Vikings can't overcome penalties, late fumble in Cincinnati

The Vikings held themselves back in an overtime loss.
Mike Zimmer

The Minnesota Vikings couldn't get out of their own way as a slew of penalties and late fumble led to a 27-24 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The first half was marred by penalties as Minnesota committed four on the opening drive. The Vikings committed a total of 10 in the first 30 minutes with all of them called on the offense.

  • 15:00 1st  - False start on C.J. Ham
  • 14:25 1st - False start on Tyler Conklin
  • 12:30 1st - False start on Ham
  • 12:16 1st - Holding on Oli Udoh
  • 9:34 2nd - False start on K.J. Osborn
  • 9:08 2nd - Holding on Garrett Bradbury
  • 1:44 2nd - Holding on Rashod Hill
  • 0:35 2nd - False start on Brian O'Neill
  • 0:30 2nd - Holding on Hill
  • 0:20 2nd - Illegal formation (declined)
  • 0:17 2nd - Holding on Bradbury

Despite the penalties, the Vikings got on the board first. A 14-play drive ended with a five-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen to give Minnesota the lead in the second quarter.

The Bengals answered quickly beginning with a two-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins. 74 seconds later, Burrow threw his second score of the game, connecting with Ja'Marr Chase for a 50-yard bomb to go into the locker room with a 14-7 lead.

Cincinnati extended its lead in the second half with a one-yard touchdown run from Joe Mixon on the opening drive.

After another three-and-out from the Vikings' offense, the Bengals faced a 4th-and-1 on their own 30. Nick Vigil made the stop on the play giving Minnesota the ball in prime field position. 

The Vikings capitalized when Cousins found Thielen for the second time on the afternoon and the 24-yard touchdown made it a 21-14 game.

The touchdown gave the Vikings a second life even when Cincinnati added a field goal on the following possession. Down 10 points, Cousins moved down the field and found Justin Jefferson for a 34-yard gain that set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Dalvin Cook to bring the Vikings within 24-21.

The momentum continued when Harrison Hand pinned the Bengals on their own five-yard line on the following kickoff and Danielle Hunter recorded his first sack since 2019 to get the ball back to the Vikings.

But the following possession had another penalty as Ezra Cleveland was called for holding. That gave the Vikings one of many third and long situations during the course of the game which included:

  • 3rd and 24
  • 3rd and 20
  • 3rd and 24
  • 3rd and 15
  • 3rd and 20
  • 3rd and 26

The Vikings' defense was able to get a stop but Kevin Huber pinned them on their own five-yard line. With no timeouts remaining, Cousins set Greg Joseph up to tie the game with a 53-yard field goal as time expired sending the game to overtime.

The Bengals got the ball first in overtime but Michael Pierce picked up his second sack and fifth of the game for the Vikings to give the offense a chance to win it.

But both teams continued to exchange three-and-outs and the Vikings appeared to be on the way toward a game-winning field goal before Cook fumbled to give the Bengals one final opportunity.

Burrow capitalized with a 32-yard pass to C.J. Uzomah on 4th and inches that set up a 33-yard game-winner from Evan McPherson to hand the Vikings their first loss.

The Vikings (0-1) will travel to face the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday afternoon.

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