Quarterback Jake Browning did his best to dig deeper by throwing an end zone interception on third down within field goal range.
The pass ended up nowhere near any of his receivers, and was the first of three turnovers he was responsible for. It was a grave mistake from Browning, who thought the ball was going to end up in a completely different area. After the 34-11 loss, Browning told media members that he was trying to throw the ball away from the play.
Instead, it ended up in the hands of defensive back Patrick Peterson. “I was trying to throw it out the back of the end zone,” Browning explained.
“I thought I did throw it away, and then the whole crowd and crazy. I didn’t even know it was picked. So, [it was] stupid.”
.@P2 the safety with the INT!
— NFL (@NFL) December 23, 2023
Considering how, again, there were no Bengals players even close to where the ball ended up, it makes sense that Browning tried to put more air on the ball and get it out of the end zone. The problem with this truth is that the whole situation could’ve been avoided entirely.
Browning was rolling to his right on the play and was 13 yards behind the line of scrimmage upon letting it fly. That put him at the 29-yard line, trying to throw the ball at minimum 40 yards so it lands behind the end zone.
He was also right next to the sidelines and so far outside the tackle box. A simple heave into the stands to his right would’ve done the trick.
Why in the world did Browning opt to chuck his pass over the field of play instead of eliminating the possibility of disaster altogether? We may never know, but it made a bad start to the Bengals’ evening a lot worse.