Jeff Driskel

Former Florida and Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel came in for the injured Andy Dalton in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 35-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Driskel threw 17-for-29 with a touchdown.

The next stage of Jeff Driskel’s comeback campaign highlighted Week 12’s UF-related action in the NFL.

Driskel transferred from UF after being benched for Treon Harris during the 2014 season. The former five-star quarterback arrived at Louisiana Tech and had the best season of his college career for the Bulldogs, throwing for 4,033 yards and 27 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

His breakout season paid off in the long run. Instead of dropping out of the NFL Draft entirely, he fell to the San Francisco 49ers with the 207th overall pick in 2016.

Driskel, however, lost the third-string quarterback job to Christian Ponder, and he was placed on waivers. The quarterback was claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he sat behind starter Andy Dalton and backup AJ McCarron. Driskel sat out the 2017 season on injured reserve with a hand injury.

McCarron left for the Bills in free agency in the offseason, moving Driskel up to the backup quarterback position.

Driskel finally got his big break at the NFL level this past Sunday during the Bengals’ blowout loss to the Cleveland Browns when Dalton suffered a thumb injury trying to recover a wayward snap.

The Oviedo, Florida, native fired his first NFL touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd and finished the game completing 17-of-29 passes for 155 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions as the Bengals lost to the Browns 35-20.

Former UF teammate Carlos Dunlap also had six tackles (three solo) and a quarterback hit in the game.

The Bengals placed Dalton on injured reserve on Monday, so Driskel is expected to start for the team moving forward as he tries to prove himself in the NFL.

On the other sideline, Antonio Callaway had a strong performance for the Browns. Callaway caught four passes for 62 yards and a touchdown while also handling kick and punt returns.

Tight end Jordan Reed became the favorite target for another former backup quarterback in the NFL. Colt McCoy, filling in for Washington’s Alex Smith, connected with Reed early and often. Reed hauled in six passes for 75 yards in a loss against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Center Mike Pouncey played a significant role in protecting Philip Rivers as the quarterback had a nearly perfect game, completing all but one of his 29 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers also had 189 rushing yards en route to their 45-10 win over the Cardinals.

Middle linebackers Alex Anzalone and Antonio Morrison also had quality games for their respective teams. Anzalone had six solo tackles, a forced fumble and defended a pass in New Orleans’ win over Atlanta while Morrison had three solo tackles and seven total in Green Bay’s loss to Minnesota.

 

Follow Brendan Farrell on Twitter @Bfarrell727 or contact him at [email protected]