3 takeaways from Bengals' 34-31 win vs. Jaguars on Monday Night Football

Jake Browning had an impressive night while Trevor Lawrence exited with a rough injury


JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 04: Jake Browning #6 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at EverBank Stadium on December 04, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)

No, Joe Burrow did not somehow play for the Bengals on Monday.

Backup Jake Browning stood up to the task under the lights of Monday Night Football, helping Cincinnati compete with the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road.

Jaguars star quarterback Trevor Lawrence exited the game with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter and didn't return, setting the stage for Browning and Co. to win 34-31 in overtime thanks to an Evan McPherson 48-yard game-winning field goal.

Let's analyze the game further with three takeaways:

Jake Browning keeps Cincinnati afloat

Don't write off the Bengals just yet. They moved to 6-6 with the win on Monday, with Browning emerging as the focal point. It's a quarterback league and many dismissed the Bengals once Burrow was ruled out for the year with a wrist injury.

But they're still firmly in the AFC playoff picture, though the jury will be out on Browning for at least a few more weeks. He had a decent first ever start versus Pittsburgh last time out, which resulted in a loss. In that game, he completed 19 of 26 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown and one pick, while being sacked four times.

Against Jacksonville he was 19 of 21 at one point, then finished completing 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards, one touchdown and no picks while being sacked twice. He also ran twice for 22 yards and a touchdown, with the score being a QB sneak from the one-yard line. The rest of the team is still playoff quality, but it'll come down to the 27-year-old to keep them swimming.

Trevor Lawrence becomes the latest significant QB injury

Lawrence's rough ankle injury is just the latest in a bad year of injuries to starting quarterbacks across the league. Before the Jaguars star came Burrow, Anthony Richardson, Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, Daniel Jones and Deshaun Watson.

Richardson looked promising in his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts while Burrow, Cousins and Rodgers could've spearheaded playoff runs for their respective teams.

Depending on the severity, Lawrence's ankle could jeopardize what looked to be a promising season for the Jaguars. A win would've made them 9-3, catapulting them to the No. 1 seed late in the year. Instead, they're 8-4 with a cloud of doubt lingering.

They also lost star wideout Christian Kirk early in the first quarter to a groin injury.

Kickers matter

Kickers are people, too. The game ultimately came down to two missed field goals, both of which could've ended the game in regulation. McPherson and Brandon McManus each missed one, though it was the former who avenged his mistake.

McPherson's miss came toward the end of the first quarter, which was from 57 yards and hit the crossbar. He later converted from 54 yards prior to the winner.

McManus missed his from 48 yards out with five minutes to go in the fourth. He did make a 40-yard attempt to send the game to overtime, but that would've been the game-winner had he converted prior.

Contact Us