Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) takes the field before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Gary Landers
December 13, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton hurt his right thumb while making a tackle on an interception return in the first quarter against the Steelers on Sunday and wore a black cast when he returned to the sideline.

Dalton tried to make a shovel pass to running back Giovani Bernard, but defensive end Stephon Tuitt picked it off at the 7-yard line. Dalton helped bring him down, came to the sideline and was seen by a doctor. Backup AJ McCarron started warming up.

It's Dalton's first injury since his first game as a rookie in 2011, when he missed half a game against Cleveland with an injured right wrist. He's been one of the NFL's most durable quarterbacks and led the NFL in passer rating heading into the game.

Dalton went to the locker room for an exam and returned to the field in a T-shirt with a cast on his right hand and wrist.

McCarron missed all of his rookie season last year with a sore shoulder. The fifth-round pick from Alabama had thrown only four passes in a mop-up role before Sunday's game.

The Bengals also were without tight end Tyler Eifert, who was shaken up on the second series Sunday and went to the locker room to be examined for a concussion. He was ruled out for the rest of the game. Eifert led the league with 12 touchdown catches.

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

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