When initially looking at the 17-16 loss by the Cincinnati Bengals to the Minnesota Vikings, a casual observer might believe the former didn't play all that well in the preseason opener. However, with all of the personnel changes that ensued over the course of Friday night, largely in an effort to gauge backups, there was still a semblance of chemistry that many other NFL teams fail to capture in the month of August.
In fact, many of the biggest plays of the preseason opener came from rookies and unexpected players. Cast your vote and sound off in the comments on your winner!
Tyler Boyd's 40-Yard Reception from AJ McCarron: The Bengals were down 7-0 in the second quarter and needed a bit of a spark. McCarron was completing a number of passes, but points were at a premium in the opener. McCarron dropped back and found Boyd, who though was well-covered, came down with a great catch. The play led to a touchdown and a 7-7 tie.
Alex Erickson's Three-Yard Touchdown Catch: Following Boyd's big catch, the Bengals got on the board with a pass from McCarron to Erickson to tie the game. It wasn't anything flashy, but it cemented McCarron's status as one of the better backup signal-callers in the league, while also making Erickson a fan favorite, even if briefly. He juked the defender out in the flat for an easy touchdown.
Jimmy Wilson's Interception of Joel Stave: Keith Wenning threw an interception at the onset of the fourth quarter, making the game seem as if it would start to get out of Cincinnati's reach. In the days before training camp, the Bengals made a number of moves, including the addition of Wilson to the safety unit. In an effort to swing the momentum, Wilson made a diving, acrobatic interception to give Cincinnati the ball back.
Alex Erickson's 80-Yard Punt Return Touchdown: It was a blend of the unexpected and painful lessons for potential Vikings special teamers when No. 12 took it to the house. If it wasn't for preseason play and the liberal play-calling that comes in August, Erickson's big play likely would have tied the game after it happened. It not only was a great moment for an undrafted free agent, but one of the better efforts by a Bengals player in recent memory.
Which play gets your vote for the Bengals' Play of the Week against the Vikings in the 2016 preseason opener?