CINCINNATI — Teddy Bridgewater used a stiff-arm, then showed a strong arm.
Bridgewater was under duress from Geno Atkins on the Vikings first play of the season, but the quarterback eluded the Bengals defensive tackle with a shove from his left arm to buy time and complete a pass to MyCole Pruitt. It was a gain of 3, but more importantly, it wasn't a loss.
Bridgewater, however, was sacked the following play by Atkins and Michael Johnson, and was forced into an incompletion on third down. The three snaps were the only ones for the Vikings offense in the first quarter.
Head Coach Mike Zimmer opted to leave starters in for a second series that didn't start until the second quarter.
Bridgewater went three-for-three for 33 yards on third downs during the drive with completions to Jerick McKinnon, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The throw to Thielen was a dart over the middle, and the Minnesota native made a diving catch for a gain of 22.
After moving the chains on 3-and-7 to the Cincinnati 49, Bridgewater took a deep shot to Charles Johnson for a touchdown and first score of the game.
Johnson, who grew up in Northern Kentucky, about 15 minutes south of Paul Brown Stadium, ran through contact that drew a penalty on the defender and tracked the ball all the way into the south end zone.
It was quite the way to end the night for Bridgewater, who finished 6-for-7 passing for 92 yards and a passer rating of 158.3 (the maximum total, but 20 passes would be required in a regular-season game to count).
Bridgewater was relieved by Shaun Hill in the second quarter.