Zac Taylor thought Bengals could steal a first down with late Samaje Perine run

USA TODAY Sports

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald pressured Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow into an incompletion on fourth down late in the fourth quarter to seal a Super Bowl win for his team, but the Bengals would have had more chances to extend the game had things gone differently on third down.

A Burrow completion to Tyler Boyd on first down left the Bengals a yard short of a first down and an incompletion set up a third down that saw head coach Zac Taylor call a run for Samaje Perine. Perine was stuffed for no gain by Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines, which forced the Bengals to call a timeout ahead of the fateful fourth down.

After the game, Taylor explained the team’s thinking in that spot.

“Yeah, they were getting a little softer and we thought we could steal a first down there and come back and take some shots at the end zone,” Taylor said. “Just didn’t work out.”

Perine typically plays on passing downs and had only run the ball one other time during the game. Joe Mixon had run the ball 15 times for 72 yards, but Taylor was not asked why he didn’t turn to the team’s lead back for one of the most consequential snaps of the year.

25 responses to “Zac Taylor thought Bengals could steal a first down with late Samaje Perine run

  1. Going for it on the first drive was dumb. Handed the Rams at least 3 points and it ended up being 7.

    Bungles fans have to incensed.

  2. Huge play … If Perine extends the ball maybe a first down but Donald and Gaines slung him back. On the next play the Bengals didnt give their left guard help and Donald was by him in a flash.

  3. I think trying to sneak in a run play late in the game is great idea.

    Yours,
    Dak “credit to them” Prescott

  4. Cincy was doomed once the Rams found a way to get Eli Apple covering Kupp. A sack of potatoes would have played better. At least there’s a chance someone would trip over it.

  5. Taylor’s been making boneheaded calls all season long and letting his team bail him out – that streak of improbable luck he relied on had to come to an end at some point. He absolutely soiled the bed last night with his play calling (yet again), and this time it was too much to overcome, costing this team a win. All he had to do was punt in the first quarter and remember who his starting RB is when he needed a yard.

  6. Early in the season, Taylor had a problem with getting cute in crunch time and taking the ball out of the hands of the team’s best players. He got out of that habit and the team went on a huge hot streak. Unfortunately, he fell back into his old habits last night. I hope he learns from it.

  7. Late in the Super Bowl you win or lose with your best. Mixon needs to be on the field in that situation.

  8. One thing that’s been overlooked on that play is that the Bengals got a bad spot from the ref. Watch the replay: it should’ve been fourth and half-a-foot instead of fourth and half-a-yard. Bengals fans could legitimately complain about that one.

  9. Taylor isn’t a great gameday coach. Lots of strange decisions in the game. Mixon should have been in there on second down to secure the first down. He’d been getting that yard all night. No way you go three straight plays and don’t pick up one yard from midfield with a Super Bowl on the line.

  10. Every game is made up of dozens of moments, opportunities and lessons contained in each play. Often times, coaching decisions are amplified in retrospect and can look better or worse depending on the results. Coach Taylor made thousands of decisions throughout the season that resulted in his team playing in the Super Bowl and, had they figured out a way to neutralize the pass rush in the 4th quarter, the outcome would have been different. Out of emotion, sometimes it is easier to blame a particular coach or player. Sometimes the other team was slightly better when it mattered most. Bengals fans should be happy that the team turned its fortunes around so quickly and have a bright future and talent on both the coaching staff and roster.

  11. I had the same question: Where was Mixon? You put your best players on the field when it counts. Zac Taylor didn’t do that and they paid for it.

  12. Another stupid decision of a coach that was to greedy on passing instead of running the ball! Mixon. Really?

  13. Bad choice to get cute in the Super Bowl coach its win or go home not a regular game. Refs blew it in the last 4-6 minutes no flags all game and then they had to make this story about them!

  14. I wasn’t so impressed with any of the coaching in this game, either team, all phases. No one really did a great job. The playing wasn’t that great, either.

    Is this really the best the NFL had to offer this season? It all seemed pretty mediocre.

  15. computojon says:
    February 14, 2022 at 10:59 am
    One thing that’s been overlooked on that play is that the Bengals got a bad spot from the ref. Watch the replay: it should’ve been fourth and half-a-foot instead of fourth and half-a-yard. Bengals fans could legitimately complain about that one.

    8 8 Rate This
    —————————

    Goodell does little things that some people don’t notice. And then he does big things like the bogus call on Wilson in the waning minutes on a text book man coverage play as the ball was thrown behind Kupp.

    Unacceptable call.

  16. wordboxer says:
    February 14, 2022 at 11:08 am
    Every game is made up of dozens of moments, opportunities and lessons contained in each play. Often times, coaching decisions are amplified in retrospect and can look better or worse depending on the results. Coach Taylor made thousands of decisions throughout the season that resulted in his team playing in the Super Bowl and, had they figured out a way to neutralize the pass rush in the 4th quarter, the outcome would have been different. Out of emotion, sometimes it is easier to blame a particular coach or player. Sometimes the other team was slightly better when it mattered most. Bengals fans should be happy that the team turned its fortunes around so quickly and have a bright future and talent on both the coaching staff and roster.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    “had they figured out a way to neutralize the pass rush in the 4th quarter, the outcome would have been different. ” Really? Perhaps if they had made the 4th down conversion in the 1st quarter. or had less penalties, or had a better offensive line, or had their starting RB attempt the 3rd and short, or…I could flip it. Perhaps if OBJ didn’t get injured, or Tee Higgins been called for the facemark on his 75 yard TD reception it wouldn’t have even been a close game. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Guess what? Bengals lost.

  17. The Rams couldn’t stop Mixon. Even on their best play against him, he was getting a yard.

    I agree – the coaching in this game was invisible.

  18. Having Perine run instead of Mixon was a bad call but nowhere near as bad as when the refs rigged the game for Goodell.

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