Bengals rally from 14 down to beat Vikings in overtime

CINCINNATI — Evan McPherson’s 29-yard field goal in overtime gave the Bengals a 27-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday afternoon at Paycor Stadium.

Cincinnati improved to 8-6 and remained squarely in the race for a playoff spot in the AFC with three weeks to go in the season.

McPherson’s chance came after the defense stuffed consecutive quarterback sneaks on third- and fourth-and 1 at the Cincinnati 42-yard line in overtime despite missing star tackle D.J. Reader, who suffered a knee injury early in the game and did not return.

Jake Browning’s 44-yard pass to Tyler Boyd set up McPherson’s field goal, which split the uprights with 3:11 left in the extra period.

“It took everybody,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said. “Really proud of the way our defense bowed up there at the end and got some big stops for us. And in the first half they kept us in it to be quite frank because we didn’t have much momentum on offense outside of that first drive, and they got those two takeaways in the red zone.”

The Bengals trailed by 14 heading into the fourth quarter, but Browning started the comeback with a 13-yard fade to Tee Higgins in the end zone that cut the deficit in half on the first play of the fourth quarter.

They tied the game at 17 on Joe Mixon’s 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal seven minutes later, but the Vikings retook the lead on a 1-yard pass from Nick Mullens to Jordan Addison, who caught the ball surrounded by Bengals with 3:48 left.

The Bengals got the ball at their 25 and drove to the Vikings 21. Browning scrambled to his right and heaved a prayer toward Higgins, who answered it by grabbing the ball at the 1-yard line then swinging the ball over the goal line as Akayleb Evans tried to drag him out of bounds.

The touchdown pass tied the score at 24 with 39 seconds left.

The Bengals won the toss and got the ball first in overtime, but they were not able to do anything with their possession.

After the defense turned the Vikings over on downs, the next Bengals possession did not start out promising with a short run and a dropped pass, but Browning scrambled to his right on third down and threaded a pass downfield to Boyd, who broke a tackle and scampered to the Minnesota 13.

McPherson got the scoring started on the afternoon with a 34-yard field goal, but the Vikings responded with a methodical 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Ty Chandler’s 1-yard touchdown run.

The Vikings drove to the Cincinnati 14 on their next possession, but it came to an end with Mike Hilton intercepted a Mullens pass intended for Justin Jefferson over the middle.

The Bengals’ nickel back returned the ball 16 yards to the Cincinnati 17 to set Cincinnati up with the ball and 4:06 left in the half, but second down sack essentially ended any scoring threat and led to a punt.

Minnesota got the ball at its own 34 with 1:37 left and drove to the Bengals 16. The Vikings appeared to have at least a field goal in hand at that point, but Myles Murphy sacked Mullens to push the visitors back to the Cincinnati 22.

One play later, B.J. Hill got to Mullens, who tried to throw the ball away as he went to the ground but ended up hitting Hill with the ball. The defensive lineman caught it for an interception to end that scoring threat as well.

Browning completed 29 of 42 passes for 324 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while Mullens was 36 for 33 for 303 yards, two scores and two interceptions.

Chandler ran for 132 yards on 23 carries for the Vikings while Mixon and Chase Brown combined for 70 yards on 17 runs.

Browning connected with 11 different receivers, including four times apiece to Chase and Higgins.

Taylor said he did not have an update on Chase, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury, but the information he had on Reader was “not good.”


Saturday, Dec. 23

Bengals at Steelers, 4:30 p.m., NBC, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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