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Bengals take down Vikings in playoff-level win in overtime

In overtime, having been down double figures for most of the game, Cincinnati got the job done.

The Cincinnati Bengals looked to keep their red-hot play alive as they welcomed the Minnesota Vikings to Paycor Stadium on Saturday. The game kicked off at 1 pm ET, and the Bengals immediately got to work.

Jake Browning and company got the ball first and marched down the field. The first drive was aided by a beautiful 25-yard strike from Browning to Ja’Marr Chase. A wild third-down play that looked to be schemed for Tanner Hudson to throw the ball ended the drive. Evan McPherson stepped up to cash in the 34-yard attempt. Cincinnati went up 3-0 with just over half of the first quarter remaining.

Nick Mullens and Justin Jefferson connected for a 17-yard strike to move the ball into Bengals territory on the Vikings' first drive. DJ Reader was injured and carted off earlier on the first Minnesota possession. Ty Chandler, who is the backup running back for the Vikings, got the start and had a huge first drive. He capped it off with a touchdown, marking the first opening-drive touchdown for the Vikings this season. With under five left in the first quarter, Minnesota went up 7-3.

A few short possessions by both teams gave the Bengals the ball back to start the second quarter. Cincinnati’s offense continued to stall, and they were maintained throughout the second quarterback by two defensive turnovers.

The Bengals had interceptions on back-to-back Minnesota possessions but didn’t turn those into points. Browning missed Charlie Jones on what would’ve been a game-changing touchdown as Jones ran past the Vikings secondary. No one scored in the second quarter, and the Bengals entered the half down 7-3.

Unfortunately, the Vikings got the ball at the start of the third and quickly turned that into points. Minnesota went up 14-3. A 37-yard Jordan Addison touchdown capped the drive, one that was started by a 24-yard run by Chandler. The Bengals had been able to keep Jefferson at bay throughout most of the game to this point, but their offense continues to struggle to move the ball with any flow.

The Bengals got the ball down 11 with about 10:30 left in the third quarter. After a first down run by Chase Brown, Browning completed a three-yard pass to Charlie Jones. On the ensuing play, Browning was intercepted, and the Vikings took over just seven yards from Bengals territory. Without a ton of notable plays, Minnesota marched down the field and ended the possession with a field. With 4:32 left in the third quarter, they took a 17-3 lead.

The Bengals finally seemed to find their mojo and picked up several first downs, one via a 14-yard Tanner Hudson catch and another on the back of a 16-yard Chase reception. The Bengals had a 1st & 10 on the Vikings 13 with a chance to cut the game to one score at the end of the third. Immediately out of the gate, Browning hit Tee Higgins for a 13-yard touchdown. The Bengals claw back in, down 17-10 with 14:56 remaining.

The Bengals forced a three and out, then went on an 11-play, 63-yard drive that was capped off with a Joe Mixon touchdown run. It was a hard run by Mixon after being initially stopped short. He fought his way into the end zone and evened the score at 17 with 7:46 remaining. The back-to-back 60-plus-yard drives restored confidence in this Bengals attack.

On the following possession, the Bengals picked Mullens for a touchdown but had the play called back for an offsides, nullifying what could’ve been the play of the game. Trey Hendrickson was the one offsides and didn’t end up making an impact on the play. This was a brutal missed opportunity for Cincinnati.

Fans suffered heartbreak as the team went down 24-17 later that drive. A Chandler 30-yard run set up a 1st & goal for Minnesota. Mullens somehow threw it back across his body to Addison for his second score of the day. The 10 real-time minutes between the nullified touchdown and Vikings score were a brutal flip for emotions for Cincinnati fans.

Browning got the ball back down seven with 3:48 to play. The Bengals got into Minnesota territory with two minutes to go. With 50 seconds to go, the Bengals had a 1st & 10 on the Vikings’ 21-yard line. With 39 seconds left, Browning threw up a prayer to Higgins, and the star receiver came down, hit it with a reverse pivotal, and got the ball into the end zone. Cincinnati had three straight touchdowns to tie the game at 24.

A Hendrickson sack basically ended any hope for a Vikings late-game field goal. The Bengals, with the Vikings deep in their own territory, continued to call timeouts in hopes of giving Money Mac a chance to end the game in regulation. Nothing really came to fruition, and overtime was the result.

The Bengals got the ball to start overtime, with the game squared up at 24. A questionable non-PI call on Higgins on third down resulted in a punt for Cincinnati. The Vikings got the ball, just needing a field goal, with 8:20 remaining.

The Bengals made the plays after getting the ball back, including a 44-yard catch and run by Tyler Boyd. McPherson sealed the game with a 29-yard attempt, and the Bengals will head home with an 8-6 record and a strong case to make the NFL Playoffs.