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Everything Zac Taylor Had To Say After The Bengals Beat The Seahawks 17-13 in Week 6 of the 2023 Season


OCT. 15, 2023



Head coach

Initial comments ...

What was going through your mind the final three minutes of that game?

       "We have a lot of faith in our defense, especially when they have to go out there — we put them out there in tough spots. To have those four low red (zone) stops that they had, they held them to a field goal, two turnovers on downs and a turnover. Exceptional job by our defense. They give you a lot of confidence. It's a stressful situation. Seattle has a great team. They did a great job in some plays, moving the ball down there. But at the end day, we just have tremendous confidence that our defense is going to figure it out and they did. And they had a huge stop there at the end."

What can you say about Cam Taylor-Britt's game?

       "We have a tremendous group of defenders. First of all, our DBs have really stepped up. And Chido (Awuzie) always has been a big force there. Mike Hilton, Cam Taylor-Britt have really come on this last year. DJ Turner II has really stood up as well. I'm really proud of Cam (Taylor-Britt). He has great, great ball skills, tremendous ball skills. When the ball is in his area, he usually has a great chance to go get that thing, and I'm so happy that he did."

What was the difference near the goal line for your defense today? What do you think was the game changer?

       "Just because a team gets in there at the three-yard line, it's not, 'Oh here we go, it's seven points.' I really think our defense believes, worst case (scenario) we're holding them to three here. In best case (scenario), we're getting the ball out. Going back to that New England game last year, you always feel like these guys have such an attitude to find a way to get that ball out and not just be satisfied giving up any points. It's turnover on downs and it's get the ball out. And I feel that. We didn't strip it out or anything, but we tried. I saw a lot of good plucks at the ball there and I'm just really proud of the job that our defense did. They stepped up big time."

What do you think was the overarching theme as to why offensively you guys weren't able to be as productive?

       "That a really good question. We'll have to watch it and see because (we) felt like we had some opportunities. (We) felt that we weren't in a great flow, but it's really hard for me to put my thumb on it and I'll have to check it out. And the good news is we found a way to (win). I walked off the field and I had I texted Steve Specht yesterday, the St. (Xavier) coach. They had a win on the road and that's a great job. He said it's better to win ugly than to lose pretty. And that was the first thing that hit me when I walked off the field today. At times it felt ugly, especially on offense. But again, our defense stepped up and made some big plays for us. It allowed us to get out of there."

How big is it mentally being .500?

       "It's good. It's like I said, we kind of stubbed our toe starting this race off. And we're going to continue to pick up steam. And again, there's days where our defense is going to lead the charge and lead us to victory. There's times where the offense is going to reciprocate that. There's times special teams can take over. I think good teams just find ways to do it. And right now, we're at that 3-3 mark going into a bye. We get a chance to get healthy and then hit the surge after the bye (week) starting with San Francisco."

One of the things after last year was getting a more disruptive pass rush to get key sacks and key rushes ...

       "We have a lot of guys, and it starts with the starters, up front and then those guys coming off the bench. I saw Cam Sample going in there today. So, it's good and that's why we've drafted the way we have. It's always good to have reinforcements in there. But our starting group is just as good as any in the league. And so, again, a lot of credit to those guys up front and in the back end supporting them and making some big plays today."

The defense as a whole — first five weeks not quite at the level it was at last season. Did you see something or feel something today that was different from the group as a whole?

       "No, no. I thought that they did a good job. And again, we are similar to last week. We did a better job on offense, starting strong and getting some points that we can play with a lead. That's the difference from those first couple of weeks. So, again, we certainly want to score more than 17 points. We should score more than 17 points. But that makes a big difference because then you can you play your style of game still and not put as much pressure on those guys."

I feel like in some ways that today's game was a lot like that playoff game against the Raiders where defense and special teams really just saved the day ...

       "Sure. We'll take it. Again, any way we can find a win, we're going to do it and we're going to be happy about it. And that doesn't mean that there's not a lot we can improve on offense. I'm sure there's going to be some things that we're going to improve on defense as well. But it's a lot easier to make those improvements after you win."

Was there a game ball given to a defensive player?

       "Yeah, the whole defense. The whole defense. I was happy (Andrei Iosivas) got his first touchdown, but the whole defense really stepped up and Cam (Taylor-Britt) with the turnover and Mike (Hilton) with the turnover and it's good to see."

What led to the fast start on offense?

       "I don't know. We just have to get that first down, and then you feel like, here we go. We have a good rhythm there. We had some good catch and runs. We had the free play at the end of the first quarter, where we got them to jump and take the shot to Ja'Marr (Chase). So, I just think we were really efficient on first and second down, kept ourselves in some really manageable situations and were able to finish off in the red zone. We felt like we had a good red zone plan this week and only got two opportunities down there and were able to capitalize on them."

You mentioned the Andrei Iosivas touchdown. Did you send Joe Burrow to get that ball?

       "I did not. No, that was Joe. I didn't."

When you win ugly, does that help at a later point in the season like closer to playoff time?

       "The wins and losses, to be honest with you, we draw from all of them equally. I think we've just got a lot of confidence as a team that we'll figure out a way at the end to close it out. And this was one of those games. We had a good lead. The whole game had a lead, and the defense was able close it out for us."

With both draft picks and free agents, why is it so important to invest as much as you have in the defensive line?

       "This game starts in the trenches, on the offensive and defensive line. So, you can say the same thing on both sides, really. And if you don't have strength up there on the offensive and defensive line, it makes everyone's job really tough. And we're very fortunate that we've done a good job, investing in our defensive line, and our offensive line."

What happened with Orlando Brown Jr. today?

       "I think it's his groin. So, we'll see if the bye week comes at a good time, and we'll see where it goes from there. I'm not sure of the total severity of it."

The splits with DJ Turner II and Chidobe Awuzie, was that kind of a wait and see thing or was that was Chido's back giving some problems today?

       "It's tough. Chido just managed through the week. He repped as much as he could. And so, then it's still unknown. It's still bothersome. He really played through something today. As did Tee (Higgins). To both those guys, I'm appreciative of what they decided to do for us. A lot of guys could have just said, 'No, I'm going to wait through the bye week,' and Chido and Tee are two of our most competitive guys we've got. And so really, really thankful we've got guys like that that that helped contribute to the win."