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Everything Zac Taylor Had To Say After The Bengals Beat The Cardinals 34-20

On QB Joe Burrow's response and WR Ja'Marr Chase setting the franchise record:

"I thought he did a great job. I thought the guys in front of him did a great job and gave him a great opportunity to do a good job. All those skill guys stepped up. You know, Ja'Marr. Nothing really surprises you. You just keep finding ways to get him the ball. It can come in so many different ways because of how flexible he is as a football player and his football IQ. I say it all the time - you can put him in a slot, you can put him in a Z, you can put him in an X, you can put him in the backfield. Just keep getting the ball in his hands and good things are going to happen. We got so many other great, great players involved to take the pressure off him. We can't just lock in on him. I think that's the critical part of things. I was proud of the way that those guys played today."

On when he sensed Burrow was good to go again:

"It's hard for me to say. I thought this week he moved around a little bit better, so he had that sense as the week went. I can't tell you how many times on the headset we said throw the ball away on his touchdown to Ja'Marr there on the goalline. We said it a lot. Those two just found a way to make a play and the line held the guys off of him. It was good to see him move around today. And again, like he said all year, it's probably just going to get better and better each week."

On Burrow being able to do more than expected

"He did stuff on his own. We only called one naked to Ja'Marr for a good play. Again, try to take that pressure off a little bit. When he moved, that was his decision."

On Burrow's plays being reminiscent of 2021 plays where he was told to throw it away but kept extending plays:

"They're great quarterbacks, but you can't just keep them in the pocket and put them in the box. You know, they're going to extend plays sometimes where you're thinking they shouldn't. They're going to hang on to the ball for a second longer than people feel comfortable with, and usually great things happen when that happens. That's the special magic that he's got that you don't want to ever take away from him, and he does a great job. Knowing when to make it work and knowing when to get rid of the ball."

On the 63-yard touchdown throw to Chase

"They started to cloud Ja'Marr a lot, so the only way to get him away from that cloud really was to get him across the field to the quarter side. The protection, again, was outstanding right there. Joe did a great job with his landmark in the pocket. It was a great throw, a perfect throw. Not many guys can get that last burst to be able to track it the way Ja'Marr did. That's a great connection between those two. You know, that's, that's a play you get one full speed rep up every week. And you want to hit it when it's there. And I thought those two did a great job connecting."

On the sequence at the end of the first half to go for it on fourth down and how much was the defensive situation a consideration in deciding to go for it:

"It was all encompassing. A lot of it was the possession before. We knew going into this game, it's a tough structure to throw against. The way that they play with their leverages and that coverage structure inside the five. We'd thrown the ball three plays in a row on possession before and kicked the field goal, knowing that it was gonna be hard going in. I was a little bit stubborn there. We told our guys we're gonna, we're gonna run this ball in the next time we're the load red. We ran it for four straight plays. We expect to be able to get that ball in. We didn't, but knowing that we're gonna be able to pin him inside the two with, we had three timeouts at a time, that our defense, you can get a safety or give us a great field position. The third option is the best option. And that's just go ahead and get a touchdown yourself."

On feeling unencumbered that Burrow could make the plays he wanted him to do:

"I just call the game how we see it and it felt like we got more normal downplays than we have because we've extended the drives longer. So that makes everyone's job easier and it takes the pressure off of the protection, it takes the pressure off of those guys to be perfect on every play, when you can string together more plays and overcome some of the second longs and third downs we had. We just haven't done a great job necessarily all of us, myself included in these last couple weeks. We were just able to free up and play the style of ball we're used to."

On WR Trenton Irwin stepping up:

"You don't even have to think twice about it. We love 'T' because he's a premier player in this league and we know what he does to a defense. We know the plays he makes. Duke (Tobin, Director of Player Personnel) and his staff have just done such a great job of acquiring depth. In a lot of different ways, shapes, and forms. And Trenton's one of those guys that you have full confidence in. He knows what to do. He can play all three positions. He's going to catch every ball that gets thrown to him. He's going to run with great detail. We were close on that free flicker. That was the same play that we had against Cleveland last year. But I thought Trenton stepped up and did exactly what we knew he would be able to do."

On the importance of defense today:

"The starting point was two three-and-outs for our defense to start the game and the offense scoring 10 points. Right there the defense got the stops and the offense piled on some points and we had some good special teams plays in the mix of that– great return by Trenton, great blocking on that. Then you look at the end of the half, the defense gives up a touchdown and the offense drives all the way down to the one, doesn't get in but eats up some clock and puts them in good field position and then the defense does a great job turning it into seven points. Then you turnover quickly in the second half offense scores seven, so I just thought the sequencing at the end of the second quarter beginning of the third, even though it wasn't perfect it was a good example of this team playing together feeding off each other and being able to take control of the game there."

On how the stop on fourth and one on the goal line changed the game:

"Execution. I think it was a four point game at the time, could have been an 11 point game but that was a huge stop. The defense rose to the challenge and I think that was (LB) Germaine (Pratt) who was the one who had the contact there. That was a critical point in the game for us for sure, that's a turnover."

On if it's rewarding to see offense perform well:

"We just don't overreact, to the early part of the season we correct what we can correct. There was never any wholesale changes needed, we knew how close we were and we knew what it could look like. We have to continue to build off of days like today, that's a big part of it but there was never any overreaction or anything like that from us and we just stayed the course. When you trust what you're doing and believe in your process there's plenty of time for it all to take shape and for us to get the footing that we needed to get. I thought today was a good step in the direction that way."

On if message to the team was that this was a must win game:

"No. Those weren't my words. Again, we just needed to play our best brand of football against this game against Arizona that's it. And then next week we'll stack another one against Seattle and to just take it one game at a time, don't worry about the big picture right now. We're going to be in great shape if we can take care of our own business at this early part of the season, and that's what our guys did today."

On impact Burrow has on team after this performance:

"He's done really good things for us these last couple weeks, again we look at every play as it should be and we feel like he's done a great job for us. Today we just had more plays and we were able to take more shots down the field, called some different protections that allowed us to take more shots as he started to move a little more. He made a couple plays where he extended the plays, that's always a bonus that we'll gladly take and don't want to force that on anybody."

On naming WR Kwamie Lassiter II a captain:

"Kwamie has been everything that we want to be around, he's done a great job on our practice squad and did a great job when his number was called last year when he came in against Tennessee when we elevated him. He's a guy that's very dependable, we have a lot of trust in him. His dad was a tremendous player here in the late 90s early 2000s and I think that's a really special moment for a guy that is exactly what we want to be about, able to maybe have a moment for himself and his family to honor his late dad. It's someone that (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator) Darrin (Simmons) knew, Darrin was with him at KU [Kansas University] and his dad went to my Junior College Butler County so there's that fraternity. It's special for Kwamie, it's a bonus that he got a catch on red alert. Hopefully it was a good moment. When the right people are doing the right things you want to find a way to draw attention to that and Kwamie is a great example. I met his mom in the elevator earlier in the preseason and what a great woman, it's no surprise Kwamie has been raised the way that he has. Anytime you can give a player that kind of moment you want to be able to do that."