The Cincinnati Bengals’ 20-17 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night was a costly one in more ways than one and now their Super Bowl dreams may have been shattered.
The loss cost the Bengals a shot to clinch a first-round bye and now they need some help to avoid having to play a Wild Card team in two weeks.
But more importantly, for a team already without starting quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals may have just lost backup quarterback AJ McCarron. If so, Cincinnati could be forced to start a quarterback in a playoff game who has never thrown an NFL pass.
On the game’s final play, McCarron hesitated in his attempt to recover the loose ball and during the scrum, he injured his wrist.
After the game, McCarron had his wrist wrapped and he told the media that he will need to have an MRI to see the extent of the injury.
McCarron was making just his second start since Dalton injured his thumb trying to make a tackle. While there is hope that Dalton can return this season, Ian Rapoport has reported that it is unlikely that Dalton would be able to play if the Bengals are the 3-seed and have to play in the first round.
As things stand now, if McCarron’s injury is serious, the Bengals could be forced to start second-year quarterback Keith Wenning in a playoff game against the New York Jets. Wenning, a sixth-round pick by the Ravens in the 2014 NFL Draft, has never thrown an NFL pass. His last pass in a meaningful game came with Ball State in the GoDaddy Bowl against Arkansas State following the 2013 season.
Even if Dalton can play in Round 2, he may never get a chance.
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