Coming into the Bengals' third preseason matchup with the Bears, Andy Dalton was expected to get all of the snaps with the starters as AJ McCarron was relegated to the second and third-team offense.
However, Dalton left the game with a neck injury in the first quarter after just one offensive series, and that led to McCarron getting a lot of run with the starters, and he did not disappoint. McCarron completed his first eight passes, including a 6-for-6 first half with two touchdown drives as the former Alabama Crimson Tide star showed he belonged in the NFL.
Here's a look at McCarron's four best highlights from Saturday's 21-10 win over the Bears.
4) McCarron beats the blitz to convert 3rd down
On this play, McCarron stands in the pocket as the Bears bring a blitz and he hits Greg Little in stride to convert a 3rd-and-7:
McCarron completes a 12 yarder to Greg Little, converting a 3rd-7. https://t.co/3Tajxy6iLv— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) August 30, 2015
3) The one that didn't count
McCarron didn't take long to air it out to one of his many offensive weapons as he fired a deep shot to Marvin Jones on this play. The ball was put in a spot where only Jones could make a play on it, and he made a spectacular grab to bring it in.
However, an offensive holding penalty on Andrew Whitworth ,of all people negated it. Oh well. It was still a really nice play by both McCarron and Jones.
2) McCarron hits Tyler Eifert down the sideline
On this play, McCarron drops a perfect pass into the arms of Tyler Eifert down the sideline to set up another touchdown:
What a touch! McCarron drops it over the defender to Eifert to the one! https://t.co/k8zHBxaCDD— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) August 30, 2015
1) McCarron hits Marvin Jones for the score
There's no question as to which play was McCarron's best. It was his 31-yard score to Marvin Jones.
A.J. McCarron #Bengals #WhoDey pic.twitter.com/3OPTfwQFmJ— GB (@gb3lasvegas) August 30, 2015
McCarron not only looked like someone who clearly belongs in the NFL, but maybe someone who could be starting one day. It won't be anytime soon in Cincinnati though with Andy Dalton at the helm. Seeing this performance was, more than anything, a confidence booster for the Bengals that in the event Dalton were to go down with an injury, they can rely on McCarron to keep the offense going.