Bengals place QB Dalton on injured reserve

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton suffered a right thumb injury in Sunday game against Cleveland.Photo Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals announced QB Andy Dalton was placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury.

The Cincinnati Bengals' chances of reaching the playoffs were reduced further on Monday, when the team announced that quarterback Andy Dalton was placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury.

The team did not disclose the specifics of Dalton's injury, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Dalton suffered torn ligaments in the thumb on his throwing hand. Dalton is done for the season, and it is unclear at this point whether Dalton will require surgery.

"The medical staff feels Andy will make a full recovery for the start of the 2019 offseason," coach Marvin Lewis told ESPN. "Our team now will move forward led by Jeff Driskel. Jeff has prepared each week as though he were the starting QB and demonstrated he has a great command of the offensive system."

The Bengals are 5-6 and have lost three games in a row following Sunday's 35-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns. With just five games remaining, the Bengals were a long shot to make the playoffs even if Dalton had been available.

Driskel, who replaced Dalton against the Browns, will make his first NFL start in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.

Driskel was 17 of 29 for 155 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Browns in the most extensive playing time of his career.

Lewis said he was pleased with Driskel's performance, for the most part.

"There are some things he would say he would like to have back and do a little differently, like some of his progressions. We had a couple issues with play-calling and cadence issues that led to some of the false starts with him and Billy (Price) being on the same page with that," Lewis said Monday. "There's some things that, obviously when you don't get to work with the first offense a lot, is tough to come in and play that much."

For the season Driskel has completed 58.6 percent of his passes, with one TD and no interceptions.

He was a sixth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 2016 NFL Draft, but he did not play in an NFL game until this season.

"I think I can play at this level and give our team a chance to win. I've known that all along," Driskel told the team website. "It's just a matter of stacking that up and doing it week in and week out.

In a related move, the Bengals claimed quarterback Tom Savage off waivers from the 49ers.

Savage was a 2014 fourth-round pick of the Texans and won his first NFL start against the Bengals in Houston on Christmas Eve of 2016. He has a 2-7 career record as a starter, all with the Texans, and has a passer rating of 72.5 with five touchdowns and seven interceptions in 13 games.

The 49ers had waived Savage over the weekend, and presumably were going to re-sign him this week. But the Bengals scooped him up before the 49ers could act.

The Bengals also have quarterback Connor Cook on the practice squad.

Dalton finished the season completing 226 of 365 passes (61.9 percent) for 2,566 yards and 21 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

--CB Tony McRae left Sunday's game with a concussion and Lewis said McRae is in the concussion protocol.

--RB Joe Mixon carried 14 times for 89 yards against the Browns and caught seven passes for 66 yards.

--WR Tyler Boyd had seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown against the Browns.

--P Kevin Huber averaged 49.5 yards on two punts against the Browns. One was downed inside the 20.

--S Shawn Williams had six solo tackles against the Browns, one for a loss. He had been dealing with a hamstring injury last week in practice.