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Bengals-Colts Quick Hits: Browning Breaks Two-Decade Accuracy Record; Chido On  Mend Just In Time; Hope Taylor-Britt Can Return; Jake-Minshew Meet Again

CB Chidobe Awuzie warms up before kickoff of the Bengals-Browns Week 1 game of the 2023 season on Sunday, September 10, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CB Chidobe Awuzie warms up before kickoff of the Bengals-Browns Week 1 game of the 2023 season on Sunday, September 10, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio.

You can cut yourself on the accuracy of Bengals head coach Zac Taylor's passing game.

Jake Browning, replacing the NFL's most accurate passer of all-time in Joe Burrow, now holds the record for the highest completion percentage in his first two NFL starts with 81%.

According to Next Gen Stats, that goes back to the Truman Administration (1950), breaks the 21-year-old record (held by Chad Pennington at 79.3) while also eclipsing the top five marks of Bengals villains Mike White (78.6) and Brett Favre (75.8).

White hit the Bengals for 82.2 percent in his first start for the Jets in the Halloween scare of 2021 and in 1992 Favre came off the Packers bench to beat the Bengals late to earn those next two starts that propelled him to Canton.

Browning's Monday Night Masterpiece of 86% in Jacksonville included 354 yards on 32 of 37 passing and has the league still buzzing as the Bengals returned to work Wednesday for a walkthrough at the IEL Indoor Facility that began prep for Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) against the Colts at Paycor Stadium.

"I think his five incompletions were two drops, two throwaways and a tipped ball. So that's pretty dang accurate," Taylor said at his Wednesday press conference. "That's kind of what we've talked about. When you have a back-up quarterback, everyone has to raise their level of play. Everyone raised their level of play.

"The defense made some big stops that gave us the ball back in a position to recapture momentum. Offensively, those guys all rose up around him and gave what you needed. And then he put in the work, was confident in his abilities and went out there and got into a really good rhythm and was able to perform the way that he did."

CORNER CHAT: Taylor said there's hope that No. 1 cover cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (ankle) can return before the end of the season. He's on injured reserve for three more games, so he could play the last two games, New Year's Eve in Kansas City and the weekend of Jan. 7-8 at Paycor against Cleveland. Probably pending their playoff hopes.

Chidobe Awuzie, who had the title of No. 1 cover cornerback before tearing his ACL on Halloween of 2022, has stepped up and looks to be rounding into form. Monday night marked the first time he played every snap since two weeks before the injury and Pro Football Focus gave him the Bengals' second-highest coverage grade to go with a season-high tying eight tackles against the Jags' fleet receivers.

"You just see so much confidence and seeing concepts and understanding the scheme of the defense and the communication aspect of things," Taylor said. "Those are all things he's tremendous at and he just continues to improve physically to my eye. It really is amazing that he came back to play so quickly as a DB off an ACL.

"They threw some balls downfield against him and he was right there in position every step with one of the fastest receiving groups in the league. I thought he was step for step with those guys."

ANOTHER CLOSE ONE? You kind of get the sense this one is going to be closer than the last time Browning met Colts backup Gardner Minshew II, which was five years ago in the Apple Cup when Browning led Washington to a 28-15 win over Minshew and Washington State.

Since then, six of Minshew's 13 NFL wins with two different teams have been of the fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive variety. Two have been this year and he's coming off a walk-off win he fired a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Pitman in overtime to beat the Titans.

Minshew also has a Paycor fourth-quarter comeback over Taylor when he led the Jaguars to an Oct. 20, 2019 win. And, of course, thanks to Monday night's overtime, Browning has a fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive to his credit.

"I think he raises the level of play of those around him," said Taylor of Minshew's playmaking. "There's a guy that's out there playing quarterback that teams believe in. He's had this impact on several teams now. You can just feel that on the tape that he can extend plays, he can play in rhythm, the guys around him believe in him. You can see all of that."

HERE COMES THE GUS: The Bengals are well acquainted with Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's tenacious Bend-But-Don't-Break Cover Three. Their two wins over Bradley's Raiders in 2021, including the Wild Card festival at Paycor, were absolute grind jobs and that's what's expected Sunday.

Taylor says it's going to be like going to the dentist.

"Gus Bradley has just been so consistent with every defense he's ever had. They're going to play with a ton of energy and they're going to make things look very similar and complement different looks out of the same looks," Taylor said. "And man, those guys are going to play hard. They're going to run to the ball and they're going to create issues for you that way. And so a lot of respect for those teams. We played the Raiders two years ago twice and it can be like pulling teeth sometimes, to find the right looks and maximize what they do."

Bradley has got them on the same page. In the last month. The Colts have won four straight and are allowing just 16.8 points per game on 4.7 yards per play. That came on the heels of a three-game losing they allowed 38 points per on 5.3 yards per play.

INJURY UPDATE: Since it was a walkthrough the Bengals released an estimated injury report Wednesday. Running back Chase Brown (hamstring) and right tackle Jonah Williams (back) were limited and defensive linemen B.J. Hill and Sam Hubbard, as well as linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, were limited with a rest. No one was out.