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Jake Browning had a score to settle vs. Vikings: “They never should’ve cut me.”

The Vikings castoff leads the Bengals past his former team.

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Syndication: The Enquirer
Jake Browning
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

He may not show it, but Jake Browning remembers.

He remembers when he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings and when he was left sitting in his hotel room waiting for a call that never came.

So when Browning got his chance to face the Vikings Saturday afternoon in Paycor Stadium, he was looking for a little redemption.

And he got it.

“That one felt good,” Browning said after helping the Cincinnati Bengals came from 14 down to defeat the Vikings 27-24 in overtime. “I think after we made the field goal, I screamed at a camera and said, ‘They never should have cut me.’”

Cincinnati is certainly glad that they did. Since taking over for the injured Joe Burrow, Browning has led the Bengals back into the playoff chase with victories in three of his four starts.

Against the Vikings, Browning completed 29/42 passes for 324 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, good for an overall rating of 97.7. And he did it after a less-than-stellar first half that saw Cincinnati put up only three points and manage only one drive of over 13 yards.

“My first half was pretty bad, I thought,” Browning said, “and then I came out and threw a pick. I told myself to just keep rallying. Keep attacking. And I think we were able to keep that mindset and finally put together some points.”

The Bengals staked Minnesota to a 17-3 lead before the offense got untracked. Browning found Tee Higgins for a 13-yard touchdown strike to begin the fourth quarter, and Joe Mixon tied things up with a 1-yard run on Cincinnati’s next possession. Mixon was met head-on by Minnesota linebacker Ivan Pace Jr, a native of Cincinnati, at the line of scrimmage but bulled his way forward and pushed across the goal line for the score.

“Joe Mixon is like a battering ram,” Browning said. “When they put 11 guys in the box and we’re still able to run the ball. . . . There’s going to be one that’s unblocked, and you just got to be able to run them over, and he’s really good at that.”

Despite a couple of drops, Higgins is pretty good himself. After Ja’Marr Chase went out with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, Higgins stepped up with an amazing touchdown reception with only 39 seconds left in regulation. He lept high to make the catch, then contorted his body to place the ball over the goal line and knot the score at 24, easily his biggest play of what’s been a challenging season for the contract-year veteran.

“I always feel good just throwing the ball up to Tee,” Browning said. “We were really close on a couple of times, and I will just keep throwing the ball up to him, because he’s really good at it.”

That he is.

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