Zac Taylor called it aggressive. Joe Mixon called it gutsy. C.J. Uzomah called it something you probably shouldn't write and he's the guy that caught Joe Burrow's 32-yard dime on fourth-and-a-chain-link with 39 seconds left from their own 48.
"It was a lot shorter than 30 yards in practice," said Uzomah after the Bengals opened the season with a stunning 27-24 victory at the second gun of the game over the Vikings that opened the season in the din of Paul Brown Stadium. "It shows the trust (Taylor) has in his guys and Joe has in me."
Uzomah said that Burrow made him re-do the play in practice this week and they ran it again without defenders. Burrow says the semi play-action pass to the tight end leaking out of the line and getting behind the coverage has never failed them in a game, citing last year's throws to a running back, Giovani Bernard, and tight end Drew Sample.
- Rookie Evan McPherson showed why they grabbed him in the fifth round when he became the first Bengals kicker to walk off a Bengals Opening Day victory since Doug Pelfrey drilled one in overtime in Indianapolis to win the 1995 opener.
Taylor gave him the game ball after the 33-yarder, which is about right. McPherson gave Taylor his first win in September after his first two openers went awry on wayward fourth-quarter field goals.
"I don't care how long that field goal is," Taylor said. "That's a tense situation. He was nails as we expected he would be. Somebody stood up on the table (in the draft) for him and said this guy is going to win us games. Here we are 1-0."
- Burrow not only had the play of the day, he had the line of the day. He was preceded by rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase at the media podium and as Chase left Burrow looked at the crowd and deadpanned, "I thought he was dropping everything."
Chase's five catches for 101 yards is the best Opening Day by a Bengals rookie receiver. Better than all of them. According to Elias it's the second-best receiver debut in Bengals history after the 113 yards from veteran wide receiver Eric Crabtree in 1969.
- Mixon also made Bengals Opening Day history with the first 100-yard rush game (127 yards on 29 carries) in an opener since Cedric Benson 10 years ago.
- Mixon more than doubled the Vikes' Dalvin Cook (61 yards on 21 carries), and it was the defense forcing the only turnover of the day from Cook with 1:48 left that won it. Taylor said linebacker Germaine Pratt caused it as free safety Jessie Bates III wrapped him up.
"He had five fumbles last year and I thought it was a great opportunity to take the ball away" Pratt said.
_How about the Billy Price trade? Defensive lineman B.J. Hill, two sacks in his last 32 games as a Giant while playing every game for them the last two seasons, had two of the Bengals' three in his Cincy debut.
Check out some of the best game action photos as the Bengals opened the 2021 regular season at home against the Minnesota Vikings.