Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Gary Landers
December 15, 2015

AJ McCarron will make Andy Dalton feel like Drew Bledsoe.

Bledsoe was the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2001 when an injury opened the door for an unknown sixth-round pick from Michigan. Tom Brady replaced Bledsoe, never relinquished the job and is still going strong 14 years later.

McCarron takes over for the first-place Cincinnati Bengals after Dalton broke his right thumb Sunday. Dalton might want to hurry back because McCarron has Brady on his mind.

''I guess Tom Brady was in the same situation when he had the opportunity, so I gotta make the most of it,'' McCarron said after going 22 of 32 for 280 yards with two touchdowns, three sacks and two interceptions in a loss to Pittsburgh.

Now there's an overreaction.

Hey AJ: Win a game before you mention yourself and Brady in the same sentence.

If McCarron leads the Bengals (10-3) to a victory over the lowly 49ers (4-9), he'll become the first Alabama quarterback to win an NFL start since Jeff Rutledge in 1987.

After that, all McCarron needs are four Super Bowl rings to be in Brady's class.

Here are other overreactions from Week 14:

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OVERREACTION: Chip Kelly was right about Sam Bradford all along. Bradford led the Eagles to a second straight win and is 6-2 as a starter in the last eight games he's finished.

REALISTIC REACTION: Bradford is clearly more comfortable in Philadelphia's offense, but it's still uncertain whether he's the answer at quarterback.

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OVERREACTION: Blake Bortles is the next Dan Marino. Bortles became the first QB in Jaguars history to throw 30 touchdown passes. He joined Marino, Matthew Stafford and Daunte Culpepper as the only QBs age 23 or younger to throw that many.

REALISTIC REACTION: He's closer to Stafford than Marino.

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OVERREACTION: The Broncos lost to Oakland so it's time for Peyton Manning to replace Brock Osweiler.

REALISTIC REACTION: Even coach Gary Kubiak isn't ready to commit to Manning.

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OVERREACTION: Andy Reid is the Coach of the Year. His Chiefs have won seven straight games to get in the middle of the AFC playoff race.

REALISTIC REACTION: They shouldn't have been 1-5 in the first place.

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OVERREACTION: The Patriots and Seahawks will have to outbid each other for Ray Rice. Seattle lost injured running back Thomas Rawls, who was filling in for Marshawn Lynch. New England, already missing Dion Lewis, lost LeGarrette Blount.

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REALISTIC REACTION: Uh, no.

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OVERREACTION: The NFC East is on a roll. The Redskins, Eagles and Giants each won to remain tied for first place.

REALISTIC REACTION: They're all 6-7.

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OVERREACTION: Russell Wilson is the NFL MVP. Seattle's quarterback has 26 TDs, seven interceptions and leads the NFC with a passer rating of 110.0.

REALISTIC REACTION: Brady and Cam Newton stand in his way.

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

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

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