Taylor explains clock and challenge mishaps in Bengals defeat to Steelers

·2-min read

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has explained the reasoning behind two apparent gaffes that occurred during Sunday's overtime defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last season's defeated Super Bowl side had a rollercoaster ride in Week 1 of the new season, quarterback Joe Burrow having five turnovers – four of which came before half-time.

It was, however, two questionable decisions from the sideline that ultimately paved the way for the Steelers' dramatic win, one of which saw Taylor's special teams unit head out with a running clock to punt the ball early.

That gave Pittsburgh enough time to get into field goal range and win it, with questions asked as to why the Bengals did not run the clock all the way down – and Taylor reasoned it was due to a change in long-snapper, after Clark Harris suffered an early injury and was ruled out.

"New operation. We snapped there with 13 seconds, I understand that, trust me, we'd rather do something different," he said after the game.

"But just trying to make sure the operation ran smoothly, it turned out that we sacrificed some seconds just to make sure that we were all on the same page there."

The Bengals may have been able to avoid overtime entirely had the team elected to challenge the play that saw Ja'Marr Chase score an apparent touchdown that was not caught by the officials, Taylor again admitting mistakes were made.

"Part of it was that that's the hardest place for us to see in the entire field is that spot. I didn't think there was a chance there was a touchdown there initially. So, we got on the ball to run it in quickly," he added.

"It's hard with all the craziness in that moment, all the communication to get that 'Stop, stop. Let's evaluate this.'

"We just couldn't get it done fast enough by the time we'd seen a replay and realised 'Oh shoot, he might have gotten in there.' We've just got to learn from those.

"It's a fine line — when you get the ball on the inch, you just want to punch it in real quick. In hindsight, maybe he was in and we could have given ourselves a chance."

The Bengals travel to Dallas in Week 2 to face a Cowboys side set to be without quarterback Dak Prescott due to injury.