Who Is the Bengals’ Backup QB? Jake Browning in Spotlight After Joe Burrow Injury

As Joe Burrow left early with an apparent hand injury, Jake Browning assumed the reins for the Bengals. His background, though, includes shattering records.

Cincinnati Bengals fans endured a scare during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football, as franchise quarterback Joe Burrow was forced to leave momentarily.

Burrow grabbed his right wrist following his four-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon that gave Cincy the 10-7 lead. As Burrow headed for the medical tent and then the locker room, his backup Jake Browning entered the game.

Jake Browning Enters NFL Spotlight After Joe Burrow Injury

Browning took over the reins as Burrow never returned to finish out the first half. Turns out, TNF presented the veteran passer with his first true NFL action.

The native of Folsom, California, first entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2019. The Minnesota Vikings ended up taking a flyer on Browning by signing him, and he eventually joined the practice squad after final cuts were made.

The Vikings decided to waive Browning in August 2021 Aug. 31, 2021 — nearly a week later, the Bengals claimed him off waivers.

Browning Was Once Record-Breaking Passer

While Browning is considered an unknown in many NFL circles, he’s renowned in the California prep football scene for his work in the 916 region.

He shattered national records at Folsom High School. He tallied an astonishing 229 career touchdown passes, breaking the previous national prep mark held by Maty Mauk. He rewrote another national record with tossing 91 touchdowns in his senior season.

Browning also took down state records. He owns the single-season yardage record in California with 5,790 yards in his senior year. By racking up 16,775 total aerial yards, Browning is officially first among the state’s past signal-callers.

It’s important to note that California has produced notable past prep stars named Tom Brady, Josh Allen, and Aaron Rodgers.

The former Folsom Bulldog went on to become a four-star prospect who committed to the University of Washington for the 2015 class.

MORE: Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

Browning, though, endured a rather up-and-down collegiate career at UW. While he became the first true freshman starting QB since Marques Tuiasosopo for the Huskies, he only produced one stellar season in Seattle (2016). That was the campaign that witnessed a career-best 3,430 yards and 43 touchdowns.

But since that season, Browning failed to throw past 20 touchdowns and threw below 3,200 yards.

How Did Browning Fare in Relief Duty With Burrow Out?

Browning entered the game with less than three minutes left. He was unable to get Cincy back on the scoreboard after Burrow’s ailment.

On his first drive, Browning managed to hit Trenton Irwin on a 12-yard strike. But that would be the longest completion for him before halftime.

The undrafted passer settled for just 2 of 4 passing for 19 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. His first drive ended with a punt.

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