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Zac Taylor Explains His Controversial Running Back Decision

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor on the sidelines.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JANUARY 02: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor answered to one of the more curious decisions on Cincinnati's final drive of Super Bowl LVI.

On key third-and-one and fourth-and-one plays, running back Samaje Perine was on the field over Pro Bowler Joe Mixon; which ultimately ended up being the last two plays of the game.

"We were in 2-minute mode and Samaje has done a great job," Taylor explained via Bengals writer Mike Pretraglia. "His role has really been as a protecting back and a lot of the things that come with that. It’s one of those situations where I called the play a little later on the clock. And so, I was the one that said leave him in there."

"Justin Hill, our running backs coach, asked if we wanted to make a change. I said, 'just leave Samaje in there,'" Taylor continued. "Obviously, it didn’t work out for us. Whether Joe is in there or not, he’s certainly deserving of the opportunity in a key moment in a key game to try to get it for us as our featured back."

"That’s just one of the decisions you make in the moment and you’ve gotta move forward with it," Zac Taylor concluded. "There’s other things I certainly could have done over the course of the game that would have put us in a better position. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done."

The Bengals fell to the Rams 23-20. After a couple of promising gains, Cincy's season ended on a flailing fourth-and-one pass from Joe Burrow with Aaron Donald breathing down his neck.