The mystery surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback in Saturday's AFC Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been solved. Head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters the team will be starting AJ McCarron, as Andy Dalton still isn't healthy enough to play after breaking his thumb against Pittsburgh in Week 14.
Marvin Lewis said the Bengals are going to start A.J. McCarron at QB. Dalton won't be ready to play #Steelers— Dale Lolley (@dlolleyor) January 5, 2016
There was hope Dalton would be able to start for the Bengals in the postseason, especially when news broke early Tuesday of Dalton's cast being removed from his hand. Nonetheless, Dalton still has to undergo rehab which will keep him out of the lineup for at least another week.
If the Bengals defeat the Steelers, there is a chance Dalton could be ready for the Divisional round of the playoffs, but McCarron is Cincinnati's guy for the fourth straight week. McCarron has done a respectable job filling in for Dalton, but his first playoff experience could make for interesting television Saturday night.
McCarron has thrown two interceptions since taking over for Dalton, both of which were against the Steelers in Week 14. McCarron also threw for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Steelers, but although he hasn't thrown an interception since Week 14, he hasn't eclipsed 200 yards passing in any game since.
The Bengals play a much safer brand of football with McCarron at the helm, but against a Steelers' offense who can score points with the best in the NFL, McCarron might need to take more chances, which could result in more mistakes being made.