Zac Taylor accurately predicted Sean McVay’s late-game play-calling during 2022 Super Bowl

Lou Anarumo knew the perfect person to gain insight from with regard to the Rams‘ play-calling late in Super Bowl LVI. Anarumo, the Bengals‘ defensive coordinator, walked over to Cincinnati coach and former Rams assistant Zac Taylor with a question. 

“You think he’s given up on the run at this point?” Anarumo asked Taylor, whose brief exchange was captured by NFL Films

“Yeah,” Taylor replied. 

Taylor was right. Shortly after that exchange was unveiled, the cameras went to the Rams’ sideline, where Rams head coach Sean McVay delivered a message to his coaching staff.

“Guys, I’m not running the ball anymore,” McVay declared. 

Those conversations appeared to take place following the Rams’ first full offensive possession of the fourth quarter. Facing a second-and-3 on their own 42-yard line, running back Sony Michel was stuffed by Logan Wilson and Mike Hilton for a 1-yard loss. Matthew Stafford threw an incomplete pass on the next play, as the Rams — who trailed 20-16 at the time — were forced to punt with 10:07 remaining. 

Despite their lack of success on the ground, as well as Taylor’s accurate prediction of the Rams’ play-calling, Los Angeles was able to put together a game-winning drive late in Super Bowl LVI. The Rams ran just one traditional running play on their 15-play, 79-yard drive that was punctuated by Stafford’s game-winning touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp. The drive included three running plays: a run by Cam Akers for no gain, Kupp’s crucial 7-yard run on a jet sweep on a fourth-and-1 play, and Stafford’s quarterback sneak for no gain on the play before his touchdown pass to Kupp. 

The Rams won the game despite rushing for just 43 yards on 23 carries, the second-lowest rushing tally of any Super Bowl champion. Ironically, the only winning team that rushed for fewer yards in the Super Bowl was the 1999 Rams, who gained just 29 yards on 13 carries in their win over the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. 

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