The Cincinnati Bengals were big-time underdogs heading into Jacksonville in Week 13 and for good reason. Their backup quarterback looked the part a week prior against the Steelers and the team didn't do enough to help him eke out a win in his first career start.
In Week 13 against the Jaguars, however, Browning looked like a whole new quarterback. He threw for over 300 yards, one touchdown, and rushed for a touchdown as well. He played as well as Bengals fans could have hoped for him to, especially in a big game and in primetime.
Cincinnati needed overtime to get it done, but after the defense got off the field with a crucial stop, Browning and the Bengals were able to move the ball down the field with the help of Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins having massive grabs to extend the drive. This set Evan McPherson up for a 48-yard field goal, and he left no doubt, winning it for the Bengals 34-31.
Browning finished the game 32-of-37 with 354 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and one rushing touchdown. Cincinnati also had one of their best rushing attacks all season, racking up 159 scrimmage yards on the ground and implementing rookie Chase Brown into the offense to compliment Mixon.
The Bengals were 1-5 in their last six games in the state of Florida and won their first road Monday night game since 1990. However, with all the drama that unfolded throughout the game, Where was the key turning point that led to the Cincinnati Bengals victory on Monday night Football?
All player and team personnel courtesy of Pro Football Reference*
Turning Point: Jake Browning rushing TD to tie the game up 28-28 after Tyler Boyd's interception
The Bengals went into halftime tied at 14. The good guys opened up the half perfectly with a stop and a monster 76-yard touchdown from Browning to Ja'Marr Chase. When things were looking up, they drastically took a turn.
Trevor Lawerence and the Jaguars marched down the field and tied the game with a Parker Washington touchdown, and then this is where the tides turned, and the Bengals were truly tested.
Cincinnati opened the next drive with a trick play, flipping it to Boyd with the hope he would turn something out of a pitch pass. After a bad decision and a schematic error, Boyd threw an interception, setting Jacksonville up perfectly. The Jags scored and took a 28-21 lead.
The Bengals punted on the next drive but then forced a 3-and-out, got the ball back, and drove down the field, capping it off with a game-tying Jake Browning rushing touchdown and knotted the game at 28.
The main reason that was the turning point is that with the Bengals being a 5-6 team, the momentum swaying to the Jaguars, being on the road, and having a backup QB, the Bengals could have laid down and died. They could've thrown in the towel and coasted. They did not. They rose to the occasion, corrected their errors, faced adversity, and didn't flinch.
That is what great teams do. The Bengals showed you glimpses of the culture that Zac Taylor has built. When things don't go the way you expect, how do you respond? The Cincinnati Bengals showed you how they feel about this season, and they showed you that they don't believe it's over and that tanking is not an option and not in the current picture.
The Bengals now sit just a game out of a playoff spot with a prime opportunity this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts, who are 7-5 and sit a game above the Bengals, holding the sixth of seven total playoff spots.