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What the Bengals Said After Week 18 Win Over Ravens

HC Zac Taylor

Head Coach Zach Taylor

Zach, that seemed like kind of a grind game today after the first couple of series ...

"(That's) AFC North football. Show me a pretty game that anybody's won in this division yet, and that'll be the first one I've seen. (I'm) so proud of the way these guys just found a way to get it done by two scores. I thought our defense was excellent taking the ball away and finishing off some drives. The offense tacked on the points when we need to. Certainly, there are some things that we can clean up that we can be better off particularly in offense, but (I'm) just proud of the way that these guys found a way to win in January. That's all that matters. (We) finished the second half of season 8-0 the right way, and so these guys got a lot of confidence right now heading into the playoffs."

Was that a playoff-winning celebration after the game? Is today's celebration any different?

"Today was just about finishing off the regular season and being back-to-back divisional champs for the first time in franchise history. So again, that's something to celebrate. These guys have worked their tails off to be in this position; anything less, and we wouldn't be in this position right now, (if) we'd have anything less than the last eight games. (I'm) so just really proud of the way these guys have focused every single week that's so hard in this league. There isn't another team that's won the last eight games in a row — maybe San Francisco. (I'm) just really proud of the way these guys have been able to focus and find different ways to win."

We heard your comments about the NFL and going into playoffs, and Joe Mixon had a celebration with the coin toss after he scored today. Was there any extra fire going into this game based on that?

"I think these guys channeled everything the right way, and we knew again how tough it is to win this division. Whether we're at home or on the road, I'm just proud of the way these guys focused, found a way to get it done and secure the No. 3 seed, and now have get a chance to play these guys again (and) host a playoff game. That's a huge deal to be able to do that. And so, again, we have to have great focus going into this next game."

What was the cause of the struggles on offense in the second half?

"It's just not enough consistency. We had some three-and-outs and some third-and-ones, fourth-and-ones. (It was a) tough situation there and just not enough. (We) didn't put our guys in a good enough position, (and we) didn't execute well enough in some instances as well. (It was) not our sharpest game that we've had. There's a lot to learn from this week and be better next week."

Did you keep anything back knowing that you could play them next week?

"There certainly is. You don't want to put it all out there. You want to have control the game early. I thought it'd be a decent control. Certainly anything can happen of course in the game, but there's that balance there."

How challenging was it to stay dialed in and focused this week with everything that's happened?

"Yeah, it's a challenge. This was a strange week (and a) strange game. Again, our players do everything to handle it the right way. Now, we get a chance to put this one behind us and just focus on playoffs."

Baltimore had several players inactive today in J.K. Dobbins and Mark Andrews among others that will probably play next week. When you see that they are not starting guys today that you could face next week, how do you read that as a coach?

"You really try to just put that out (of your mind) because you gotta go play football. We needed this win. There was a lot on the line for us (with) potentially losing the home field game ... There was just too much on the line and we had to block that out and just play whoever they put out there (in front of us)."

QB Joe Burrow

How does it feel to clinch home field advantage next week?

"We needed this one. If we didn't win this one, I guess technically we would have won the division, but it wouldn't have felt like it. So, it's good to get this one. We're going to have to play better next week to get the win, especially me. It's great to get the win, but on to the next one."

What is the locker room celebration like right now?

"It's always nice to celebrate with the guys that you work so hard with and to achieve something together. It's a special feeling that I don't think a lot of people get to experience. I always cherish those moments."

What does it mean to win back-to-back division titles?

"That's our standard now. We're going to celebrate it every single time we do it. We're going to smoke our cigars and wear our T-shirts and hats, but we expect that every year."

How did you feel about your performance?

"Did not like the way I played today. I missed throws I usually make, but I won't miss those again."

What was your take on the idea of a coin flip tiebreaker?

"It is what it is, doesn't matter now. I would love to get that same opportunity for us in the second round if we happen to get there, but that's not what they decided. So, it is what it is."

What's the challenge of playing a team in back-to-back weeks?

"It's tough because one, they're in our division so we play them all the time. They know our scheme, they know our guys, they know what we're trying to do. They make it tough on us. They're going to be able to run some stuff off of a lot of the defenses they ran today, and we're going to be able to do the same. It's going to be a tough challenge for us, but them as well."

Is there an 'Us against the world' mentality with this team?

"Yeah, I think with all the stuff that happened this week, with all the changes and everything, that's what it is."

Did you think you'd get pulled from today's game early?

"Against those guys? These AFC North games are never going to go like that. It's going to be too close at the end. It's too hard, too tough. That's the way these games are."

WR Ja'Marr Chase

What does it mean to be AFC North Champions for the second year in a row after what you've had to overcome?

"It means a lot just for me and myself. Just to set goals for myself and accomplish goals after injury. It's a big difference. My teammates all lifted me up and then when I came back they didn't think anything was wrong — everything was the same."

How do you feel about getting a chance to play the Ravens again next week?

"It's a team we play twice every year. They found a way to stop us or slow us down a little bit. If we're at the top of our stuff there's no stopping us."

WR Tyler Boyd

Talk about the feeling in the locker room right now?

"It's fantastic. It's always a great atmosphere when you're a winning team. The camaraderie around us is getting bigger and bigger and the motivation that we carry is going to going to continue build."

What were your thoughts on a possible coin flip scenario?

"It was dope. We felt that the league was trying to play us and it wasn't fair, so at the end of the day we gave them what they want."

Was it a motivating factor?

"No. We're built to be motivated, the way our team is. We motivate ourselves. Like I said, we keep the camaraderie going whether it's the defense, offense — we just figure out a way to go."

What were your thoughts on how today's game would impact whether you were home or maybe had to play on the road next week?

"We weren't just satisfied with them just giving it to us, the AFC North. We were going out there and taking it."

RB Joe Mixon

Talk about the coin flip celebration idea ...

"I'll be honest, the best thing about that was the actual flip. That thing was in the air and it just landed."

The win today left no doubt who won the division, now what goes into getting ready for the playoffs?

"Next week, we'll be ready to go to work again on Monday and be ready for our next game."

DE Trey Hendrickson

How did you guys react to the coin flip possibility and all of that?

"I think it just motivated us a little bit. For us, we knew we had to win in order to wear these hats. We earned it. They know it, we know it. There's no question now. There's no coin flip even on the table. They're coming to Cincinnati."

DE Sam Hubbard

The game next week will be in the same place. Do you expect it to be a different game?

"It's a different game for anybody you play in the playoffs for speed, and it's a whole other level for intensity."

Baltimore didn't have their starting quarterback and running back, so how do you go off of this film?

"It's a lot of the same guys. There's going to be certain points we can make improvement. That's what we're going to do."

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