Bengals get McCarron ready for extended run as QB


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton walks the sideline with a cast on his throwing hand in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton walks the sideline with a cast on his throwing hand in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, meet on the field after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Steelers won 33-20. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals are preparing AJ McCarron for an extended run as their starting quarterback while waiting for an update on Andy Dalton’s broken thumb.

Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand during a 33-20 loss to the Steelers on Sunday that left the AFC North up for grabs. He had an appointment with a specialist on Monday to get a better idea of how long he’ll be out.

McCarron will make his first NFL start Sunday in San Francisco, trying to make an Alabama breakthrough. A starting quarterback from Alabama hasn’t won an NFL game as a starter since Jeff Rutledge in 1987, according to STATS.

McCarron won back-to-back national titles at Alabama. He missed his rookie season with a sore passing shoulder.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton walks the sideline with a cast on his throwing hand in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_107600093-2015bd1b506c4ff9b131df0101ac0a3d.jpgCincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton walks the sideline with a cast on his throwing hand in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_107600093-7637b38d9f8a4ebfb594a7841e02a0a7.jpgCincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, meet on the field after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Steelers won 33-20. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_107600093-e7eaf17030464ce3b2076b4de63c3e99.jpgCincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, meet on the field after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Steelers won 33-20. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)