One of the oldest lines in football says that a team with two quarterbacks has none. Well, the Bengals might have two quarterbacks — and they certainly aren’t complaining.
Jake Browning, who hadn’t thrown a regular season pass before this season, entered Monday night’s game against the Jaguars with the odds stacked against him and played like an NFL veteran.
The former Washington QB toyed with a talented Jaguars defense, impressing in both short-yardage situations and downfield opportunities. Despite a lackluster performance from their defense, the Bengals pulled off the upset and took down the AFC South leaders to keep their playoff hopes alive.
MORE: Latest injury updates on Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence
Here’s a closer look at Browning’s performance against Jacksonville, by the numbers.
Jake Browning stats today
Browning finished 32-of-37 for 354 yards and a touchdown pass in Monday night’s win, also adding 22 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The Washington product had just five incompletions all night, showcasing an impressive connection with Ja’Marr Chase. The star receiver exploded for 149 yards and a touchdown as a safety net for Browning. The highlight of Browning’s night was a third-quarter bomb to Chase, who went 76 yards for the touchdown.
While that was the flashiest moment for the Bengals’ offense, Browning got the job done in short-yardage situations as well. Cincinnati was 8-of-14 on third down and made a habit of methodical drives that wore down the Jaguars’ defense.
MORE: Inside Jake Browning’s long road from Washington to Bengals
Browning noted after the game that it had been a long time since he last won a game, and he’s right. Before Monday, his last win as a starter came against Utah in the Pac-12 championship game on Nov. 30, 2018.
The win is a massive development for the Bengals, who would have fallen two games out of a wild-card spot with a loss, but Browning’s performance also justified the franchise’s commitment to him.
Cincinnati chose Browning over veteran Trevor Siemian at the end of training camp, choosing to make a quarterback with no in-game NFL experience the direct backup to Joe Burrow on a team with Super Bowl expectations.
The Bengals’ decision not to have an experienced signal-caller behind Burrow seemed questionable when their star went down with a season-ending wrist injury, but it’s hard to imagine many backups would have been able to deliver the kind of performance Browning did in Jacksonville.
The playoffs are still an uphill climb for Cincinnati, but Browning has given Bengals fans a reason to keep watching while giving himself a future in the NFL.