The Cincinnati Bengals were up 21-7 with the ball in their own half of the field following a third-quarter punt by the Minnesota Vikings. Up until this point, the Bengals had the momentum, potentially entering the fourth quarter up two scores.
Cincinnati took over on the 21 with Joe Burrow immediately getting sacked, putting them back to their own 13. A nice dart to Ja’Marr Chase returned 15 of those yards. The Bengals had a 4th and 1 on their own 30.
Zac Taylor went for it. It was a mind-boggling move as Taylor could’ve forced a Vikings offense that had totaled just seven points through more than 35 minutes to go the length of the field.
That wasn’t what he opted to do. Instead, he made a move that lit Twitter on and would’ve likely still garnered some criticism even if it had worked out. Taylor ran Mixon up the gut, and he was stuffed.
Four plays later, it was a one-score game. The Vikings eventually forced overtime, and while the Bengals managed to somehow, someway scoop up a fumble and dry for a field goal, Taylor’s mistake will not be forgotten.
That said, Taylor spoke on it following the dramatic overtime victory, backing his move. He also commented on his aggressiveness, saying the team isn’t going to sit back and let the game come at them.
Taylor: "I don't take back the decisions." Said he'd re-do his play call, wasn't thrilled with it.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 12, 2021
Understanding the magnitude of the mistake, Twitter was not happy with many ripping Taylor for his decision-making in the Bengals opener. However, the Bengals winning saved everything for the third-year head coach.
Here are some of the thoughts from Twitter.
Zac Taylor decisions today— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 12, 2021
And that’s what happens when you’re up 14 and go for it on your own 30.— Drew Garrison (@Drew_LRT) September 12, 2021
Zac Taylor just gave Minnesota life they should’ve never had. That is so bad. #Bengals
If I had a son playing middle school football and Zac Taylor was the head coach, I would move to a different district.— Dave Biddle (@davebiddle) September 12, 2021
Zac Taylor essentially gives the Vikings 7 points because of an unnecessary gamble on 4th down— Chicco Nacion (@chicco_n) September 12, 2021
What an awful, awful decision by Zac Taylor to go for it. Holy cow.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 12, 2021
Taylor did his best, wanting to show some faith in an offense that has been performing well. In that instance, it just wasn’t the smart move and ended up almost costing the team the game. Live and learn.