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Andy Dalton leaves game with neck injury, Marvin Lewis says he's 'fine'

Dalton was removed after the Bengals' opening touchdown drive against the Bears Saturday night with a neck injury.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was removed after one drive in Saturday night's preseason game against the Bears due to a neck injury, though head coach Marvin Lewis said at halftime taking him out was just a precautionary measure, per ESPN.

Dalton, 27, took a number of hits on Cincinnati's opening touchdown drive. He reached the end zone on a one-yard dive that capped off a 16-play drive, and completed all six passes that he threw for 52 yards. Backup Bengals QB A.J. McCarron took over for Dalton, and has gone 11-of-15 for 138 yards and a touchdown through the first three quarters of the contest. The Bengals are leading the Bears 21-3.

The Bengals inked Dalton to a six-year, $115 million contract extension with a $12 million signing bonus. But the contract isn't as lucrative as it appears on the surface, as Cincinnati can release him after the 2015 season without any significant salary cap consequences.

The biggest knock on Dalton throughout his four-year NFL career has been his lack of postseason success. Dalton is winless in four career playoff games, and told ESPN earlier this week he understands why his January futility has brought along a lot of criticism.

"As much as I want to say I don’t look at it and I don’t see it, with the world today, it’s hard not to see stuff," Dalton said. "And a lot of stuff that’s said, you can look at it and it could be an eighth grader or something. People can hide behind a computer screen and it’s the same person that’s coming up wanting my autograph. So it is what it is."

Dalton has a career completion percentage of 61.6, has thrown for 99 touchdowns and has been picked off 66 times. He's made one Pro Bowl.