The Bengals entered Monday's game against the Jaguars in place of the injured Joe Burrow. By the end of the night, Jacksonville had also called upon its backup quarterback, losing Trevor Lawrence to a fourth-quarter ankle injury.
Lawrence is set to undergo an MRI on Tuesday, so until then, it's unclear whether he'll be sidelined for the long term. But the initial diagnosis is an ankle sprain, per NFL Media, and if the QB's mobility -- or lack thereof -- immediately following the injury was any indication, Jacksonville could be without its star signal-caller for a while. Lawrence was visibly frustrated after his right leg was twisted under the force of teammate Walker Little, and he required the help of two trainers to reach the locker room.
Veteran backup C.J. Beathard fared reasonably well in relief of Lawrence on Monday, going 9 of 10 for 63 yards in a 34-31 overtime loss. The former 49ers reserve also has some starting experience, manning first-team duties 12 times in San Francisco from 2017-2019. But odds are the Jaguars' playoff bid will take a sizable hit if Lawrence is required to miss extended time.
Dropping to 8-4 after Monday's upset loss to the Bengals, the Jags are now just one game ahead of four different 7-5 teams in the AFC standings. In the event Lawrence is out for the remainder of 2023, SportsLine has Jacksonville's projected win total dropping from 10.9 to 9.2, with AFC South championship chances dropping from 75.6% to just 50.9%. Simulations without Lawrence also have the Jaguars' playoff chances declining from 94.5% to 80.6%, with Super Bowl title chances falling from 3.4% to just 0.4%.