WGN-Ch. 9 sportscaster Mike Mayock wasn’t alone in suggesting that the Cincinnati Bengals would opt to start quarterback Andy Dalton on Thursday night, with a Week 13 game against the Dallas Cowboys, because of his injury situation.
“If Andy Dalton went down, it would be the best move,” Mayock said Thursday on the Chicago Bears pregame show, the Buffalo Bills pregame show and on Chicago radio station WBBM-AM. “Most teams would take Andy Dalton first, depending on how many quarterbacks you have on your roster.”
Here is a clip of the Bears’ pregame segment, where Mayock made the case for Dalton being the right choice:
After the Bengals’ official website reported on Monday that they would start Dalton over 22-year-old rookie quarterback Justin Fields, who was announced as the team’s starter two days earlier, head coach Marvin Lewis was asked about the possibility on Thursday. When pressed, Lewis reportedly replied, “You’re going to see him play.”
After the reports, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson tweeted that the Chiefs had “ideas” for who they might start if Dalton got hurt and they hadn’t gone public with the announcement.
The Broncos played in Kansas City on Thursday night without Case Keenum, who started against the Bengals with rookie passer Chad Kelly at No. 2 on the depth chart. To make room for Kelly on the roster, the Broncos placed him on injured reserve.
As it turned out, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was active and led the Packers to a 31-14 win over the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. All the same, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game that he planned to play both Rodgers and backup Brett Hundley “until they’re both ready.”
In Cincinnati, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said on Thursday that neither Dalton nor Fields was targeted by the Bears — a somewhat unorthodox answer given Chicago’s attempts to force Roethlisberger’s rookie counterpart, Mason Rudolph, into a turnover.
“Really, I didn’t think about (which quarterback would start),” Austin said. “We didn’t focus on any of that stuff. So, it’s a heck of a lot easier not to do.”
In the second half of the game, Dalton threw an interception in the end zone for a pick-six, paving the way for the Bears’ 24-14 win. But that was the last thing the Bengals did. Dalton completed 13 of 25 passes for 167 yards, with one touchdown and an interception in defeat.
Fields ended up going 2 for 4 for 15 yards and one turnover-less touchdown in his debut.