Backup QB Jake Browning shines again as Bengals pound Colts to stay in playoff mix
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jake Browning threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in his second straight outstanding performance for the Cincinnati Bengals, who pounded the Indianapolis Colts 34-14 on Sunday.
With Joe Burrow out for the season because of a wrist injury, Browning has kept the Bengals (7-6) in playoff contention. He followed up a 354-yard outing in a win at Jacksonville last Monday night by completing 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards with an interception against the Colts.
Indianapolis (7-6) had its four-game win streak snapped and its playoff positioning took a hit. Gardner Minshew threw for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Colts, whose offense stalled after halftime.
The game was tied at 14-all at the break, but Indy's first four second-half possessions ended with two punts, a pick thrown by Minshew and a failed fourth-down attempt.
Meanwhile, the Bengals scored on their first two drives of the second half — an 11-yard TD grab by Tanner Hudson and a 1-yard keeper by Browning.
Rookie running back Chase Brown had a 54-yard touchdown reception for the Bengals that opened the scoring. Brown grabbed a short pass out of the backfield and raced untouched down the right sideline, juking safety Rodney Thompson II at the 6-yard-line on the way to the end zone.
After Colts kicker Matt Gay bounced a 38-yard field goal attempt off the left upright, the Bengals scored again. Benefiting from two Indianapolis penalties, Cincinnati put together a 72-yard drive that Joe Mixon finished with a 1-yard TD plunge.
The Colts kept the ball for the next 8:22, and Minshew threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Mo Alie-Cox.
Indianapolis needed just 25 seconds to score again. Browning's off-target pass deflected off Hudson's hand and directly to Colts linebacker Ronnie Harrison Jr., who ran it back 36 yards for a TD.
Browning went to the locker room with muscle cramps in his throwing hand in the fourth quarter but returned.
Colts: Host Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Bengals: Host Minnesota on Saturday.
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