Weather will be factor for Cincinnati Bengals in playoffs

In 2007, current Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was in the middle of a pre-draft interview with the Houston Texans. Quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan, now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, grilled Taylor on a decision he made as quarterback on Oct. 21 in a 22-20 loss to Texas.

With Taylor starting for Nebraska in a game played in the snow, he attempted a post route to wide receiver Maurice Purify. Before the throw, Taylor took a hitch with his throwing motion.

Shanahan recognized that the hitch wasn’t a part of the play, so he asked Taylor why he did it.

More:How Zac Taylor and the Bengals offense got the ability to adjust on the fly

“You feel like you are making an excuse, but it was really cold,” Taylor said. “The ball was hard and slick, and I needed another grip for a hitch to be able to get that ball out. You have to be used to throwing in those conditions. You have to be used to how the ball feels in your hands.”

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, center, smiles as he walks off the field at the conclusion of the fourth quarter during a Week 17 NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 34-31. With the win the, the Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North division and advance to the NFL playoffs.

Taylor’s experience from 15 years ago ties back to one advantage that the Bengals feel that they’ll have on Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bengals practice outside in the cold weather all season. The Raiders play in a dome and haven't played well in the cold over the last few seasons.

More:Joe Burrow explains his playoff mentality ahead of rematch with Raiders

On Saturday, the temperature at kickoff is projected to be below freezing. With a high of 30 degrees and a low of 21 degrees, the Bengals will play in their coldest game of the year. 

Taylor has mentioned the weather all week in meetings with the players, and the coaching staff sees the cold temperature as an advantage. 

Photo from “Cincinnati: An Illustrated Timeline”: The Bengals and Chargers face off in the “Freezer Bowl.” (The Cincinnati Enquirer/Gerry Wolter)

“We're (always) practicing outside in the stuff,” Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said. “We don't have an indoor facility, so the added benefit for us is we practice in this type of weather every day. And so I think that It certainly gives us a leg up.”

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor looks on before the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

The Bengals have practiced in as low as 11 degree weather over the last two weeks, and Taylor said he has been wearing four long sleeve shirts under his sweatshirt. Taylor said he never considered moving practices this week to the Cincinnati Bearcats indoor facility, and Taylor made the point to conduct a practice in the snow last week.

More:What to expect as Bengals host Raiders in the first round of the playoffs: Xs and Os

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