Everything started to change in the second quarter as the game opened up. Joe Burrow threw for two touchdowns in the second quarter, one deep bond to Ja’Marr Chase and another short pass to Tee Higgins.
The Bengals took a 14-7 lead into the half. They went up by two scores following a Joe Mixon touchdown. A missed fourth and 1 on their own 30 gave Minnesota life. They eventually tied it up and sent the game knotted at 24 to overtime.
Evan McPherson came in with a game-winning field goal to pull the Bengals to 1-0. The Bengals will now travel to Chicago, where they’ll again be underdogs. That said, let’s dive into how national media view the league following Week 1.
ESPN — No. 24 - Up from No. 28
Chase put his preseason drops behind him with a game-changing performance against the Vikings. He caught five passes for 101 yards, the most by a Bengals rookie in a season opener. Chase didn’t drop a single target and showed how he can help the offense find bigger plays in the passing game. He beat his man down the right sideline and snagged a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Burrow right before halftime. It’s that playmaking ability the Bengals wanted when they drafted Chase with the fifth overall pick in April. — Ben Baby
NFL.com — No. 23 - Up From No. 30
After a summer dotted with foreboding news on multiple fronts, the Bengals opened their season with a feel-good home win over the Vikings that restores hope in Western Ohio. Joe Burrow played extremely well in his return from reconstructive knee surgery, while first-round pick Ja’Marr Chase reminded us that a thousand critical notebook ledes in July can evaporate with one productive afternoon in September. Then there’s coach Zac Taylor, whose bold fourth-and-inches call in overtime led to the 32-yard C.J. Uzomah reception that set up the win. “Ballsy,” Uzomah said of his coach’s decision. “I have to say, that’s some big cojones there by him.” These Bengals could be fun!
Yahoo! Sports — No. 24 - Up from No. 27
The Bengals were not lying about Joe Mixon’s workload increasing. He had 29 carries, four catches and ended up with 150 total yards. Joe Burrow was the story of Sunday’s win and rightfully so, but Mixon is going to make Burrow’s life easier.
CBS Sports — No. 25 - Up from No. 29
That was a big overtime victory over the Vikings for this young group. The fears about Joe Burrow are now alleviated after he played well in his first real game back from a torn ACL.
The Ringer — No. 26
Bleacher Report — No. 21 - Up from No. 25 (Quoted part is excerpt)
If the Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2021 season with optimism, it was of the guarded variety. How would quarterback Joe Burrow look in his return from an ACL tear? Could the revamped offensive line give Burrow more protection? Could Cincy’s defense get stops when it needed to?
So far, so good.
USA Today — No. 20 - Up from No. 28
And now we know why rookie Evan McPherson was the only kicker drafted in 2021, his game-winning FG in overtime following a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter. Icy.
NBC Sports — No. 25 - Up from No. 28
Joe Burrow is all the way back. The second-year QB returned from an ACL tear to lead Cincinnati to an overtime victory over the Vikings. The 2020 No. 1 overall pick finished with 261 yards and two TDs in what was a solid all-around day for the Bengals offense.