NFL

Super Bowl LVI: Taylor not blaming officials after controversial holding call

By Sports Desk February 14, 2022

Zac Taylor refused to blame the officials after a controversial defensive holding call went against the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter of their Super Bowl LVI defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals led 20-16 going into the final minutes at SoFi Stadium, but the Rams produced the longest go-ahead fourth-quarter drive in Super Bowl history to claim a dramatic 23-20 victory thanks to Matthew Stafford's touchdown throw to Cooper Kupp.

Three plays before that touchdown on a back-shoulder fade, the Bengals appeared to have the Rams stopped on the Cincinnati eight-yard line when Logan Wilson batted down a third-down pass to Kupp.

However, Wilson was flagged for holding despite there appearing to be minimal contact between the Bengals linebacker and Kupp, giving the Rams a new set of downs.

A touchdown throw to Kupp was then nullified by offsetting penalties before the wideout drew a pass interference flag on Eli Apple and Stafford failed on a quarterback sneak prior to making the crucial connection with the Super Bowl MVP.

Asked about Wilson's defensive stop being taken away by penalty, Taylor told a post-game media conference: "It's tough, I thought it was a really well-officiated game to be quite honest with you and sometimes it comes down to moments like those, I didn't have a great look at it but I thought the officials did a nice job."

Wilson appeared slightly more willing to criticise, hinting that Kupp may have been guilty of offensive pass interference through a push-off.

"Yeah, I mean, Cooper came up to me and tried to push off of me and I thought I made a good play on the ball and the refs saw otherwise so, it's a tough call," said Wilson.

Joe Burrow was sacked a Super Bowl-record seven times as a much-maligned offensive line fell apart in the second half, the Bengals quarterback left hobbled after appearing to injure his knee.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald clinched victory by powering past Quinton Spain to force a desperation heave from Burrow on a do-or-die fourth down on the final drive that came up short of Samaje Perine's clutches.

On the severity of Burrow's injury, Taylor said: "It's hard to know, he was able to play and I'm just calling the plays at that point, we'll find out more. 

"I thought in the first half of this game the protection was tremendous, then in the second half we called some passes and it got difficult.

"We'll have to see how they all played out, everyone's gonna say it's the offensive line, we've gotta see exactly how that played out. We don't ever want our quarterback to get hit but that's life in the NFL sometimes.

"It's hard to lose really on the last play of the game, we were moving the ball we feel like to win the game, not tie it, we were gonna try to go win it, been working for the last six months, play 21 games to lose the Super Bowl, it's not a lot of fun."

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