Bengals QB Jake Browning Puts NFL on Notice After Win vs. Jaguars

Jake Browning

Getty Jake Browning won his first pro game on Monday Night Football.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning knows what’s coming next after a memorable “Monday Night Football” performance — opponents’ adjustments.

“It was good to have a solid performance under your belt, but I’m not planning on plateauing anytime soon,” Browning told reporters after Monday’s 34-31 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I think I can continue to get better. I think there’s going to be a lot of different looks thrown at me over the next couple weeks.”

“There’s always a new challenge,” Browning added. “And even the best of the best quarterbacks have been doing it forever. There’s always something new. There’s always some new game plan. There’s always some new adversity or whatever it is.”

Browning caught the nation’s and the league’s attention on Monday with 354 yards passing and one touchdown. He completed 86.5% of his passes with a 115.5 passer rating, and Browning engineered a game-winning drive in overtime — his first NFL win.

Jake Browning Made Significant Strides in Week 13

Browning significantly improved from the first time he stepped in for injured quarterback Joe Burrow on November 16 against the Baltimore Ravens. Browning couldn’t rally the Bengals in a 34-20 loss, and he fell short of leading Cincinnati past the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week.

In addition, Browning made plays with his legs amid 22 yards and a touchdown on two carries against the Jaguars. His touchdown run tied the game 28-28 in the fourth quarter, the third time he rallied the Bengals to a tie in the game.

Before Monday, he completed 65.9% of his passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns versus an interception on 27-41 passing. He averaged 10.9 yards per completion, and took seven sacks in the process.

The Indianapolis Colts (7-5) have to tangle with Browning and the Bengals next in Week 14 — another game between playoff hopefuls. Indianapolis has a four-game winning streak, and the defense has held every opponent under 30 points in that span.

“I’ll be focused on continuing to improve, continuing to grow as a quarterback, and just keep playing every week,” Browning said.

That’s the daunting task of a backup quarterback thrust into a starting role in place of a starter lost for the season. Four other teams lost their starting quarterbacks, and another, the New York Jets, may not see Aaron Rodgers on the field again this season.

Backup QBs Find Varied Success After Big Injuries to Starters

Indianapolis ironically is one of the four teams that’s dependent on a backup for the rest of 2023. Gardner Minshew took over for rookie Anthony Richardson after his ACL tear. Minshew has seen varied success amid a 5-3 record and 2,284 yards passing for 10 touchdowns versus seven interceptions.

The Cleveland Browns haven’t enjoyed consistency since DeShaun Watson‘s season-ending injury. Similarly, the New York Giants struggled since Daniel Jones‘ ACL tear, but Tommy Devito is bringing a little hope back to Gotham with back-to-back wins.

Josh Dobbs became a quick sensation for the Minnesota Vikings after Kirk Cousins‘ Achilles injury. However, Dobbs flamed out on “Monday Night Football” a week ago in his fourth start.

Browning did the opposite under the bright lights in his third full game, but the jury remains out until he can start more games as other quarterback-needy teams painfully know.

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