter that you have to be mindful of because you've got a receiver back. Again, that comes down to, when you make a statement like that, you go down the middle of the field, that's our offensive line. Samaje (Perine) running downhill and making the most of his opportunities there."

On the third-and-11 it looked like you were trying to get Tyler Boyd lined up or some sort of scramble?

       "No. Again, I'm not a mind reader. So it's hard to know when Joe (Burrow is) using his cadence, if he forgot to send a motion or he's just trying to get a tell on the defense. There's a little stress and anxiety that comes from me sometimes, when you're not sure exactly. But they're on top of it. They got it."

There were moments last year where you spoke about maybe regretting take the ball out of Joe Burrow's hands. How much has changed? How much growth has he shown?

       "Well, he's always shown us that. Since his first day of training camp, August 15th or whenever that was a couple years ago. I thought that for him forever. And as a coach you've got to be smart. It's not just because you've got this great quarterback, that means you always throw the ball in these situations. You want to let the clock run sometimes and put them in a tough spot. I thought we found some really good balance there. I always trust Joe to put us in a good position."

What did the return of Ja'Marr Chase open up for you guys?

       "Everything. No disrespect to anybody else but you got two of the premier receivers in all of football on the outside and TB (Tyler Boyd) in the middle, so that can stress a defense. They pay attention to that. That helps the run game. It really does, when they got to devote a little bit more coverage over there to Ja'Marr and Tee (Higgins) so that really helps."

Does he get a pass on the taunting penalty after the win?

       "Nobody gets a pass on the taunting penalty. I saw it. He apologized afterwards. We had two of those, that's uncharacteristic of our team and we've got to do a better job of controlling the emotions there."

What does it say about your team that you've beaten this team three times in the same calendar year, in which all games you were the underdogs?

       "We don't care what the narrative is. There's just too much confidence in our locker room. We have everything that we need to be successful and win every time we walk on the field. It just comes down to being dedicated to the six-day week and put in the right work to feel confident when we walk on the field. I felt very confident when we walked on the field today. Our guys were ready for this opportunity. I felt like our fans were ready for this opportunity. I went to lunch yesterday and I filled up my gas tank today and I heard more 'Beat the chiefs, Who Dey.' I don't know, these guys were coming out of windows and stuff. You can just feel the excitement in the city. But again, it's December 4th. We've still got a lot of football left to play so we've got to do a great job of putting this one behind us and moving on to Cleveland."

What did you see on the decision to hand the ball to WR Trent Taylor on the fourth-and-one play?

"It was a loaded front. We tried the quarterback sneak, it was third-and-a-quarter-yard there if he could get it. You're leaving the defensive end unblocked, and so it's up to him to make that play and you're trying to block the perimeter. I think we did a great job blocking the perimeter. When the end, if he's going to jump up field and make the play, he's going to make the play. So, again, you're always going to feel like, 'Oh, man, bad play.' No, that's just the design of the play. If that guy chooses on third-and-inches, fourth-and-inches to jump the field, then they're going to make the play. Oftentimes, they don't. They crash down. So credit to them, a great play. Of course, you want to regret not taking any points and walking away and losing some momentum before the half, but we did our research and felt good about those calls down there."

What did you think about the way the team responded after WR Tyler Boyd dropped that pass?

       "Not every play is going to go your way. In a big game like that, we're going to make some plays. You have to be able to weather the storm and just not let it break your momentum. TB (Tyler Boyd), that was uncharacteristic. We all know that. That's such a rare thing for him that we're just able to move on. When a guy makes a mistake and something bad happens, we know that he's there to make that play for us every step of the way. We know that we can always trust him, and on that huge third-down play later in the fourth quarter there, that really got us in scoring position. That was a critical play and TB stepped up."

Who got the game balls?

       "A lot of them. I'm sure the video will come out at some point. It was a really good performance by all of our guys."

How impressive was Joseph Ossai to get that sack?

       "It's awesome. We're counting on guys like that to step up. Sam (Hubbard), Trey (Hendrickson) get all the attention. DJ (Reader), B.J. (Hill) — when Joseph could step up and give us a big energy boost like that, it's huge."

What makes this team good at managing the emotions of the season?

       "They just understand what it's going to take to be successful over the course of the season and not to live in the past with our victory or defeat in the week before. We just have such great veteran leadership that's really teaching our young guys how to be a pro so quickly that I've got confidence that we're always going to manage the weeks the right way and know that we've just got to put our guys on Sunday, put our best foot forward, quickly put it behind us and move on. I can't tell you how special that locker room is in that regard of just being able to move on so quickly and focus on the next game, and not riding high and not riding a lot of the lows. Everyone is in there when we were 0-2 (asking) 'What's wrong?' Nothing's wrong. It's the same team we expected to have. These guys are just finding out a way to win at any way that the team plays now, we know that our team can play that style."

Do you have an update on Hayden Hurst?

       "I think it was a calf and he was out for the game. I don't know what the long-term prognosis is, but I'll find out more tomorrow."