It was supposed to be an easy night against a double-digit underdog, but the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 34-31 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals proved to be a nightmare.
After a strong start to the game for the Jaguars with an opening drive touchdown and two defensive stops, the Bengals offense caught fire. In his second career start, Jake Browning had a terrific night, throwing only five incompletions on 37 pass attempts.
The Jaguars clawed back from an early second half deficit, but a bad night turned into a nightmare one due to injuries. Jacksonville lost Christian Kirk to a groin injury on the first offensive snap, but even worse, the team lost Trevor Lawrence to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
While Jacksonville managed to drive into field goal range for a game-tying kick in the final 30 seconds of regulation, the offense couldn’t do it again in overtime. Instead it was Cincinnati that got the yards it needed to set up a 48-yarder for Evan McPherson that ended the game.
Here’s how Jacksonville’s costly Week 13 loss went down:
Jaguars MVP of the game: QB Trevor Lawrence
Prior to his injury, Lawrence was having a stellar night. He finished 22-of-29 passing for 258 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. His 125.4 passer rating was his highest of the season.
Bengals MVP of the game: QB Jake Browning
Did anyone see that performance coming from Browning?
The Bengals’ backup quarterback who has been forced into action due to a season-ending injury for Joe Burrow didn’t look like a liability Monday. He completed 32 of his 37 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Jaguars' play of the game: Josh Allen's interception of Tyler Boyd
Josh Allen intercepts the trick play!
— NFL (@NFL) December 5, 2023
The degree of difficulty wasn’t high for Allen on his interception Monday. When the Bengals ran a trick play, Boyd turned and threw it directly to the Jaguars’ outside linebacker who was standing in the throwing lane the whole time.
Still, the massive momentum swing turned the tide and helped the Jaguars take back the lead early in the second half.
It was over when ... Evan McPherson kicked a game-winner in overtime
— NFL (@NFL) December 5, 2023
The Jaguars appeared to hit the deep bomb they needed to set themselves up to win in overtime, but Calvin Ridley’s long reception was negated by a holding penalty. The Bengals got the stop they needed and drove the field to win the game.
Stat that says it all: 491 yards allowed by the Jaguars
The Jaguars defense has been really good most of the season, but they had their worst performance of the year Monday. The Bengals moved the ball up and down the field at will, and Jacksonville couldn’t buy a stop.
The Jaguars will travel north to play on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Cleveland is 7-5 after back-to-back road losses against the Broncos and Rams. The team lost starting quarterback Deshaun Watson to injury and has handed the reins to Joe Flacco, who finished with 254 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in his first start with the Browns.