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Bengal Bytes (12/18): Fan favorites

Two Bengals players received the most fan votes for the Pro Bowl among players at their position. Blaine Gabbert hopes changes to the offensive line help him stay upright against the Bengals. The Rams fans don't want to see their team leave, and a list of the top 20 unrestricted free agents.

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McCarron and Favre: Throw ball, have fun
AJ McCarron loved watching Brett Favre, and in just one touchdown, we saw some similarities. It's not a bad thing. We also have your Twitter questions, a great Bengals tweet and Johnny dreams of Josh.

A historic glance at the starting debuts of Bengals QBs |
AJ McCarron will become the 28th quarterback to start a game for the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, and he won’t have too high of a bar to clear if he wants to turn in the best debut performance in franchise history.

12-16 AJ McCarron press conference transcript
Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron will make his first career NFL start on Sunday when the Bengals play at the San Francisco 49ers (4:25 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on Local12) and on Wednesday he held a press conference and here is the transcript

Dave Lapham talks Bengals
Bengals analyst Dave Lapham talks about the team's injuries and more with Brad Steinke.

Whitworth, Atkins top vote earners at their positions from fans for Pro Bowl
Fan voting for the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl was announced on Thursday and two Bengals players earned the most votes at their respective positions. Andrew Whitworth earned the most votes at offensive tackle and Geno Atkins earned the most at defensive tackle.

Vontaze Burfict of Cincinnati Bengals fined after all for hit on Ben Roethlisberger
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined after all Thursday for his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Burfict's agent, Audie Attar, told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Burfict also was fined for unnecessary roughness on two additional plays. He is appealing the fines.

AJ McCarron's Alabama teammates say quarterback will take charge as Cincinnati Bengals' starter
In the two years he took handoffs from AJ McCarron while at Alabama, Eddie Lacy never saw the quarterback succumb to the pressure-packed moments that are so commonplace in SEC football.

Behind Enemy Lines

Blaine Gabbert looking forward to working behind re-imagined 49ers O-line
Blaine Gabbert was sacked a franchise-high-tying nine times in Week 14 by the Cleveland Browns, who don’t exactly remind anyone of the 1985 Chicago Bears, or the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, or even the 2015 Cincinnati Bengals.

TE Vance McDonald cleared from concussion protocol, LB Aaron Lynch still limited
While San Francisco 49ers starting tight end Vance McDonald practiced fully Thursday for the first time since suffering a concussion at the Chicago Bears on Dec. 6, starting outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who suffered the same injury in the same game, remained in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Geep Chryst Responds to Mike Pettine's Comments Regarding 49ers' Effort
San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst saw his unit struggle facing a favorable matchup during Week 14's 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. When Browns head coach Mike Pettine commented on the 49ers' collective effort, Chryst got fired up and responded Thursday

Random Bytes

The best player on every NFL team
The Bengals are one of the most talented teams in the league. Cincinnati has made the leap to championship contender because of Tyler Eifert. The second-year tight end has established himself as a premier red-zone threat.

St. Louis Rams: Fans chant "Keep the Rams" during game
The St. Louis Rams could very well be playing in Los Angeles by the time the 2016 NFL season starts, and the teams’ fans used the final home game of the season to let owner Stan Kroenke know how they feel about the proposed move.  With the Rams leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28–6 in the third quarter of Thursday’s game, St. Louis fans started to loudly chant "keep the Rams" during a timeout.

T.J. Ward, Antonio Brown and More Comment on Broncos vs. Steelers Matchup
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman called the Pittsburgh Steelers the most dangerous team in the AFC. They've won four of their last five games and scored at least 30 points in each of those contests. But the Denver Broncos aren't impressed.

Montee Ball happy for fresh start with New England Patriots
Running back Montee Ball, who went from 2013 second-round draft choice of the Denver Broncos to spending most of the 2015 season out of football, has resurfaced on the New England Patriots practice squad and he's happy for the fresh start.

Top 20 unrestricted free agents for 2016
Free agent lists in December are teases. Fans see the big names and dream of offseason purchases their favorite team should acquire. In reality, most of the names on our top-20 free agent list below won't become available. From now until March, teams will begin to re-sign the players they truly want to keep. If a long-term deal can't get done, the franchise tag will be used. Green Bay's four-year, $42 million deal for Mike Daniels on Monday was a great example of this trend. He would have been a the top-10 player on our list.