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Who is Jake Browning? Bengals backup QB surging onto the scene

Jake Browning is here to stay in the NFL.

The Cincinnati Bengals fanbase took a gut punch that felt like a knockout blow when Joe Burrow went down with a torn wrist ligament against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football in Week 11. Burrow is out for the season, but hope may not all be lost. Well, it isn’t yet, at least.

The Bengals then put in Jake Browning for the rest of that game. He did end with a touchdown in about a half of play off the bench.

Browning ended his NFL debut against the Steelers the following week with 227 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

On Monday Night Football, he came out firing, hitting 17/19 in the first half. At one point, he hit 19 of his first 21 passes.

That said, who is Jake Browning, and where did he come from?

Browning was a 4-star pro-style quarterback coming out of the high school class of 2015. He committed to Washington in 2014 and ended as the sixth-best pro-style quarterback in the class. He was also the 17th-best player from the state of California in the class as well, so Browning was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school.

While Browning ended up attending Washington, he also did receive an offer from Alabama, Utah, Boise State, and many other Division I programs.

Browning was no stranger to high levels of success at the college level. After all, he was the 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year with the Washington Huskies, guiding his team to a College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Alabama.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and is 27 years old. Browning played all four seasons with the Huskies. His best season was in 2016, and he was dynamic. Browning ended with 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions with his primary weapon being former Bengals first-round pick John Ross.

Oddly enough, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson were a few of the names ahead of Browning in the Heisman standings.

Browning didn’t see that type of success at the collegiate level throughout his last few seasons. He went undrafted out of Washington in 2019 and spent some time with the Minnesota Vikings but didn’t actually play, staying mainly on their practice squad.

Browning was waived by the Vikings during the final roster cuts prior to the 2020 season and then was re-signed to the practice squad. He never got a true shot at staying on the active roster.

The Bengals brought Browning on to the practice squad during the 2021 season after being waived by the Vikings during final roster cuts, and that’s where he remained for the entire season.

That scenario is what played out during the 2022 season as well, as Browning never sniffed the 53-man roster, though he did get several gameday call-ups before being declared inactive late in the season. That was, in part, so the Bengals could protect Browning from being signed by other teams while also showing him they believed he could eventually develop into a QB capable of making the 53-man roster.

Those hopes turned out to be true.

For the 2023 season, Browning did just enough to beat out Trevor Siemian for the backup role in training camp and in the preseason.

Originally from Folsom, California, Browning was later given an opportunity to be QB1 with the injury to Burrow, and he’s performed well through his first game and a half.