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Bengals’ backup QB battle is still far from settled: Who will win it?

Who ultimately wins this battle: Trevor Siemian or Jake Browning?

Syndication: The Enquirer
Jake Browning
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the questions the Cincinnati Bengals have to answer during the preseason is who will be the backup to quarterback Joe Burrow.

Will it be Jake Browning, who has been in the system since he was signed to the Bengals’ practice squad on September 7, 2021, or Trevor Siemian, a free-agent acquisition this year who once was the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos?

After Friday evening’s 36-19 loss at the hand of the visiting Green Bay Packers, that question is far from being answered.

“I saw some good things,” head coach Zac Taylor said after the game. “They moved the ball at times. Ultimately, their job is to get us in the end zone, and offensively, we didn’t get the ball in the end zone at all. Ultimately, that’s what we’re judged on.”

Browning played all the first half and completed 10/17 passes for 95 yards. That works out to a paltry 5.6 yards per attempt and an overall rating of 49.9. He began the game by taking a sack at his own 2-yard-line and ended his evening with a costly interception. The timing could not have been any worse.

Cincinnati seemed on the verge of taking control of the game after a pick-six by safety Tycen Anderson and a 39-yard Evan McPherson field goal gave the Bengals a 16-14 lead with 1:47 left in the half. Another Anderson interception gave Cincinnati the ball back at the Packers’ 36-yard-line with only 1:09 to go before halftime.

Two plays later, Browning threw his interception. Four plays after that, Green Bay was in the end zone.

“I think the turnovers were big and should have created a lot of momentum for us,” Taylor said. “A pick-six and then another one to put us in scoring range right before the half that should have been, at minimum, a 10-point swing for us. Instead, we have the turnover and give it back to them, give up a big play, they score a touchdown, and they’re up 21-16 at the half.”

Things did not get any better in the second half when Siemian got his chance behind center. The journeyman signal caller completed 15/28 passes for 128 yards (an average of 4.3 yards per attempt) and also threw an interception. His overall rating was identical to Browning’s.

This week, the plan is for Siemian to start vs. the Atlanta Falcons and Browning to play most of the second half.

So, we’ll ask you: Who wins the backup QB battle? Sound off in the poll below and in the comments section!

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