NFL

Bengals coach Taylor thinks any other team would have fired him before turnaround

By Sports Desk January 16, 2022

Zac Taylor thanked the Cincinnati Bengals for their trust and patience in him after his team ended a 31-year wait for a victory in the NFL playoffs.

The Bengals held on to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 on Sunday as the Wild Card round began.

Cincinnati led by 14 points towards the end of the first half but had to wait until Germaine Pratt intercepted Derek Carr on fourth down with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter until they could be sure of a massive win.

The Bengals had their lost eight straight postseason games coming into the game, their last win coming back in the 1990 season against the Houston Oilers.

Ending that drought may not have looked likely after Taylor went 6-25-1 across his first two seasons, but the head coach received a vote of confidence from president Mike Brown after the 2020 season and oversaw an impressive turnaround.

The Bengals went from fourth to first in the AFC North in 2021 to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Joe Burrow produced a fine season at quarterback and threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first playoff game.

"Personally, if I coached at any other organization in football, I probably wouldn't be here right now in the third year," Taylor said after the famous win over the Raiders. 

"That's the truth.

"Some of them [the players] might not understand the significance of what happened.

"The city can finally enjoy this team and take the pressure off of the last 31 years. This was significant for a lot of people.

"We've got all the faith in the world in Joe, so there's never any panic on our end.

"Had they been down seven at the end of the game and scored there to tie it, and then we'd have had to kick a field goal to win it, I promise you my heart rate would have been as easy as could be.

"We trust our players - someone is going to step up and win that game for us. I wasn't surprised when it happened."

Taylor dedicated a game ball to owner Brown and another to the city of Cincinnati, with balls being sent out to some prominent local venues after the win.

"The next one [game ball] is a new tradition we start with our first playoff win," added Taylor.

"It goes to the city of Cincinnati and we pass this thing out at bars across Cincinnati and we let the fans celebrate with us. 

"Every playoff game from here on out, the city shares in this with us."

Burrow, who connected with C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Boyd in the endzone, insisted the Bengals were not done yet.

"It's exciting, but this was expected," the QB said. "This isn't the icing on top of the cake or anything, this was the cake. So, we're moving on.

"It's exciting for the city and the state, but we're not going to dwell on that. We're moving forward, whoever we got to play next, we'll be ready to go out and execute the game plan."

Star rookie Ja'Marr Chase had game-leading totals of nine catches and 116 yards for the Bengals, adding a further 23 on the ground.

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