Browning, making his second NFL start, completed 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown. His 86.5 percent completion rate is the highest all-time in a quarterback’s first or second career start.
“It feels good. We definitely had to earn it,” Browning told ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game. “I thought we played a complete game on offense and the defense came up with the stops we needed.”
Jacksonville (8-4) also finished the game with a backup quarterback.
With about five minutes left and the game tied at 28, the Jaguars lost Trevor Lawrence to a painful leg injury and Brandon McManus then missed a 48-yard field goal. The Bengals took advantage of the momentum swing, and McPherson made a 54-yard field goal for the lead with 2:28 remaining, but it wasn’t enough.
C.J. Beathard led the Jaguars into field goal range, and this time McManus made a 40-yarder to tie it again with 30 seconds on the clock, ultimately sending the game to overtime.
Lawrence was helped off the field after he fell backward onto an awkwardly bent right leg as Trey Hendrickson sacked him on a third down. He also had his ankle stepped on by a teammate during that play. The home crowd fell silent as Lawrence exited, and McManus’ field goal sailed wide right.
Jacksonville had a chance to score first in overtime and looked poised to do so when Calvin Ripley came up with a 43-yard catch to get to the 2-yard line; however, the Jags were called for a holding penalty and Germaine Pratt got the big stop on third-and-17.
Cincinnati was helped by an improved running game, which accounted for 156 yards on 31 carries, including 68 yards and two touchdowns for Joe Mixon.
The Bengals had taken their first lead on Browning’s 76-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase their first drive of the second half, but after the Jaguars tied it up the next drive, they quickly were able to tack on another seven points with the help of a turnover deep in Cincinnati territory. Chase finished with 11 receptions for 149 yards.
On the next play from scrimmage after Parker Washington’s first career touchdown reception, Browning tossed a lateral to Tyler Boyd, and the veteran wide receiver threw a trick-play pass back across the field and right to Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen. That put Jacksonville at the Bengals’ 9-yard line, and four plays later, Lawrence outstretched his arm to get the ball across the plane for a touchdown, giving the Jags a 28-21 lead with about three minutes left in the third quarter.
Cincinnati punted the next possession but were able to flip field position when Brad Robbins pinned the Jaguars inside their own 10-yard line and the defense forced a three-and-out. The Bengals took advantage with a nine-play, 48-yard scoring drive capped by Browning’s first career touchdown run and helped by a Chase catch to convert a fourth down.
Browning struggled early on, including taking a sack on fourth-and-3 near midfield the opening drive, which set up a short field for the Jaguars to get on the board first. Lawrence got things going for Jacksonville with a 26-yard pass to Christian Kirk, who was injured on the play, but Travis Etienne capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown.
A failed trick play on Cincinnati’s second possession backed Browning up seven yards on second down and Evan McPherson’s 57-yard field goal hit the crossbar; however, the Bengals forced a three-and-out and then dialed up a more aggressive gameplan to move the ball on offense. A pair of deep balls set up the first of two Joe Mixon touchdown runs in the second quarter, which sandwiched a Jacksonville touchdown and both times tied the game.
Cincinnati had 233 yards of offense in the first half — eight days after recording just 222 yards total in a loss to Pittsburgh. It was the most yards the Jaguars had allowed in a first half this year since recording 209 yards in a 37-17 loss to the Texans in Week 3.
The Jaguars, who had good field position its first two drives, had 150 yards of offense in the first half.
Colts at Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7