Jake Browning threw for 354 yards and a touchdown in his second career start, and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-31 in overtime on Monday night.
Browning also went for a score as the Bengals won 6-6 on Monday Night Football for the first time since 1990 on Evan McPherson’s 48-yard field goal. More than the result could prove costly for the Jaguars (8-4), who lost quarterback Trevor Lawrence to a right ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. Left tackle Walker Little stepped on Lawrence’s ankle, causing him to twist it as he was sacked. Lawrence tried to get up, but he fell to the ground, ripped off his helmet, and threw it away in disgust.
He was helped from the field into the tunnel to have an X-ray. On Tuesday, the Jaguars said the quarterback suffered a severe ankle sprain but would not provide a timetable for his return. Lawrence has never missed a game in his three-year NFL career.
“We’ll see in the next few days where he’s at here,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson told reporters on Tuesday.
The injury ended an otherwise outstanding night for Lawrence, who completed 22 of 29 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He was also chasing points.
Browning was brilliant, as was Joe Burrow, who watched and trained from the sidelines while wearing a cast and sling. Browning completed 32 of 37 passes and led the overtime period that produced McPherson’s game-winning goal. McPherson, who played collegiately at nearby Florida, hit a 57-yarder in the same direction off the crossbar early in the game.
“Feels good, I had to earn it,” Browning said when asked about his first professional win as a starter. “I thought we played a complete game on offense and the defense had the stops we needed. It’s been a long time since I won a game so it feels good.
“It started at the front, where we were able to run the ball very well. This is a credit to Joe Mixon and the O-Line. Just the week I had to prepare was huge. It’s not a fancy answer, but that’s exactly what it was.”
Jacksonville backup CJ Beathard completed 9 of 10 passes for 63 yards in relief of Lawrence. Beathard put the Jaguars in position for Brandon McManus’ 40-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in regulation, increasing the score to 31-31.
Ja’Marr Chase caught 11 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, a 76-yarder in the third quarter that got the Bengals going. Joe Mixon ran for 68 yards and scored two scores, and rookie Chase Brown added 61 yards on the ground, making it the league’s worst rushing attack. Mixon also had six receptions for 49 yards.
“The kid had a hell of a game,” Bengals receiver Tee Higgins said of Browning after the game. “You guys have been asking about his confidence all week and you just saw him there. Shoot, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The Bengals made it more difficult than it should have been when coach Zac Taylor called a trick play that became a debacle in the third quarter. Browning passed to receiver Tyler Boyd, who inexplicably threw directly to pass rusher Josh Allen. Allen caught the ball for the second time in his career. The Jaguars scored four plays later when Lawrence jumped and stretched the ball across the goal line.
It was the second botched trick play for the Bengals, who also lost seven yards when Chase completed a one-two pass to Browning. Still, the Bengals finished with 491 yards and were 8 of 14 on third down.