'You hate to see that happen' – Bengals coach Taylor feared for Tagovailoa

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

Zac Taylor was "just really proud" of the Cincinnati Bengals after they toppled the Miami Dolphins 27-15 – as he expressed concern for the injured Tua Tagovailoa.

The Bengals head coach saw opposition quarterback Tagovailoa taken away to hospital in the second quarter after sustaining what the Dolphins said were head and neck injuries.

Tagovailoa took a blow to the back of his head in a Josh Tupou sack and appeared to suffer a seizure upon initial contact with the pitch. It came after he also took a heavy hit in last week's win over the Buffalo Bills.

After tight losses to the Steelers and the Cowboys in the opening two weeks, there was relief in the Bengals camp that they had got back to 2-2 for the season, but concern too about the health of Tagovailoa.

Asked about how he handled talks with his players as Tagovailoa received medical attention, Taylor said: "It's a heavy moment. He's a guy with tremendous character, and you hate to see that happen.

"It's a tough moment for everybody, especially them, then to take it to third-and-long, and you've got to come out there and respond. I won't say that there's in-depth conversations going on, but certainly thinking about Tua, and that's a horrible thing to see."

It soon emerged Tagovailoa was to be discharged from hospital in what looked to be a positive update from the Dolphins.

Taylor said Thursday night's win for his Bengals players was "expected, just because we've got a great team", as a record home crowd of 67,260 watched on.

"I love this team. I love everything about them. They didn't hesitate for one second after those first two weeks when all the noise was getting out about expectations," Taylor added.

"They didn't let that affect them for one second. They just came out and answered the bell, and responded for two consecutive weeks. I'm just really proud of them on this stage, against that team. That's a really good football team – they're going to win a lot of games.

"I thought they handled every moment in this game exactly how they needed to, especially in the second half. Capitalising on turnovers, touchdowns, special teams stepping up big – that was just a great way to win a Thursday night game."

The coach rates his group as "championship calibre players" and saluted a "lights-out" performance from quarterback Joe Burrow, who completed 20 of 31 attempts for 287 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

When it comes to defense, Taylor is confident the Bengals are among the best in the business.

"I've got a lot of faith in our defense," he said. "It's like comparing your children, so I'm not comparing them to the other [units], but we know that when need them to step up, they're going to do it. Whether that's putting pressure on the quarterback, being tight in coverage, creating those turnovers they did – that's a really explosive team."

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