DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 28: Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on alongside quarterback AJ McCarron #5 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 28, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Hey Keith Wenning, get loose!

Wenning is listed as the third-string quarterback on the Cincinnati Bengals’ depth chart and is the only quarterback on the Bengals active roster other than AJ McCarron and Andy Dalton.

After falling 20-17 in overtime to the Denver Broncos on Monday night, McCarron came to the Bengals post-game presser ready to take the blame for the loss with his hand significantly wrapped.

“It was my fault. I told the team that, our offensive guys…I looked up to see the coverage and the snap caught me by surprise. I take the blame. It’s my fault.”

The first question for McCarron wasn’t so much about the fumble that lost the game, but the injury that came from it.

Reporter: “It looks like you have a wrap on your left hand?”

McCarron: “Yeah, I got a wrap on my wrist right now, and we’ll check it out tomorrow and see.”

The “checking out” McCarron referenced is an MRI, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The injury is to the second-year signal caller’s non-throwing hand, so it would likely take some really significant damage to get him out of the starting lineup in a big Week 17 game for the Bengals. Despite the head-to-head loss to Denver, Cincinnati still has a chance to pass Denver in the standings to earn a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

Why is that bye so important? Well, considering the Bengals have never won a playoff game in the Marvin Lewis era, a bye would be pretty darn significant even for a healthy team. More importantly for this Bengals unit, though, the week off would give Andy Dalton more time to heal, as reports on Monday indicated he won’t be ready for the start of the playoffs.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Andy Dalton is still a few weeks away from returning to game action. As a result, he likely would not be available to play until the Divisional Round.

The Bengals are doing everything they can to speed up the healing process in Dalton’s fractured right thumb, per Rapoport, but the bone hasn’t fully healed yet. NFL Media’s Mike Silver reported that Dalton’s cast could be removed as early as Tuesday. []

Should McCarron and Dalton both be unable to play in Cincinnati’s season finale against the Baltimore Ravens, all signs would indicate that Wenning, a former Ravens sixth-round draft pick signed by Cincinnati in the off-season and placed on the practice squad in September, would be next in line.

Someone call Boomer Esiason, fast. Come to think of it, Jon Kitna is probably still around and throwing, somewhere. The Bengals may not have any other options.

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.