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Ex-Alabama QB AJ McCarron to start playoff game vs. Pittsburgh

Ed Szczepanski - USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had his thumb removed from its cast Friday, and with very little progress, he will be held out of Saturday’s playoff game against Pittsburgh.

The decision allows for former Alabama standout AJ McCarron to start in his fourth NFL game, since Dalton’s injury against the Steelers on Dec. 13, 2015 (Week 13).

He becomes the first ex-Crimson Tide signal-caller in 32 years to start in a postseason game, since Richard Todd was under center for the New York Jets in 1983 against the Miami Dolphins. McCarron is 2-1 as a starter, with two multi-touchdown outings against Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

He chimes in with 854 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions on a 66.4 percent completion mark. The once three-time national championship has yet thrown an interception as a starter, netting a 97.1 quarterback rating.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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