There weren’t many who gave Jake Browning and the Cincinnati Bengals a snowball’s chance in Hell on Monday Night Football, taking on an 8-3 Jacksonville Jaguars team that was hoping to take steps toward the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
After all, it was Browning’s second start in the NFL, and the last one against the Steelers did not go well at all.
But then Browning completed 86% of his passes for 354 yards and a touchdown while also scoring one with his legs, defeating the Jaguars by a score of 34-31 in overtime.
Considering it was his first win in the NFL, he was asked afterward if he was emotional.
He gave the exact kind of answer every Bengals fan wanted to hear, showing off a Joe Burrow-like mentality of ‘just another game.’
“Surprisingly not,” he said. “I don’t know why. I think it was partially because it came down to the wire, and I feel like I play my best football when I’m just calm and, you know, not really thinking about anything outside of what is in my control, which is just operating the offense and being calm and delivering the ball.”
The Bengals started the game with the ball, and even though they didn’t go three and out, they went for it on fourth-and-three and the Jaguars' 44-yard line. Browning took a sack, and the Jaguars walked right down the field and scored the game’s first touchdown.
And then, on the next drive, the Bengals were stopped again. This time, Even McPherson came up just an inch or so short on a 57-yard field goal. It was at this point, when it looked like the offense was in for another long night, that something changed.
The next 10 drives went like this:
- End of half
- Interceptions (thrown by Tyler Boyd)
- Field goal
- End of regulation
- Field goal to win the game
Browning looked like a seasoned pro. He dealt accurate passes to eight different receivers, making the Jaguars defense look like they were facing off against a healthy Joe Burrow.
When asked about how he feels helming the team moving forward, he made sure everyone knew even though this was his first NFL win, it wasn’t his first rodeo.
“We got two games in 12 days. So, it's kind of moving quickly. I haven’t played a lot of NFL football, but it’s not like I’m not used to winning. I can. I’ve won a lot of games in my career. None of them have been in the NFL until today, which is obviously noteworthy, but I’m used to winning. I’ve won a lot of football games in my life.”
Browning set the all-time passing yards record, the all-time touchdown passes record, and the single-game touchdown passes record while at the University of Washington (those records still hold today). He went undrafted due to a perceived lack of size and athleticism and landed with the Vikings practice squad before he was cut and came to Cincinnati. The rest is history.
Hopefully, Browning will continue to build off his performance on Monday Night Football and take the Bengals into the postseason!