MINNEAPOLIS – If some paperwork had been filed properly, AJ McCarron wouldn't be in this situation. A botched trade back on Oct. 31 by the Cleveland Browns kept the fourth-year quarterback in Cincinnati for the remainder of the 2017 season – and it ...
Jim Owczarski, email@example.com Published 8:29 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2017
Bengals reporters Jim Owczarski and Lindsay Patterson discuss the team's performance in the 34-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and reports of head coach Marvin Lewis not returning to the team next season. Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer
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MINNEAPOLIS – If some paperwork had been filed properly, AJ McCarron wouldn’t be in this situation.
A botched trade back on Oct. 31 by the Cleveland Browns kept the fourth-year quarterback in Cincinnati for the remainder of the 2017 season – and it looked like he would once again spend the season wondering if his game film from 2015 would hold up for prospective teams once he was available again.
But the Cincinnati Bengals’ season has gone awry, and quickly, with back-to-back losses to the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings by a combined score of 77-14. The blowouts have led head coach Marvin Lewis to pull starter Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter and insert McCarron to finish up the games.
At the tail end of a 34-17 loss Sunday in Minnesota, McCarron was put in on the series following the Vikings inserting backup Teddy Bridgewater. McCarron directed two possessions, including a 23-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard touchdown run by Giovani Bernard that prevented a shutout.
For the game, McCarron finished 3-for-6 for 19 yards and a 56.9 rating.
“Ideally, you don’t want your team to struggle and have to go in at all, really,” McCarron said. “You want to play as a competitor but you don’t want to go in on those terms. But it is what it is.”
But even with the Bengals clinching their second straight losing season and Dalton and the offense struggling as badly as they did in the first two games, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he would not start McCarron in the final two games of the year.
“No, I will not,” Lewis said Sunday.
But, McCarron has been able to get his first legitimate regular season action since filling in for an injured Dalton at the end of the 2015 season. He went 4-for-8 for 47 yards and a 68.2 rating against the Bears on Dec. 10.
“You prepare to go in the game – I don’t know if you prepare to go in the game late in the game when you’re down by so much because they play totally different and they’re playing prevent and keeping everything underneath and playing a lot more games with you because they can because they have such a big lead,” McCarron said. “But, I don’t care. It’s so much for me just to be out there. That’s why, I don’t know if anybody ever sees, but I try to smile the whole time because I’m having fun. I’m just having fun and I don’t care how it comes. I’m just thankful for the opportunity and you just get to go play ball. I don’t get any reps, so go out there and kind of wing it and it’s fun.”
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