‘MNF’ takeaways: Excellent backup play, Lawrence injury highlight

Cincinnati (6-6) pulled off a huge upset on Monday night as a 10-point underdog, winning 34-31 in overtime against Jacksonville (8-4)

Here are three takeaways from an exciting game.

Quarterback injuries (somehow) don’t dull game: When schedule makers lined Bengals-Jaguars up for “Monday Night Football,” it was an expected battle between former No. 1 overall seeds Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. 

Burrow (wrist) was lost for the season in Week 11 while Lawrence suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter of Monday’s game. That led to a battle of backups Jake Browning and C.J. Beathard down the stretch that was more thrilling than it had any right to be.

Jake Browning was 32-of-37 for 354 yards and a touchdown while Beathard was 9-of-10 for 63 yards after coming in for Lawrence. 

The way some backups in other places have played this season (looking at you, New York), both Browning and Beathard scored massive paydays on Monday night.

Trevor Lawrence couldn’t have come at a worse time: Beathard did an excellent job filling in with minimal preparation in a tough situation, leading the Jags on a two-minute drive to force overtime.

Still, Jacksonville would probably like to have Lawrence healthy for the next two weeks when the Jags travel to Cleveland (7-5) and then host Baltimore (9-3). Both teams have two of the best defenses in the league and can rush the quarterback, which could be problematic for Jacksonville if it must rely on either a hobbled Lawrence or its backup. 

In a tougher-than-expected AFC South, his injury could knock the Jags from division champs to a wild-card team.

Cincinnati’s wide receivers aren’t quarterbacks: Zac Taylor learned that he shouldn’t have his wide receivers fill in as the team’s emergency quarterback if needed. Browning was excellent on Monday night. 

Wideouts Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd were not. They each attempted a pass and combined to go 1-of-2 for -7 yards and an interception.

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