CINCINNATI – Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. said he was less than a fingertip away from changing Saturday's 27-24 overtime loss to the Bengals.

Murphy said his right fingertips scraped the football as Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd cradled the 44-yard catch and run on third-and-9 that set up Cincinnati's overtime field goal. Murphy trailed Boyd on a deep crossing route, but he closed the window quickly and nearly swatted the ball down with his right arm.

"My hand literally touched the ball," Murphy said. "Literally, my fingertips."

Instead, the Vikings' typically stingy defense allowed a fourth explosive pass play to Bengals quarterback Jake Browning, the former undrafted Vikings passer who has won three games in a row in place of the injured Joe Burrow. Three of Browning's four deep completions — thrown more than 20 yards downfield — came in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Bengals overcame a 14-point deficit.

Browning, who threw for 324 yards, gave talented Bengals receivers chances to change the game. That's what Bengals receiver Tee Higgins did in the final minute of regulation. Against a Vikings blitz, Browning heaved a prayer toward the right pylon where Higgins, who is listed 6-foot-4, stood near Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans, who is listed 6-foot-2.

Higgins skyed over Evans, landed with both feet in bounds and reached backward to extend the ball past the goal line. The game-tying touchdown came with 39 seconds left. Higgins finished with four catches for 61 yards and two scores.

"It was a good battle," said Evans, who got his first NFL interception earlier in the game. "[Higgins] has size, a huge catch radius. He made a play down the stretch. I tried to go up for it and he just made a play."

The Vikings defense, which ranked 10th in yards allowed entering Saturday, didn't get gashed until the second half. After halftime, Browning completed 20 of 27 throws for 243 yards and both scores.

A first-half miss, according to Browning, led to one of his big second-half throws.

He overthrew a wide-open Bengals receiver Charlie Jones on a deep ball down the middle of the field.

Later facing a third-and-21 play in the fourth quarter, Browning said the Vikings' adjustment in coverage led to an opening. Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase ran an in-breaking route that cut under the Vikings' deep zone, made deeper by leaving Jones so open earlier in the game. Chase, who suffered a shoulder injury on the play and did not return, found ample room and caught the pass for a 24-yard gain and first down.

Bengals running back Joe Mixon eventually capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown.

"They were playing a lot of two-deep [coverage] and having someone run in the middle," Browning said. "Once you throw one of those early in the game, you've got to respect it later. I feel like that was a product of that [incompletion]."

Head coach Kevin O'Connell was asked about offenses beating the Vikings defense on "digs," or deep in-breaking routes like what Chase ran to convert the long third down.

"We got to find a way to crowd that area of the field," O'Connell said, "and make them throw somewhere else."

Browning is just the second quarterback to eclipse 300 passing yards against coordinator Brian Flores' Vikings defense, joining Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

Murphy said the old NFL adage of a "game of inches" was no truer than on Saturday.

"The one yard, the one step," Murphy said, "all those little things you've got to correct because it's inches in this game — one inch can win."

Correction: A previous version of this article included an incorrect number of games in a row Jake Browning has won as the Bengals starting quarterback.