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Vikings at Bengals Game Observations: Missed Opportunities Add Up in OT Loss

CINCINNATI — For the second time in as many trips to Cincinnati, Minnesota fell 27-24 in overtime.

Evan McPherson's 29-yard field goal gave the Bengals their first lead since late in the first quarter.

Jake Browning eluded pressure, escaped the pocket and bought time to hit Tyler Boyd on a deep crossing route for a gain of 44 yards to set up the game-winner.

The Vikings fell to 7-7 as the Bengals evened their record at the same mark by missing multiple opportunities throughout the game.

Minnesota had one possession in overtime that began after a quick three-and-out by Cincinnati to start the extra session.

The Vikings moved the ball to the Bengals 42-yard line in overtime and faced a third-and-1. Minnesota sent Brandon Powell on a jet sweep motion but paused him behind Nick Mullens and tried a QB push that was marked inches shy.

Facing the fourth down, the Vikings tried the same approach and were stuffed.

Minnesota's defense, which didn't allow a touchdown through three quarters, looked like it was going to deliver one more needed stop before Browning's escape act.

Browning finished 29-of-42 passing for 324 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 97.7.

Mullens became the fourth quarterback to start a game for Minnesota this season, a franchise record. He did good things for sure in his first Vikings start, but also suffered two interceptions.

He finished 26-of-33 passing for 303 yards with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 99.9.

The first interception occurred at the Cincinnati 1-yard line on a third-and-10 from the 15. Instead of building on a 7-3 lead with 4:06 remaining in the second quarter, the drive came away with no points.

Mullens' second interception occurred when B.J. Hill hit him. The QB tried to throw the ball away but it bounced off the defensive tackle multiple times before landing on him. That turnover occurred on a third-and-7 from the Cincinnati 22 with 25 seconds remaining in the first half, sending teams into the locker room with a 7-3 margin.

Here are four more observations from the game.

  1. Defense strong before fading late

The Vikings defense recorded five sacks on the day, and Akayleb Evans nabbed his first career interception. The group made big plays but also allowed them.

In addition to the 44-yarder in overtime, Minnesota also allowed the Bengals to convert a third-and-21 with a 24-yard pass from Browning to Ja'Marr Chase during a drive that tied the game at 17 with 7:46 remaining.

Joe Mixon was able to run for a score on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line to knot the game with 7:46 remaining.

The defense allowed Tee Higgins to catch a 21-yard touchdown on second-and-10 to tie the game at 24 with 39 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Vikings were outscored 24-7 after the third quarter.

  1. Addison, Jefferson & Hockenson

Jordan Addison caught two touchdowns and finished with 111 yards on six catches. They were his first two touchdowns since Kirk Cousins was injured in Week 8 at Green Bay.

Justin Jefferson added seven receptions for 84 yards, and T.J. Hockenson totaled six receptions for 63 yards.

Seven different Vikings caught at least one pass.

  1. Chandler delivers big day

Ty Chandler made his first career start in relief of Alexander Mattison and opened Minnesota's day on offense with a 9-yard run out of the gate.

The Vikings also had runs of 7 and 8 yards by Chandler on first-and-10s before he rushed for a 1-yard score with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Chandler also showed his threat as a receiving option out of the backfield with a beautifully designed play on a third-and-1.

Minnesota faked like it was going to do a sneak with push help from C.J. Ham before streaking Chandler out of the backfield for a gain of 16.

Chandler finished with career highs of 23 carries for 132 yards, averaging 5.7 per carry. He added three receptions for 25 yards.

  1. History in Cincinnati continues

The Vikings fell to 1-8 all-time in Cincinnati, with the only win here in series history occurring in 1992.

The loss after leading by two scores (that could have been an even bigger margin) will hurt Minnesota's chances of winning the NFC North with three games remaining.