It’s been many months now since Super Bowl 56 when the Cincinnati Bengals fell just short, losing 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. One of the most puzzling moments of that game though came late in the fourth with the Bengals’ title hopes on the line. Within under two minutes left and no timeouts, Zac Taylor decided to leave in backup RB Samaje Perine instead of Joe Mixon. To this day, it was puzzling because ultimately, Perine didn’t get it done and the game ended.
In training camp on Friday, Mixon, who is easily one of the best running backs in the league, finally spoke out on being left on the sidelines in crunch time in SB56. Via Cincinnati.com:
“I mean at the end of the day, like I said… who was out there at the end of the day, whoever is out there, I have no doubt in my mind that they should make the play,” Joe Mixon said. “You know what I’m saying, coach got caught up in running two minute and through the playoffs, he had me in two-minute. It was just a caught-up in-the-moment thing. I really should have taken initiative on myself and just been like, ‘Hey, I’m coming in.’ But you know it was the heat of the moment.”
A lot of criticism came Taylor’s way after losing because there was a firm belief that Mixon would’ve had no problem getting one yard for a first down to keep things alive. He finished with 15 carries for 72 yards in the Super Bowl but didn’t score a touchdown. Twitter also couldn’t believe that Joe Mixon was on the bench at such a crucial moment:
Hot take: If your Super Bowl dreams come down to a 3rd and 1. Maybe not try a run with Samaje Perine.
— John Hyslop (@sloprules) February 14, 2022
3rd and 1 with 48 seconds left in the fooking Super Bowl and Bengals were like yo Joe Mixon get a breather lmao
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 14, 2022
Let us never forget that the Cincinnati Bengals had RB Joe Mixon on the sideline and RB Samaje Perine in on 3rd and 1 — with a Super Bowl title on the line.
▫️ Mixon had 15 carries for 72 yards (4.8 YPC)
— NFL Talk (@NFL_Talk_Sports) February 14, 2022
Instead of blaming his coach, Joe Mixon is evidently holding himself accountable as well for not speaking up in the heat of the moment. The definition of a good teammate.