Wow. Has your heart rate calmed yet?
Here are the winners this week for the Cincinnati Bengals and ZERO losers.
The Joe Mixon and Chase Brown duo:
What a nice late-season addition to the Bengals’ offense Brown has become. Between running and receiving, he has been a nice outlet for Jake Browning, racking up yards on Saturday.
Mixon brought the hammer on the ground, as evidenced by his TOUGH 4th-and-1 goal-line touchdown run to tie it up. But he also aided through the air as a receiver here and there, making this a nice one-two punch out of the backfield.
With the Bengals reeling in the second quarter from injuries and a long offensive drive by the Vikings, they needed a big spark. The veteran corner made two plays in the red zone to turn the tide.
The first was a tackle-for-loss on a run attempt, followed up shortly thereafter with a diving interception at the goal line to take away points. It was a huge momentum swing in the game.
The grizzled defensive coordinator overcame a lot of injuries and issues throughout the game, but his unit made plays down the stretch. Two interceptions were forced in the red zone, and a couple of big fourth-quarter stops rallied the comeback. Oh, and let’s not forget the overtime stops to get the offense the ball back.
The tight end group:
Tanner Hudson led the way, but contributions were also seen from Irv Smith, Jr. and Mitchell Wilcox. All three were big keys in making Browning comfortable later in the contest.
Uno gutted through injury and offensive issues to make some big plays for the Bengals in some critical drives. He left the game in the fourth quarter, but his mark on the game was definitely felt, highlighted by the 3rd-and-miles play that got the Bengals in the red zone that led to a touchdown.
The Tee Higgins redemption game:
Through the first two quarters, Higgins was kind of a mess, dropping two easy deep balls that could have set the Bengals up for points. It came on the heels of a poor performance against the Colts too, prompting questions.
But Higgins came up with some massive catches toward the end of the game, with an amazing effort on the tying touchdown catch with under a minute to play.
Myles Murphy and B.J. Hill:
When D.J. Reader went down with an injury, Cincinnati needed others on the defensive line to step up. Murphy netted a sack and has continued to impress with increased playing time.
Hill had one of the wackiest and most important plays of the Bengals’ season in a tumbling interception off of Nick Mullens to negate what would have been a sure scoring drive.
It was a rough start for the quarterback, as it finally looked as if his magic had run out. Yet, things began to click in the second half.
Browning would throw two touchdowns to Tee Higgins to tie it up and then made a signature play on the play to set up the game-winning field goal.
The fortitude has to be directly credited to Coach Taylor. This team could have easily folded up its tents after Joe Burrow went down with an injury, but they rallied behind him and Browning and are in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
Ice in his veins. McPherson continued to make every kick asked of him, once again hitting a game-winner (and, against these Vikings, no less).
The game-winner was a short attempt, but those are always still difficult to make. “Money Mac,” indeed.