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Everything Zac Taylor Had To Say After The Bengals Beat the 49ers

What was your impression of your team this game coming off your bye week?

"I know it's not even Halloween yet, but this is November football for us. When you go on the road and play the 49ers, a team that's had a ton of success over the last couple years in this league that we have a ton of respect for. So proud of the way that our guys fought, proud of the way they controlled the game in the second half and were able to get us this win." 

What can you say about QB Joe Burrow today?

"19 consecutive completions is pretty good. That typically means that everybody else is doing their job as well. This was a big challenge for our offensive line and a big challenge for our backs and our tight ends as well. They rose to that challenge. They were where they needed to be. They did a great job giving him a pocket he could work with. It was a great job by our receivers playing on time and being where they needed to be so he could find them. That extension on the first third-and-10 that [WR] Tee [Higgins] made himself available and got that big first down. That really catapulted us into the game. We sit here and talk about these games that we've lost, and it was those plays that we didn't make early in the game. That's a play that jumpstarts you and you end up scoring a touchdown. That's really what it comes down to." 

What do you think about the way he moved?

"I don't use that word unbelievable anymore really, to be honest with you. But that first one, I mean, I'm joking because that's just kind of what you come to expect and it's just a great job. I'm sure he's feeling pretty good. I'm sure he is going to be pretty sore, but just a good job with him never quitting on a play, keeping it alive. Again, I've learned just to keep my mouth shut, not say anything, and not think anything negative while he's back there in the pocket moving around. You've just learned a lesson year four here. But again, that was a big play and he did a good job with his feet. He did a good job. There's two men running through. That's the best play you can get. [He] did a good job checking to a quarterback draw on a big third down. He's stepping up and recognizing coverages and knowing how to attack them with his feet when he needs to." 

What do you think of the way your linebackers Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt played?

"We wouldn't trade them out for anybody. There's a lot of good linebacker duos in this league. We wouldn't trade that pair for anybody and for both those guys to step up and get takeaways. Germaine's was down in the low red [zone] first and goal from the eight yard line – an unbelievable pick. I didn't see Logan's [interception]; I was over there talking to Burrow, but I'm sure that was great too. I saw the stat in my post game that he's got the most picks by a linebacker since 2020. That's just great ball skills. That's the receiver/safety that he's gotten his skill set over there from Wyoming in high school. Really, really proud of the way that those two guys played." 

The 49ers hadn't lost a home game this season coming into this game. What does it mean getting this win on the road today?

"They'd won 11 in a row and that's something we feed our players because this is the type of team that responds to that. They want to hear that. They want to hear that Buffalo had one home loss in the playoffs in their history. They want to hear that this team's won 11 in a row at home because someone's got to beat them and it's going to be us, you know? So I think that's just kind of the edge that these guys play with. They want that information to fuel them and they responded how I assumed that they would. 

What did going under the center maybe unlock for the offense today?

"Yeah, there's just some things that we felt like we could do to attack them and felt like our guys did a great job executing. We kind of had a plethora, that's a fun word I haven't used yet up here, a variation of things that we could do there. I thought our guys did a great job and finished really with the same run a couple plays in a row. Our guys were just doing a great job blocking that [RB Joe] Mixon scored on. Really proud of those guys, I mean, that's tough. That's tough to block the same play three times in a row. Our guys responded the right way and Mixon made a great cut and scored a big touchdown there." 

Was that a play that you were saving for a big moment right after the interception right there in scoring range?

"No, it almost came up that the play we hit [WR Ja'Marr] Chase with at the end of the two minute drive that got us down inside the 10 yard line. It was kind of toggling between those two and we chose the one that was a big gain for us. And just came back at the right moment. You know, that play was a suggestion by somebody on the headset. I don't know who to give credit to, but that's a good spot for it. That was [Offensive Coordinator] Brian [Callahan] and [Wide Receiver Coach] Troy [Walters] early in the week putting that play in based on something they saw. It was a good job by our coaching staff finding the right moment to get to that play. [QB] Joe [Burrow] and Ja'Marr and [WR] Tee [Higgins] did a great job selling it and getting to it." 

*Was the idea at the start of the season that the offense would always kind of look like it did today? *

This is what we know we're capable of and we left some stuff on the field. It was tough. The field goal that we missed, we put [Kicker] Evan [McPherson] in a tough spot that we knew in warmups that it was the tough direction. That was a tough distance. I think we had a sack that kind of took us out of rhythm there. That was a tough one. Then he drained the 56-yarder going the other way. I don't remember what your question was now. Like oh, what the offense looked like." 

Yeah – like specifically from an under center perspective?

"I think it just gives us more variation, more things for teams to work on. I thought that the team executed really well versus the team that you're going to have to execute well to beat. You're not just going to get free plays against them, they're going to make you earn everything. I thought they did a really good job adjusting, coming in at halftime and making things challenging for us. So again, our guys found a way to respond and found a way to make some plays. I was proud of the response that we had there." 

You get a game back here, you run for 134 yards and you only give up three sacks. Was it extra special to get Offensive Line coach Frank Pollack this win?

"Say that one more time for Coach." 

What does it mean for him to come back here and to run it like this and to protect like that?

"That is special for a guy that played for the 49ers. I'm sure it brings back a lot of memories for him and it's cool that the guys played hard for him. They always play hard for him, but that's a cool moment that I'm sure Frank has. I'm sure he got a chance to see a lot of people. [Wide Receivers Coach] Troy Walters played at Stanford, a Biletnikoff winner, so we've got a lot of guys with ties. Six players with Northern California ties as well, seven really, [WR] Mike Thomas. This is a meaningful stop for a lot of our coaches and players here." 

You like the form that that kind of led you all to a deep playoff runs the last couple of years?

I think we played a good game. There's going to be things that we have to clean up. We're not just going to gloss over those. But again, I like how our team responded in different moments and you look at the second half, offense starting the half with three points, defense creating turnovers in the second half and getting big stops. Then, the offense responding up seven when we need a touchdown, we don't need a field goal, we need a touchdown, and they find a way to finish it off. Evan coming through on some big kicks on special team stepping up big on coverage so really proud of our team. It wasn't perfect, but really proud of the way that they came together and took control of the game." 

Did DL Trey Hendrickson talk himself back into the game, what was going on?

"We had a couple injuries where guys just got stepped on. Coincidentally guys got stepped on. I'm sure he's really sore. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him. There's probably some limitations he dealt with there in the second half, but I can think of a few times where guys maybe got hit on the side or stepped on, so nothing hopefully significant there." 

What was the kind of the message after the fumble at the end of the first half? Were you worried that that could be a difference maker in the game to take points off the board?

"It's bothersome obviously in hindsight, yeah. Here's what you got to look at. What's your process? You're falling. I like the play call from a process standpoint. Obviously the coverage they played, it's not a great look for, it doesn't give Joe a lot of good answers there. He's got three different options. He chose the third that he should have. It doesn't give us a lot of good options there. Then we just got to hang on to the football. So the process that got us there taking a shot on a run there, probably calling time out and then taking some shots in the end zone, throwing the ball. It didn't work out for us. Of course anytime something like that happens, you're regretful of the call, but you just got to get back to the process that got us there and led to that call and that's what I felt comfortable with. It didn't turn out our way coming out at halftime." 

After a situation like that to at least put points on the board, how significant was that?

"It was significant. That's why you defer, that's why you get the ball to start the second half. We were hoping for the double whammy there, scoring at the end of the half and then getting the ball back and putting points on the board before they touched it like they did to us in 2019. It didn't work out that way, but I thought that was a good start by the offense setting the tone and the defense responding." 

You didn't think twice about putting McPherson back out there after he missed the 50 yard field go?

"No, but I guess it's because of the wind, the direction of the wind. No, and we would've obviously played the situation smart going the other way, but full trust that he can rise to the moment and even in tough conditions he stepped up and got it done. He's done it before. It was windy, so I guess that was, it was windy. Yeah, it was probably a little windier in the first half I think than the second half. He did a good job responding how we knew he would." 

Impressed with the efficiency and the power in the run game against a good defense?

"It's a good job, I thought starting with [Offensive Line Coach] Frank [Pollack], there was a lot of good run variations to start the week. I liked the plan that he had in place. I thought Frank and [Offensive Assistant] Derek Frazier did a great job. These guys executed it. They believed in it, they executed it, and they ran hard. We hit them at the right moment sometimes and so really proud of the execution of the run game today." 

The cameras caught Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo when everybody kind jumped him right after Trey Hendricks sack to end the game. What did you think of his plan today?

"A lot of times I don't want the camera on Lou, so I'm glad to hear that was good."  

*What did you think of his defensive game plan? *

"Awesome the way it worked out. I mean, he's the best, right? He puts these guys in position that's half the battle. The other half is the guys having confidence and believing that he's going to put them in the right position and they do. You get that extra little bit out of your guys when they believe in what you're telling them to do. He pushes the right buttons at the right times. He does a great job being emotional and then being composed like great defensive coordinators do. Love him to death. We're very happy to have him. We've been through thick and thin here together, obviously, and we always liked what we saw and what he was capable of. He's gotten them to play their potential. We're very fortunate with him and the entire defense of staff."