Was Zac Taylor trying to call timeout before game-changing interception?
The Cincinnati Bengals pulled out a miracle victory in the final minute of their divisional playoff game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. But Bengals coach Zac Taylor almost prevented it from happening altogether.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a game-changing interception as the team was driving with less than 30 seconds left in a 16-16 ballgame.
THE BENGALS INTERCEPT IT WITH 20 SECONDS LEFT. #NFLPlayoffs
— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2022
The interception gave Cincinnati the ball near midfield. A 19-yard pass play from Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase on the very next play put the Bengals in field-goal range. Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson then won the game with a 52-yard field goal as time expired.
Going back to the crucial Tannehill interception, video went viral of Taylor appearing to be calling for a timeout before the ball was even snapped. In the video, Taylor could be seen running up to the line official but failing to get his attention. The play proceeded, and Tannehill threw the pick.
If Zac Taylor was located closer to the line judge, the Bengals have a timeout and not an interception pic.twitter.com/5Wdon6uZAg
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) January 23, 2022
Others also noticed that Taylor seemed to be asking for a timeout.
I bet Taylor is happy they didn't give him that timeout he was trying to call!
— Quincy Avery (@QuincyAvery) January 23, 2022
Zac Taylor wanted a timeout before the INT low key.
— C.J. Holmes 🦹🏾♂️ (@CjHolmes22) January 23, 2022
The Bengals had two timeouts remaining at the time, and using one might have made sense since the Titans were on third down. Getting a stop on third down would have forced a punt and left at least some time for Cincinnati to do something before time expired in regulation.
Others pointed out though that Taylor may have been calling for a penalty against Tennessee. In the video above, you can see Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan moving before the snap, potentially creating grounds for a false start.
In any case, the interception sequence ended up putting the Bengals in a position to win the game. If he actually was trying to call a timeout there, you can bet that Taylor is thanking his lucky stars that it was not granted. Otherwise he might have dethroned this fellow head coach for the worst timeout call of the NFL season.