Too much inexperience
Much was made of the Bengals’ youth at key positions, including on the sideline. For much of the season it didn’t hamper the team and they learned from mistakes.
Unfortunately Super Bowl Sunday, the inexperience caught up. Joe Burrow looked uncharacteristically off, especially early, and Zac Taylor was a bit stale and predictable with his play calling. Lord help me, the first down runs into the middle of the line were killing my household.
Defensively, while the unit as a whole did a fair job, there were missed tackles and blown assignments like we haven’t seen since mid-season. Ultimately with two weeks to prepare, I have to attribute these things to nerves and not game plan.
Nerves were in effect on the offensive side as well. It was not coincidental that Tyler Boyd had his FIRST drop of the season in the Super Bowl. Yes, many of these players played in huge games in college, especially our SEC guys, but this was two weeks of Super Bowl hype.
The nerves had to be on edge.