Football

AFC playoffs, Steelers at Bengals: McCarron in for TCU alum Dalton

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton sits on the sidelines in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Cincinnati. Cincinnati won 24-16.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton sits on the sidelines in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Cincinnati. Cincinnati won 24-16. AP

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at 3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)

TV: 7:15 p.m Saturday, KTVT/11 Line: Steelers by 3

Playoff records: Steelers 33-22; Bengals 5-13

Last playoff game: Steelers lost wild-card game 30-17 vs. Baltimore Ravens, Jan. 3, 2015. Bengals lost wild-card game 26-10 at Indianapolis Colts, Jan. 4, 2015.

2015 leaders: Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger 319-469 for 3,938 yards, 21 TD, 16 INT; RB DeAngelo Williams 200-907, 11 TD; WR Antonio Brown 136-1,834, 10 TD. Bengals: QB Andy Dalton 255-386 for 3,250 yards, 25 TD, 7 INT; RB Jeremy Hill 223-794, 11 TD; WR A.J. Green 86-1,297, 10 TD.

Notable: The Steelers must be living right. After a devastating loss to Baltimore threatened their playoff hopes in the season’s 11th hour, the New York Jets turned into pumpkins at midnight in Buffalo and let Pittsburgh back in. With Andy Dalton sidelined by a right thumb injury, the Bengals will start AJ McCarron at quarterback, the sixth consecutive backup QB the Steelers will face. Pittsburgh’s offense thrives on its air game, with Antonio Brown targeted an eye-popping 193 times. But the loss of running back DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will hurt. He was a tremendous substitute for injured starter Le’Veon Bell. Steelers have 12 players with an interception and 16 with a sack. The Bengals are in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year but are winless in their previous four games, with a total of 43 points and nine turnovers in those quick exits. Dalton was on pace for a career year before his injury, which came trying to tackle Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt after a red-zone interception. Cincinnati has three players with double-digit TD totals (Tyler Eifert 14, Jeremy Hill 12, A.J. Green 10) and two with double-digit sacks (Carlos Dunlap 13.5 and Geno Atkins 11.0). Safety Reggie Nelson has eight interceptions and two recovered fumbles.

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