Zac Taylor roasted for costly playcalls late in Super Bowl loss
The Cincinnati Bengals came up just short against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, and Zac Taylor is facing some criticism for his playcalling late in the game.
The Bengals got the ball with 1:25 remaining in the game after L.A. scored a touchdown to take a 23-20 lead. They had plenty of time and two timeouts, but they picked up just one first down before turning the ball over on downs. Taylor’s first puzzling decision came when he called for a run up the gut with Semaje Perine on 3rd-and-1. Perine was predictably stuffed by Aaron Donald.
On 3rd and 1 with the game on the line, the Bengals called a handoff to Samaje Perine to the right side of the line, right into Aaron Donald
This play call made zero sense pic.twitter.com/wsrM6unrFF
— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) February 14, 2022
It’s unclear why Joe Mixon wasn’t on the field. Mixon had a Pro Bowl season and was one of Cincinnati’s best playmakers all season. Perine had 55 during the regular season and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. He finished the Super Bowl with zero yards on two carries compared to Mixon’s 72 yards on 15 rushes. Calling Perine’s number in that situation was inexcusable.
Taylor then called a pass play on 4th-and-1. The Bengals needed less than a yard, so stacking the line and running a sneak probably would have been the smart move. Instead, Burrow ended up throwing an incomplete pass. The ball was intended for Perine, who took some heat for not diving.
How does Samaje Perine not dive for this ball…? pic.twitter.com/WfLxkWwKAf
— Joseph Herff (@JosephHerffNFL) February 14, 2022
Taylor was roasted on social media for the calls.
Why give the ball to Perine when you have Mixon???
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) February 14, 2022
Let us never forget that the Bengals gave the ball to Samaje Perine with the Super Bowl on the line.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) February 14, 2022
Why the Bengals kept running Perine on 3rd and short is beyond me
— Lou Merloni (@LouMerloni) February 14, 2022
On the biggest plays of the game, Rams gave it to Cooper Kupp. Bengals gave it to Samaje Perine.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 14, 2022
Perine with the carry on 3rd and 1 wut. Idc about fooling the defense, that's stupid
— Nick Kostos (@TheKostos) February 14, 2022
The losing coach is always going to be second-guessed, but that sequence certainly was not Taylor’s best. While he had a gutsy call earlier in the game that paid off in a big way (video here), the questionable playcalls late are the ones that will stick with people.
Photo: Jan 2, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the sideline in the first quarter during a Week 17 NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports