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Preseason Week 4 Bengals vs. Colts: The Dalton Dispatch featuring AJ McCarron

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This week, as Andy Dalton did not play in the Bengals' final game of the preseason, we will examine the performance of AJ McCarron.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton sat out Thursday's preseason game against the Colts, a 9-6 win for the the Bengals. AJ McCarron started in Dalton's place. For highlights and analysis of McCarron's performance, watch the following video:

The Data:

McCarron was 15/28 for 219 yards with 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, giving him quarterback rating of 79.3. He was also sacked four times and fumbled the ball twice, neither of which were lost.

Deconstructing McCarron:

Throwing to the likes of Greg Little and Brandon Tate, the Alabama product looked like a different quarterback against the Colts. In his first two preseason games, he completed a stellar 71.9 percent of his passes. However, against Indianapolis, he completed just 53.6 percent of his throws. And while he did hit Tate for a 48-yard gain on a quick slant in the 2nd quarter, in general, he could not connect on his deeper throws. While part of this was due to his inexperience and lack of chemistry with his receivers, McCarron did not receive a lot of support.

McCarron moved well in the pocket. But the offensive line had a subpar performance. McCarron was consistently pressured and a number of his incompletions were him simply throwing the ball away. And the deep throws weren't there in part due to the lack of a running game. As a team, the Bengals rushed for only 92 yards on 27 carries (3.4 yards/carry). What was impressive about McCarron as a younger quarterback, was the fact that, despite his team's struggles, he continued to fire down the field without putting the ball in position to get intercepted.

On Deck:

Cincinnati opens in Oakland on September 13 and it's unlikely we'll see much of McCarron again this season. Your regularly scheduled Dalton Dispatch will be back following the game.

McCarron's Direction:

Slightly downward. While a lot of his errant throws were due to the (lack of) talent around him, he did misfire on some passes against the Colts, after demonstrating impeccable accuracy against the Bears. For instance, he missed Tate on a deep pass near the end of the first quarter. On the next play, he found Little for 16 yards to end the first quarter. But on the first play of the second quarter, he missed badly on a short hitch route to Tate. In reality, not much should be expected from a quarterback who has appeared in a total of three preseason games. Considering the circumstance, McCarron's future looks promising and he looks capable of filling in for Dalton should the need arise.