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Brandon Allen reminds everyone he can be a dependable backup

Allen and Jake Browning have both had solid preseason efforts.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals
Brandon Allen
Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback Brandon Allen is definitely not like a box of chocolates. Love him, like him or hate him, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get.

With Allen, what you get is efficiency and competitiveness. And not a lot of mistakes. His passes may not always be pretty, but they usually get to where they are going.

Saturday in preseason tilt No. 3 against the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams, Allen stepped it up a notch and showed why the Denver Broncos had made him a starter earlier in his career after completing 11/15 passes (73%) for 130 yards and a quarterback rating of 99.3.

During the 2022 preseason, Allen completed 28/38 passes (73.7%) for 264 yards (an average of 9.43 yards per completion) and no touchdowns. His competition, third-string quarterback Jake Browning, has had an equally impressive summer, completing 42/64 passes (65.6%) for 352 yards (an average of 8.38 yards per completion) and one touchdown.

“Those guys have competed all of training camp,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said at the postgame news conference. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Brandon. He’s got years in the system. He does a real good job operating our team. I think those guys have both done a nice job and done what we needed them to do.”

What Cincinnati needed them to do was show that they would be able to take over the reins of this offense should anything happen to Joe Burrow. Since he was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Allen has made nine starts, three for Denver and six for Cincinnati. He has a record of 2-7 over those starts while completing 146/260 passes (56.2%) for 1,589 yards, with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Browning was an undrafted free agent signing of the Minnesota Vikings in 2019 and has yet to throw a pass in the NFL.

Hopefully, this new offensive line can keep Burrow upright and healthy this year. In a worst-case scenario, though, the Bengals believe they have two guys who can do the job.