QB Joe Burrow

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What did you see on the (touchdown) drive to Tee Higgins?

The biggest play of that drive was the third-and-10 to Trenton Irwin hitting that back shoulder throw. That was a throw we worked this week with him. He doesn't get a lot of opportunities and he continues to make plays when the opportunities present themselves.

What led you all to work on that in practice?

We felt good about what he has been doing and we had about one or two third-down plays where he was in the boundary by himself and running that route, and we were able to execute.

Why has this offense been able to tweak its identity?

Guys stepping up. It was great to get a win like this. This is kind of like how they all were down the stretch last year. Maybe we left a lot on the field on offense, defense stepped up and made the plays in the fourth quarter to go win the game.

What have been the keys for the last four or five games?

Finding completions. The run game starting to show itself. We ran really, really well today against a great front, a great run defense. We were really physical. Protection was awesome. Our offensive line gets better and better and guys are making plays.

Did this game have a grind and your team wanted to make plays is the second half?

Yes, we left a lot on the field the first half and obviously you would like to have those back. We didn't let that affect the second half. We were able to come out, and I thought for the most part, play well in the second half. In the fourth quarter guys made one on one plays to win the game really.

Is this the type of game successful playoff teams win?

This is the type of games great teams win. It's not always going to be pretty. It's the NFL and you are playing really, really good teams on the opposing end. It's not going to be pretty all the time, but you got to find ways to win and now we are starting to do that.

What was key on getting Tee Higgins going?

Just getting him more opportunities. He just continues to make plays in his one on one opportunities and if you give him a chance, he is just so big and strong, he is going to go out and make the plays.

Was that the bench route?

Yes.

What impact did Samaje Perine have on the game?

He just runs so hard. I don't know what his stats were, but I think he had to be close to 100, I think. But he just continues to make the best of his opportunities. I am so happy for him to get the chance and continue to make the most out of it.

Why is the bench route so successful?

We have really good players on the outside that run vertically and can come out of it quickly. We got great players.

Did you know you were going to Tee (Higgins) on that play?

Yeah, when the going gets tough I'm going to find the guys that I have the most trust in, and Tee (Higgins) is that guy. He just continues to make plays when his opportunities come.

What was said about how physical your team was perceived?

I think we showed how physical we were today. We ran the ball against a team that hasn't really given up many rushing yards all year. That's a credit to the offensive line being really physical, strong, understanding the scheme and to Samaje (Perine) and Trayveon (Williams) on running really hard, and making the most out of whenever they get contact at two yards and fall forward for five. That's the key.

What was so special about Joe Burrow the running back today?

It just kind of fell that way. Some games end up being like that where maybe they are doing a great job in coverage and the offensive line protect great, and I was able to find some lanes and get out and steal a couple of first downs. I think that is a part of my game I can continue to utilize throughout my career.

Is it that time of year when you guys realize you have to have wins?

It is December now and this is when football counts. We are 7-4. We are in a great spot. We are happy with our continued improvement throughout the season but now it time to show what kind of championship mentality we have with this coming schedule. I know we will be ready for it.

What is it in your make that you thrive for this type of game?

I just think I prepare really well and I understand what I am doing. I want the ball in my hands in those kinds of situations. I have got great people around me that I have trust in to make plays.

How important is Hayden Hurst in this offense?

He continues to play really well. You see over and over he catches the ball short and gets seven yards, and that's so key to have as a tight end when you have guys like we have on the outside. Maybe you are not going to get a lot of opportunities, but when you do, you have to get us those extra dirty yards and that is what he does so well.

What do you have to say about the progress of the offensive line?

They're playing as good as anybody in the league. Our run game has really taken off. Our protection was awesome today. I had so much time in the pocket to be able to find guys or try to find an escape route and go make plays with my legs. I am so proud of those guys for how they are playing.

Can you talk about how the defense played today?

Whenever we play teams like this I have so much confidence in our guys because what I think what we do best is stop the run, and our guys DJ (Reader), B.J. (Hill), Sam (Hubbard), Trey (Hendrickson), they just play so hard it's tough to find those extra yards in the run game because we gang tackle. They play with so much effort. It was fun to watch them play today.

Do you feel like the team is playing championship style football?

Yeah, we continue to get better. We are having great practices. We got a big-time schedule coming up, a big game this week against a team that we know well, we've played in the past and we will be ready for it. The schedule coming up is obviously tough but this is what it takes in December and January to go and win one.

Is it fun watching Mike Hilton make plays?

That guy is so fun to watch. He is just this little guy out there that doesn't care about his body, just throws it around, doesn't matter how big the other guy is and that's the kind of guy you want on your team. Great locker room guy, great player who just makes plays.

How happy are you not to play against DJ Reader?

It is great to have that guy back just because he is so big and strong, understands the scheme and plays so hard. We are starting to get all our guys back healthy, and I think we are going to take off here.

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