As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals announced Friday that Andy Dalton will miss Saturday’s wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a broken right thumb. A.J. McCarron, who started the last three regular-season games, will get the start against Pittsburgh.
The Broncos won two of McCarron’s three starts, but the loss was a costly one. On Dec. 28, they lost 20-17 in overtime to the Denver Broncos – a game that cost the Bengals a first-round bye. With Dalton a possibility to start in the divisional round, it meant that McCarron will have to start a game against one of the NFL’s hottest teams.
McCarron has played well, completing 66.4 percent of his passes at 10.8 yards a completion with six TDs and two interceptions, but Dalton was playing as well as any quarterback in the league when he got hurt. Significantly, Dalton takes fewer sacks than McCarron, which could be a problem against the Steelers.
The Bengals haven’t won a postseason game since beating the Houston Oilers 41-14 in 1990. They lost a week later to the Oakland Raiders, and have lost in the wild-card round six times since 2005, including each of the last four years.