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Bengals' Jake Browning gets revenge in comeback win over Vikings: 'They never should have cut me!'

Cincinnati kept its playoff hopes alive with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.

For Bengals quarterback Jake Browning, who led three consecutive touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to get the game into overtime, authoring a comeback win over Minnesota made it extra sweet.

"There was definitely a little extra part (to this game)," Browning said after the 27-24 triumph, via the team's official transcript. "I remember getting cut there (Minnesota) the last time, and just being told, 'Hey, we might have a spot for you on the practice squad. Go to the hotel and wait.' So, I sat in the hotel for a couple of hours not knowing if I had a job or not, and just basically got a call from my agent. They didn't tell me. I had been there for two years. I've been cut my fair share of times, and that was probably the (crappiest) one."

Browning's sour end in Minnesota led him to Cincinnati, where fate has him commanding a high-powered offense that has helped Joe Burrow become one of the league's premier quarterbacks. Browning has taken the bull by the horns following Burrow's season-ending wrist injury, turning in his third win in four starts to help keep Cincinnati alive in the AFC playoff picture.

In hurting the Vikings' chances at a playoff berth, Browning is smiling ear to ear as he enters a suitable chapter to his own comeback story.

"It's completely different (now) -- a completely different coaching staff and everything -- and I want to emphasize that there are some incredible people over there, but that one felt good," he added. "I think, right after we made the field goal to win the game, I screamed at a camera and said, 'They never should have cut me!'"

Browning had to overcome a slow start before taking it to his former squad. An opening-drive field goal was all that showed for Cincinnati entering halftime, and Browning's lone interception on the first drive of the second half established a worried scene at Paycor Stadium.

Entering the fourth quarter with a 17-3 deficit, Browning quickly went to work, ending a flawless eight-play, 75-yard drive (seven straight completions) with a TD pass to Tee Higgins on the first play of the final frame. After a Vikings' three-and-out, Browning then marched the Bengals 75 yards toward pay dirt to settle the score.

The Vikings would answer back with a TD drive to regain the lead, but the Bengals stayed in the groove of a chain-moving offense by virtue of Browning's arm. The Bengals QB completed 7 of 9 passes on the 74-yard drive, ending it with a 21-yard heave to Higgins, who's tremendous effort near the goal line produced what could be considered as the play of the game.

"I always feel good just throwing the ball up to Tee," said Browning, who completed 29 of 42 passes for 324 yards. "There were a couple of times this game where I just threw it up to him, and good things seemed to happen. We were really close on it a couple of times, and I'll just continue to keep throwing the ball up to him when those opportunities present themselves because he's very good at it."

After the Bengals' defense stuffed Nick Mullens on a QB sneak on fourth-and 1 in overtime, Browning put Minnesota to bed with a strike to Tyler Boyd, who's 44-yard catch and run set up Evan McPherson's game-winning field goal.

Saturday's win extended Cincinnati's win streak to three, and the 8-6 Bengals are now firmly in the playoff hunt with three more to play. Losses at this point cannot be afforded for for a team that must go on the road in consecutive weeks (at PIT, at KC) before hosting the Browns in Week 18, but Browning has another score to settle next Saturday.

"High, but I think we're going to play an important game next week," Browning said of his confidence. "We play the Steelers. I played terrible against them last time, so I'm pretty focused on that."

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