Rookie mistake. 

By Dan Gartland
September 23, 2019

Rookie mistake

Zac Taylor’s tenure in charge of the Bengals is off to an inauspicious start. 

Cincinnati thought it was hiring the next Sean McVay in the former Rams assistant, but he’s off to an 0–3 start after losing to the Bills in Buffalo this week. 

The Bills game—unlike the blowout home loss against the Niners—went down to the wire. The Bengals had the ball in Buffalo territory in the closing seconds with one timeout left but Andy Dalton threw a backbreaking interception. The ball was tipped twice before it landed in the arms of Tre’Davious White, who had already picked off Dalton earlier in the game. White fell to the ground, curled up in a ball and the play was whistled dead. 

After the play was over, though, White and his teammates ran into the corner of the end zone to celebrate. When they did, Taylor started going ballistic. He was screaming at an official on the sideline, arguing that his team should be awarded a safety. That’s obviously ridiculous, because everyone knows that a player can be ruled down if he goes to the ground and makes no effort to advance the ball. 

“I was looking for a safety, but I guess he declared himself down just because he gets up and runs around,” Taylor said after the game. “That is what we were all yelling for, was to get the safety and get the ball back.”

Wishful thinking, but that was never going to happen. White clearly waits until the referee has blown his whistle before he gets up and starts celebrating. Everybody on the field and in the stands knew it was game over. Maybe Taylor knew, too, but he’ll have to follow the rules to get his first NFL win. 

Welcome to the league

It sure looks like Pat Shurmur made the right decision in turning to Daniel Jones. 

Jones engineered a fantastic game-winning drive in his first career start to top the Bucs in Tampa, capped by this heads-up run on fourth down to take the lead. 

It would have been a much different story, though, if Tampa Bay kicker Matt Gay had had a better day. The rookie missed one extra point, had another blocked and ultimately pushed the would-be game-winner wide from just 34 yards. 

Would it have been good from 29 yards? Maybe, but head coach Bruce Arians instructed his team to take a delay of game penalty because he thought Gay had a better chance from farther away. 

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