It felt like the whole world thought the Cincinnati Bengals’ season was over when Joe Burrow, who became the highest-paid player in the NFL over the offseason, went down for the season with a torn wrist ligament against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bengals had kept just Burrow and unproven backup quarterback Jake Browning on the roster, so on the surface, it looked like the team was going with a Burrow-or-bust approach. Browning wasn’t expected to get a shot at the NFL limelight this season, but here we are.
Browning is now 2-1 in his three starts and has made history on several occasions. Here is another feat by the 27-year-old former Washington Huskies standout, according to Jay Morrison of Pro Football Network.
“On Sunday, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning became the first player in NFL history to post a completion rate of at least 78% and a passer rating of at least 95 in the first three starts of his career,” Morrison wrote.
And there’s also this from WLWT’s Charlie Clifford.
More history: Jake Browning's 79.3 completion percentage as the Bengals starter is the best mark by any quarterback in NFL history through three career starts. pic.twitter.com/6mxv6Ts91D— Charlie Clifford (@char_cliff) December 11, 2023
Browning tempered expectations in the Bengals 16-10 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in his debut. He threw for 227 yards and one touchdown, also having an interception.
However, he turned it up on Monday Night Football when Zac Taylor really unleashed this offense under Browning, who ended the game with 354 passing yards while completing 32/37 passes with a 115.5 quarterback rating. The Bengals didn’t just cover the double-digit spread but won outright against the AFC South-leading Jags.
Browning followed that performance up with a 275-yard, two-touchdown showing against the Indianapolis Colts at home in a Week 14 win while also rushing for a score. That pushed the Bengals to 7-6 and firmly back in the playoff conversation after two straight wins over teams currently in the AFC Playoff Picture.
At the very least, Browning has shown he is capable of running this offense smoothly.
And, at the very most, he has this team looking like a true contender in the AFC once again. Week 15 against the Minnesota Vikings at home will paint a clearer picture of what Browning is capable of.
Let’s hope he keeps it up, as the Bengals will need every bit of it to make the NFL Playoffs.
gonna update the ranks once the mnf games are in, but for now, some jake browning stats and ranks out of 35 qbs from week 13-14.— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) December 11, 2023
they're creating a more efficient brock purdy on the fly. pic.twitter.com/ErMtXACHpm