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Zac Taylor explains why Samaje Perine was in for Joe Mixon

The Bengals’ head coach offers transparency about a play that had a lot of fans frustrated.

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Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Bengals fans have re-lived so many moments from the Super Bowl. Some on account of how the game was called (*cough* Logan Wilson played that perfectly). Some on account of personnel (the o-line needed to give Joe Burrow just a split second longer to make the game-winning play on fourth down).

But one play that seems to have been entirely in the team’s control was the third-and-one run call that was (officially) stopped short. Coach Zac Taylor chose to give the ball to Samaje Perine on a day in which star running back Joe Mixon couldn’t be stopped. So why did he put the games in the hands of a backup?

Here’s what Taylor had to say:

“We were in 2-minute mode and Samaje has done a great job. His role has really been as a protecting back and a lot of the things that come with that, off of 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.’ 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.”

First of all, wow. Taylor took all of the blame. He gave Mixon a shoutout for being deserving of getting the ball and even vindicated the running backs coach. Moreover, he essentially blamed himself for letting the play call run down too far.

Second of all, Taylor continues to show why he is a big part of the success in Cincinnati. He may have some growing to do as a play caller, but as a leader of men, he is outstanding, already one of the very best in the NFL.

We reflected on the Super Bowl loss as well as what the Bengals need to do to improve their offensive line with AllBengals’ Mike Santagata in the video below:

You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: