Do the Bengals need extra motivation against Kansas City?

CINCINNATI (WXIX) — Joe Burrow says the Kansas City Chiefs, who have beaten the Bengals in each of their last three encounters, are still the team to beat in the AFC.

The Bengals have beaten the Chiefs in each of their last three meetings, all with Burrow leading. But Kansas City has played in five consecutive AFC championship games and won a Super Bowl in that span.

“We know the team we’re playing against, a team that’s been at this game for the last five seasons and they’ve all been at this stadium so they’re still the team to beat for me.” said Burrow. “And we’ll get her.”

The Bengals have capitalized on perceived disrespect from pundits and even the league itself, using contempt (real or imagined) as bulletin board material en route to a 10-game unbeaten streak and last Sunday’s smash against the Buffalo Bills. Now that so many are becoming aware of what’s going on in Cincinnati, does the team risk losing focus? Not according to Burrow.

“No one in this dressing room needs more motivation than what’s in them and that’s why we’re so good,” Burrow said.

It was Burrow who got a significant chunk of the praise from Buffalo. He played a nearly flawless game and displayed a measured, methodical patience in performing completions and moving the chains. In contrast, Bills quarterback Josh Allen was unpredictable, missing easy checkdowns and appeared scared thanks to a masterful game plan from defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

Burrow said, “You’re trying to find the balance between shooting and taking risks and pushing the ball down…and also taking care of the ball, especially when your defense is playing so well. As a quarterback you always have to find a balance, and that changes from game to game.”

Burrow continued: “Sometimes, you know, if you want to push the ball across the field or stick it in a narrow window because you know you can, there might not be a reason to. If we hadn’t gotten up big last week, there might have been a few throws at one moment where I’m trying to push the ball down a little bit more. But we ran the ball well and our defense played great, so maybe check down here and there instead of fitting things into a narrow window. So I think we’ve made progress as a team in understanding these situations and understanding when we can and can’t take risks.”

Burrow, who goes by a variety of nicknames, all of which stem from his attitude under pressure, said he tries to play without emotion because it brings him his best.

“You can say whatever you want in the dressing room and to each other [the media], but then when you come onto the field it’s even,” he said. “Can’t be too high or too low because bad things happen throughout the game and if you get too low you can’t get out.”

Head coach Zac Taylor stated Burrow “had the right edge at the right time” but could retire due to confidence in his preparation.

“We all know what it feels like to be unprepared at the last second, to give a presentation or to do something, and deep down you know you’re not really ready. And you know the difference when you put in all the work and go up there and nail it. I feel like our team embodies that. They put in a lot of work and then you can feel their confidence when they talk because they know they’re prepared.”

Burrow noted that this Bengals team is more experienced and rested than last year because the players are taking better care of their bodies.

“I think last season helped a lot of guys understand how to take care of their bodies during the long, deep playoff run and that’s part of the experience that helps you win those kinds of games, not just the field stuff and going into those hostile environments, but getting through those long seasons and understanding where you might have been better off if you were doing something different off the field last year,” Burrow said. “I think the guys have made progress and taken that to heart.”

According to the Bengals quarterback, Cincinnati should be ready for the Chiefs to add new folds to their game plans.

“They’re going to be studying all three of these games the same way we are, so we have to be prepared for anything,” Burrow said.

One thing that isn’t a problem is the noise of the crowd. The Bengals handled it well enough in last year’s AFC Championship game and Burrow is confident the team will follow suit next Sunday.

“It was definitely loud, but we’re excellent in situations like this. Our communication was great on the road. It was impeccable in Buffalo last week in a really noisy, hostile environment and that’s what we’re proud of: the communication, to be on the same page and move on from there.”

More from Burrow below:

About his leadership style

“I’m just trying to be myself. I think that’s the only way you can lead because the guys can tell if you’re trying to fake it. So I think the best way to be a leader is to be yourself and go from there.”

In the offensive coaching staff

“You are doing a great job. I think we have the best coaching staff in the league. They make adjustments better than anyone. Whatever we see on the field, there’s always great dialogue on the touchline. We’re always trying to figure out what we can do to attack what we’re seeing and make some explosive plays, stay on track and run the ball well. They do an incredible job throughout the week and then make adjustments on matchdays.”

“I have so much confidence in what we are doing here. I love that about this place. It’s not, the coaches have their process and we have our process and we just do what they say. It’s a collaborative effort. We’re always talking and thinking about new ways we can attack a defense and get better during a week of practice, add a route here, add a game there, and that’s why I think we’re so good. We have great footballers up there who know their game plans and defence.”

Ja’Marr Chase is moved around and used in several ways:

“Man, he’s one of the best. Anyone watching tape can see it. You can double it, you can muddy it, you can have a guy follow it… he’ll get his. You just have to find a way to touch him because he’s so dynamic with the ball in his hands.”

“I can see it in the film[…] The guys fly away from him and bounce off him like he’s a wall. It’s crazy how stocky and strong he is with the ball in his hands. If he’s got the ball in space and the guys are trying to tackle him and he’s running through them like they’re not there… They’re not going to arm tackle him. It’s just not possible.”

“One can only tell how much attention he draws from the defense by placing him in different places. He draws so much attention because he’s so fast, big and strong that sometimes when he’s not the primary it opens up opportunities for other guys.”

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