Wed, 18 May 2022

Head Coach Zac Taylor

Titans
23 Jan 2022, 17:03 GMT+10

(opening statement)

COACH TAYLOR: It feels great. This is the expectation for these guys. It's not too big for these guys. I know we haven't been here before but it sure feels like we have. You see the attitude of the team and the confidence that they have, that we're going to find a way to win. And just you can't replace the confidence that these guys have earned in themselves and hopefully that carries us through for another couple games.

Q. When you look at how the game unfolded with nine sacks on Joe (Burrow) and the way your team was able to continue and fight back, what does that say about the core group and their ability to (inaudible) no matter what the circumstances were today?

COACH TAYLOR: It's not something we want to do. Obviously they came in a lot of different ways. Some zero blitzes. There's a lot of reasons for them. We're all going to take blame in that. We don't want to have that. But the defense allowed us to continue to play the way we wanted to play. We were able to call some runs and completion plays. That's one of the best D-lines in football to be quite honest with you. We have a ton of respect for their team and their defense. And they can get after the passer. And they did a great job in coverage, mixing up some of the coverage looks. Give credit to them we found a way to win that's all that matters.

Q. Evan McPherson, eight for eight including the gamewinner. What can you say about this kid that hasn't already been said?

COACH TAYLOR: He's got ice in his veins. There's not much to be said. He's as cool as it gets. You have confidence he's going to nail it every single time he steps up there. He definitely could have gone from longer out than what we kicked it from. We felt confident to be on the 40-yard line there. So he just steps up and the moment's never too big for him happy to have him.

Q. Were you trying to get timeout before the play?

COACH TAYLOR: No.

Q. You talked about last week not celebrating too much and moving on. Are you going to let this sink in a little bit more?

COACH TAYLOR: You know, winning is hard. Winning is hard. I want these guys to be happy and enjoy it because we've been through some times when we didn't get a chance to enjoy anything. And you're miserable pretty much year-round. So, there's the whole, "Act like you've been there before," but our guys have earned this. They've earned the right to be excited. And we'll put it to bed early tomorrow morning obviously. But these guys, the emotion they feel winning a game like that, on the road in the playoffs. Some of these guys have played in this league a long time and waited for moments like these. It's going to be nothing to take away from our preparation this week, but I'm happy for them. They should enjoy it, players and coaches. They put in a lot of hard work. I want to see them celebrate.

Q. What Joe Burrow (inaudible)?

COACH TAYLOR: If I had the answer for why Joe Burrow is good at what he does, then I don't know, I'd sell, bottle it up and sell it. He's just special. That allows us to continue to call things the way we call because even after a sack or a negative play, you still feel like we're always going to get it back. With the weapons we've got, Joe (Burrow)'s ability to put a hit behind him and move on to the next play and find one of his freak shows, as he likes to call them, makes our job a lot easier as playcallers.

Q. What were you trying to do play the change (inaudible) or how did that...

COACH TAYLOR: That was an adjustment we had to make because of the protection. They were doing a good job -- they hit us with cover zero there that knocked us out of field goal range on the drive before. They had a free guy we can't protect and knocked us out. We wanted to make sure we were well protected. We gave our guys a chance outside to win some one-on-ones. They were starting to play some two-man. Looked like they got two-man to (Ja'Marr) Chase on that one. And Joe (Burrow) hit them on a bench route, a play we've hit a million times to Ja'Marr (Chase). It's fitting that that's the play that put us in that position, just one-to-one, Joe to Ja'Marr, two-man look. That's how it looks.

Q. [Question about starting the game].

COACH TAYLOR: It really set the tone for two reasons, because Jessie (Bates III) allowed us to go get some points right out of the gate and take the early lead. And in a game like that, when you're on the road and the crowd is into it, it kind of takes the crowd out of it for a moment at least. And Mike (Hilton) stealing points off the board. I know we didn't get a chance to do anything with it necessarily, but that was big because they were certainly in scoring position. Mike (Hilton) made a tremendous play, and really happy that those guys stepped up.

Q. You go back to that first game, Minnesota (inaudible) turnover ratio. How big is that versus this team?

COACH TAYLOR: Enormous, and that's on our guys. They've been working it since training camp. It's not something this magically happens. It's an emphasis that Lou (Anarumo) and the staff have put on those guys, that the veteran leaders really stepped up. We've had core guys here who have always bought into that -- you added the Mike Hiltons, the Vonn Bells, the Trey Hendricksons, Chido (Chidobe Awuzie), they've all jumped on that mentality and it's really served us well in the back stretch of the season.

Q. You said it was a lot about the (indiscernible). How important is this win?

COACH TAYLOR: This win is for everybody. Everybody's involved in this. I would imagine there's some pretty good celebrations going on at home. The Orange in the crowd was tremendous. Felt like driving into the game, it was so cool to see so many Bengal fans that came down. Let's find a way to get them either to Kansas City or Buffalo, we'll find it out tomorrow. But we have such a tremendous fan base that supports this team through thick and thin. Happy we were able to deliver some wins for them.

Q. Where are the game balls?

COACH TAYLOR: Evan McPherson today. We kept that one singular today. He stepped up big and got us where we need to go.

Q. (Indiscernible) this is the first road playoff win in franchise history?

COACH TAYLOR: I think it's special for the franchise. It's special for the people that have supported this place for a long time. For us, it's what we expected to do. And so just winning in the playoffs is hard, home or on the road. Just happy to get the win.

Q. Anyone in that locker room happier than Ja'Marr (Chase)?

COACH TAYLOR: We're all happy. Trust me, that's the thing, something like that, it turns into an error. There's so many plays like that that could have been disastrous that maybe go unnoticed. His stands out more than others. But there's plenty of things I did, plenty of things a ton of other people did that could have been just as -- put us in the hole. And we support our guys and get their backs and found a way to win.

Q. What's the key to the (indiscernible) momentum swings, to get it back on your side?

COACH TAYLOR: Just weathering the storm, especially on the road. I thought our defense really did a good job. Just I know they ran for whatever yards they ran for. But you found they played the style of defense we needed to play today, came up with three big takeaways. Our team never panics. Seen us down by a whole lot. We weren't down today, but we've been down 22, 24 points and it never fazes our guys. Tie games down the stretch is something that our guys live for.

Q. You were talking about the two-point conversion in the first half?

COACH TAYLOR: It really is. And they get into heavy personnel, 23 personnel, whatever it was, give the ball to Derrick Henry and our guys found a way to make a stop. That's a big moment in the game that maybe goes unnoticed.

Q. How many yards do you think you needed there from Joe? (Indiscernible) got 19.

COACH TAYLOR: We needed a little less than that. I don't remember what yard line we were on when we snapped the ball, but the focus was to try to get the ball to the 41. The wind factors into that a little bit, so depending on the stadium and the direction you're going, but we feel we needed to get it around the 40.

Q. What was your reaction with the interception? What has he meant to your defense this year?

COACH TAYLOR: You just felt like something like that was going to happen, to be quite honest. I felt that game wasn't over, it wasn't going to go into overtime. Something big was going to happen. And Logan (Wilson) just has a knack for finding those balls, whether he's the one that just takes it away or gets them on the tips, he's been doing that since the Pittsburgh game and the Chicago game. He's done it all year, and he's a heck of a linebacker.

Q. Did you have that play, did you have that play in mind? It was a quick turnover --

COACH TAYLOR: We were talking about something very similar, had we gotten the ball in two minutes. Those were the conversations we had really before their drive starts. And, OK, you look up, there's 24 seconds or whatever it is. And so we're only going to have time for maybe two or three of them. We had two timeouts. We were in good position to hit all areas of the field, which we could have depending on the coverage structure. He just got a matchup with Ja'Marr (Chase) that he liked and he took it.

Q. (Indiscernible) why are you all able to bounce back and (indiscernible)?

COACH TAYLOR: Just a resilient group. They don't panic. They know that we've got a lot of talent. Someone can step up to make a play to put us in it. And that's what this team is all about.

Q. Turnovers, what about the fourth-down stop?

COACH TAYLOR: It's a turnover. And what yard line were they on, the 35? So, they had a chance to either, I guess, go for it. And so that takes three points off the board. They could have kicked a field goal, could have gotten the first down and gotten three or seven. That's a turnover that took points off the board. I'm proud of our defense for that stop.

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