Matt Harmon and Andy Behrens of Sportzshala Sports explain why there should be more talk about Zach Taylor and Joe Barrow, especially after the Bengals’ big win over the Buffalo Bills.
Matt Harmon: When you think of the AFC elite, for example, it’s like, oh yes, the Bills and Chiefs. They will be there. We should get the Mahomes game, Josh Allen. We should get it again but maybe this time in the AFC Championship. It was a kind of national narrative. Even in their own division, Baltimore will be back. Lamar will be healthy and such. The Bengals might not even win their own division. There will be some regression. I really feel, again, just for Joe Barrow’s sake, usually, again, you’re like, oh, well, there’s Mahomes. There is Josh Allen. And then there’s Herbert. He will join them this year.
And Burrow just kind of dunks on all these guys, right? I think Barrow – despite being number one overall – and again, I think that’s playing in your favor here. They are not overlooked. They are not respected. He was selected as number one overall. He is whatever. He must be here. He must be this guy. But he’s that guy. And I think we kind of don’t talk about it enough.
And then, as far as Zach Taylor is concerned, I definitely think that Zach Taylor is a guy that isn’t talked about much. And even in some circles, like football media or football fans, they almost, like, pick on Zach Taylor or, like, constantly look for him because he was in that group, like, oh, you had a cup of coffee with Sean McVeigh. And you were hired or something like that. But he was… whether or not you nitpick that scheme sometimes, he was an incredible culture changer there and was the guy from the Bills-Bengals game that got cancelled. I gained a lot of respect for him in general there. But I think even before that, he was the guy who demonstrated that no, he is a culture-changing force in this building. And, you know, he and Barrow, I think something like maybe a little overlooked in the national discussions.
ANDY BERENS: Yes, I think it’s fair. But it’s just — it’s really a testament to how — again, how busy the AFC is and how much incredible quarterback talent and how impressive offense there is. Say hello to Brian Callahan. I thought, like, he called a great game, right? Especially… man, the first two goals in Cincinnati, the guys were so open. Burrow is clearly playing very well. But Callahan, I think, has already been interviewed for a job at Indy. You know, teams come to Cincinnati for these coordinators.
So it’s going to be a by-product of success that they’ll have to change coaches every year because those guys were really impressive. Ja’Marr Chase was stupid. Barrow was stupid. I discussed this a bit with Eric Edholm. Burrow made some half-passes that were some of the best passes of the day, right? Just get it out of the field, put it on, like, his receiver’s arm in a situation where, like, only his guy could catch it. And I don’t know. I don’t know how he dropped it there.
I thought he was at his absolute best. And he made some of those shots, you know, on the move, you know, jumped into the pocket right in front of the line of scrimmage. And he just threw a dart 25 yards down the field – just a brilliant game on his part. Untrap Ja’Marr Chase…
Matt Harmon: I was going to say it was an incredible throw.
ANDY BERENS: – for close landing. What a throw. Like, what an absolute dart – there is nowhere else to put it. And then you combine that with ridiculous talent acquisition. We’re going to talk about — I think we should talk about, for example, Buffalo taking over the corps besides Stephon Diggs.
Matt Harmon: Oh yes.
ANDY BERENS: In Cincinnati, it’s not a concern because they only have three very, very good players, one of which is just the talent of the generation, right? Chase is funny. You know, I think it was… maybe it was on ESPN pregame. I forgot who it was. Someone was talking about how great Ja’Marr Chase is in terms of, like how agile his hips are and how this guy can go from like 0 to 100. He’s already… The lower body is already rotated, when he catches a pass and he’s ready to just walk away. And you saw it. You saw it about five times in a game against Buffalo where he passed.
And he never… you know, he never takes the bait, right? He’s always… he’s always clinging to the ball, catching it. But his legs, like, point in a completely different direction. And he’s just ready to take off. He’s just… he’s just amazing. Barrow was damn near perfect again. He threw, like, three different unfinished balls, which were better than any ball that Daniel Jones or Duck Prescott had thrown all day.