Super Bowl 56 was largely a penalty-free game, as the Bengals and Rams were only flagged six times combined. However, the officiating crew did face criticism for a key call on Los Angeles’ game-winning drive.
With less than two minutes remaining in regulation and the Rams trailing 20-16, Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a pass to Cooper Kupp on a third-and-goal play. Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson batted the ball down, seemingly setting up the Rams for a dramatic do-or-die moment, but he was whistled for holding despite minimal contact with Kupp.
The penalty gave the Rams a fresh set of downs, and they eventually scored on a 1-yard Kupp touchdown catch to take a 23-20 lead. Los Angeles would go on to beat Cincinnati by that final score, giving the Rams their first title since 1999.
this is holding? pic.twitter.com/J3qhpvQ4Jl
— alex (@highlghtheaven) February 14, 2022
Bengals coach Zac Taylor took the high road during his postgame media availability, saying he felt Super Bowl 56 was “a really well-officiated game” when asked about the call on Wilson. Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Boyd, on the other hand, likely spoke for a lot of Bengals fans.
“At the end of the day, that’s not my job to speak on it, but, I mean, I’m hurt about it. They weren’t throwing flags the whole game,” Boyd told reporters. “They should’ve just let it play out how they were doing the whole game. But, I mean, it’s a lot of pressure going on when [the game] is about to be over. It is what it is.”
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Despite the frustration over the controversial penalty, Boyd, who had five catches for 48 yards but dropped a critical fourth-quarter pass in the loss, was confident Joe Burrow and the rest of the offensive unit would be able to score in order to either tie or win the game.
The Bengals’ final drive started out with a promising 17-yard catch-and-run by Ja’Marr Chase, but it stalled out near midfield. Cincinnati never got close enough to give kicker Evan McPherson a shot at a field goal.
“We believe in Joe, and we believe in our offense to go down and score whenever we need to, especially in crucial times,” Boyd said. “We always deliver. Like I said, man, unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. I know we’ll be back, though.”