BENGALS HEAD COACH ZAC TAYLOR
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 24, 2022
ZT: It wasn't perfect at all times. There were some really good moments and some moments we've got to improve on. But at the end of the day, December 24, getting out of here with a win is a big deal. So we're going to find a way to correct the negatives and focus on the positives and get ready for Monday night against Buffalo.
Q: What was the difference offensively in the second half when you couldn't move the ball as well?
ZT: We had the two turnovers that hurt us. Again, they did a nice job mixing some things in there. They made some plays when they needed to. We had some opportunities. We just didn't capitalize on all of them. We had a big drop, lost seven points there, and had two turnovers as well. Just got to be better taking advantage of those opportunities.
Q: You seemed pretty irritated at the non-fumble. But just the defense being able to help you out in situations like that over and over again today, what did you think of the play of Vonn Bell down there?
ZT: I thought Vonn stepped up and made some big time – really our defense in the first half was exceptional. For them not to cross the 50-yard line, I think they had two first downs, was a great way to start the game, as we got up 22-0. There was a couple of really – just explosives in the second half is where they got us. I thought there were some good things our defense did and a couple of explosives that got us there. But at the end of the day, that huge turnover created by Vonn that B.J. [Hill] recovered really won us the game there. It was a tough situation. They had the ball down there on the 5-yard line, and for those guys to step up and make that play was critical to us winning the game.
Q: It was reminiscent of a couple wins you had last year. That Vegas game comes to mind. What is it about this team that's been consistent about, even when things aren't going well and they're knocking on the door, they're able to find a way?
ZT: Yeah, someone's got to step up, and today people did. We need to be able to knock people out up 22-0. We've usually done a pretty nice job of that. Today wasn't that case. Again, December and January, you've just got to find ways to win the game and end the game the way they do. Today our guys stepped up. In this case, Vonn made a big play down at the goal line.
Q: In a situation like that at the goal line, what do you tell them about balancing getting a stop versus getting a turnover? How impressive is Vonn's ability to get that turnover?
ZT: We'll take any of it. It was first and goal right there. They just got that third down, I believe. Again, yards were critical down there in that area. Certainly knocked them back, and to be able to punch that ball out was just a huge play.
Q: Given the ambitions that you all have for the end of the year, how concerning is it the fact that you've got two straight weeks where entire halves haven't went y'all's way?
ZT: We've played really good teams. These teams have a lot of talent, really well coached on the road. We've won a lot of different ways at this point. We get a chance now with nine days to get guys as healthy as possible and get ready for a big home game. That's big significance for us to win the division. This is a game we'll have to have, and our guys will be focused on it.
Q: What do you know about La'el Collins?
ZT: Just the knee. I don't know how severe it is.
Q: I don't know if satisfying with the right word, but is there anything to not being at your best and still finding a way to win?
ZT: Sure. I think guys feel that. No matter what the moment is, whether we're up or down, again, we've got to take advantage of every opportunity. Can't let any opportunity slip through our fingers like a couple did today.
Credit to them. They put the pressure on us and forced us into situations where we didn't handle it as well as we could have. Hat's off to them in that regard for getting themselves back in the game. I think we're going to be happy with the win because they are so hard to come by, and seven in a row, our guys have that confidence that we're playing good football. Again, it's going to take all of our efforts to get ready for Buffalo here.
Q: Bad day at the office for Evan McPherson, or was there something else going on?
ZT: We'll have to watch him, but to leave five points on the board is tough for us. Every point important down the stretch.
Q: Did Tyler Boyd reaggravate his finger in warmups?
ZT: Yeah, he just hit it. It didn't further do anything. We were at the point there where we were trying to get Trenton [Irwin] in there to take some of that load off of T.B. There were stretches where Trent was in there to take that pressure off. It's cold. He hit it. It doesn't feel great to begin with. So just trying to be protective of him.
Q: How did you approach things with Trey Hendrickson? Snap count or play by feel?
ZT: It's never really been a snap count for us. Just certain packages and certain situations we want him in there.
Q: On Burrow's two picks, was that just miscommunication?
ZT: We'll have to watch it and figure out what the full issue is.