This article originally appeared on USA TODAY Sports+: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals ooze confidence during historic playoff run

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals ooze confidence during historic playoff run

Safid Deen
USA TODAY Sports+

His hair slicked back after a show, Joe Burrow sat down for the postgame press conference classing up a plain white T-shirt with a pair of Cartier sunglasses after the biggest win of his NFL career.

Burrow had just led the Cincinnati Bengals to their first playoff win in 31 years — five years before he was born.

Yet the former No. 1 pick was nonchalant, as he typically is, about the victory — unlike many rabid Bengals fans impatiently waiting for the moment.

“Yeah, it felt good,” Burrow said before dissecting how many ways the Bengals could have played better in their wild-card win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The achievement was certainly not lost on Burrow.

His subdued temperament, however, was by design.

“I think the fans were really excited, but I tried to downplay it because this is how it’s going to be from here on out,” Burrow said this week. “It was a great win for us, but this is the standard for the bare minimum going forward.”

If Burrow thought ending the playoff-win drought was casual, imagine how he’ll feel if he leads Cincinnati to its first postseason road victory Saturday when the Bengals travel to face the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans.

DOC'S MORNING LINE:Final prediction for Bengals-Titans in Saturday's playoff game

The Bengals have reached the Super Bowl twice in franchise history, losing in 1981 and 1988. But they have never won a road playoff game, losing all eight of their previous matchups.

It’s factoids like these that can mean everything to fans, but not hold as much weight for a young player like Burrow.

Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates following the Bengals 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders during the AFC Wild Card playoff game.

The 25-year-old Bengals’ starter oozes confidence that reached his coaches and teammates during his second NFL season.

“I think that’s one of the biggest jobs of a quarterback is displaying confidence in yourself," Burrow said. "Part of being a leader on a team is showing that confidence in all your other guys as well."

Burrow and the Bengals set high expectations for themselves and will certainly have their hands full against the Titans.

Tennessee has the fourth-best defense in the red zone and hope star running back Derrick Henry is somewhat effective in his speedy return from foot surgery two months ago.

'HAPPY TO BE BACK':Titans RB Derrick Henry expected to play Saturday vs. Bengals

The Bengals bring momentum and confidence against the Titans, who had time to rest with the bye week.

Burrow did just enough to help the Bengals advance last week with a 26-19 win over the Raiders.

He threw touchdowns to tight end C.J. Uzomah and receiver Tyler Boyd in tight windows inside the 10-yard line. He relied on former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase to catch nine throws for 116 yards to consistently march down the field.

He relied on Bengals rookie kicker Evan McPherson to nail four field goals when the offense stalled in the red zone against the Raiders’ red-zone defense that ranked last in the NFL.

And the Bengals sealed the win thanks to a game-ending interception by Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt.

“We could’ve played better on offense in the second half so that was disappointing,” Burrow said after his initial “it felt good” statement. “Thought we played really well in the first half and made plays when we needed to. The defense stepped up in the fourth quarter, so it’s an exciting win and on to the next one.”

If Burrow’s poise and self-assurance weren’t enough, Cincinnati’s 34-31 win at home over the Kansas City Chiefs Jan. 2 was further proof they could reach new heights this postseason.

THE HOT HAND:The Cincinnati Bengals passing game can reach its final gear against Titans

The Bengals were in a must-win situation with their playoff hopes on the line, and they beat a Chiefs team that reached the last two Super Bowls. Cincinnati also captured the AFC North title that day.

One more playoff win and the Bengals will reach the AFC title game.

They certainly like their chances.

“We feel like if we’re on top of our game, we can beat any team in this league. We’re not afraid of anybody,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. This team’s got a ton of confidence. We always know it’s going to be difficult. … We feel like we can put pressure on teams as well.

"We can be aggressive, and teams have to worry about us. And our players really feel that and apply that.”

CARDED:Bengals coach Zac Taylor got carded delivering game ball at Mt. Lookout Tavern