CINCINNATI — The Bengals' offense got off to a slow start, but they scored back-to-back touchdowns late in the first half to take a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Joe Burrow is back, but head coach Zac Taylor clearly wanted to be conservative with his star quarterback early in the game.
The Bengals' first possession was filled with one-step drops. They didn't push the ball downfield at all.
That changed late in the first half when Burrow led back-to-back scoring drives, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Ja'Marr Chase.
Chase struggled with drops in the preseason, but he caught all three of his first half targets.
Burrow was unbelievable on the final two drives of the first half. He's completed 11-of-13 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Here are some other halftime observations:
First Touchdown Pass
Burrow found Tee Higgins in the back of the end zone for his first touchdown pass of the season. He took a big hit and threw a perfect ball to the second-year receiver.
Running back Joe Mixon had his left knee wrapped in the second quarter. He missed a significant amount of the Bengals' first scoring drive.
He returned to the game and didn't appear to be limited.
The Bengals' defense only had 17 sacks last season. They had two in the first half. Larry Ogunjobi and B.J. Hill both sacked Kirk Cousins. They also have five quarterback hits.
With Trae Waynes nursing an injured hamstring, cornerback Eli Apple got the start and he struggled in the first half.
First, he had an awful missed tackle on 3rd-and-24 that allowed the Vikings to extend their drive. Then, he was called for holding, which put Minnesota in position to score a touchdown.
The Bengals Will Win If...
They keep Burrow upright and continue to slow down the Vikings' offense. The Bengals' interior linemen got plenty of pressure on Cousins. If that continues, then they should be able to slow down Minnesota's playermakers.
Burrow was sacked twice in the first half and took some hits, but he's in a groove. If they keep him clean, there's no reason why Higgins, Chase and Tyler Boyd can't have a huge second half.
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