QB Andy Dalton - Chicago Bears
|6-2, 215||Born: 10-29-1987||College: TCU||Drafted: Round 2, pick 35 (2011)|
2019 Week 1 vs SEA (35 / 51 / 418 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The 418 passing yards were a career high for Dalton. In fact, the Bengals had gone 13 straight seasons with Marvin Lewis as the head coach without a 400-yard passing game. In Zac Taylor's debut, the Bengals were much more pass heavy than in past seasons. Dalton threw 51 times despite Cincinnati never trailing by more than four points. Dalton had some missteps. He missed low on what should have been an easy short completion to John Ross, under threw a deep ball to an open Tyler Boyd, and had the rain soaked ball slip out of his hand for a costly fumble in the red zone. He also had a few passes batted at the line. Despite the few miscues, Dalton was excellent overall. He was in full command of the new offense, getting the ball out quickly and on target. He read the defense well and understood where the vulnerabil-ities were. Dalton also had a few highlight-reel worthy throws. The most impressive came on a 55-yard touchdown pass to John Ross in the final seconds of the first half. Dalton threw it over 50 yards in the air, just over the head of the safety, and hit Ross in stride for the long score. He also showed nice touch on a 33-yard flea-flicker touch-down pass to Ross, dropping the ball in behind the corner and in front of the safety.
2019 Week 2 vs SF (26 / 42 / 311 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Penalties on the offensive line directly caused a number of drives to stall and were the biggest offensive problem for the Bengals. Dalton's inconsistent play didn't help matters. He made a couple poor choices late in the first half that contributed to the game getting out of hand. On a third and long from just outside the red zone, Dalton scrambled and could have picked up at least five yards to setup a short field goal attempt. Instead, he ran three yards past the line and then lofted it up over the head of a tight end down the middle of the field, drawing a five-yard penalty for an illegal pass. Instead of a 40-yard field goal, it was pushed back to a 53-yard attempt that was missed. It was a momentum swinging play. Dalton also threw an awful interception on a 2nd-and-5 just outside of the red zone near the end of the first half. He rolled to his right and threw it towards Tyler Eifert who was bracketed with a safety over top and a linebacker underneath. The pass had no chance and was easily intercepted by Kwon Alexander. Dalton was lucky to have thrown just the one interception. A 49ers cornerback undercut a short out route along the sideline and should have had a pick six but dropped the ball. Dalton had an easy 1-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert off of play action and a meaningless 66-yard touchdown to John Ross in the final seconds of the game. He had a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd that was called back due to holding.
2019 Week 3 vs BUF (20 / 36 / 249 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Dalton It was another middling performance from Dalton. He wasn't the reason the team lost and had some nice moments nearly leading a comeback but didn't make nearly enough plays to lead a winning effort on the road. The Bengals offensive line is bad but Dalton's below-average pocket presence doesn't help matters. He had a couple passes tipped at the line and had his arm hit as he released the pass on another key third down. Dalton's first interception came on the rare occasion where he didn't seem to be quite on the same page with Tyler Boyd. Boyd ran an out route from the slot about 10 yards downfield and seemed a bit slow to make his break and look back. The Bills corner was able to undercut the route and slip inside Boyd to make the interception. Dalton nearly led the team back for the win in the second half. He led a pair of touchdown drives, finishing the first off with a 1-yard touchdown run on a zone read. He threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Mixon off of play action on the next touchdown drive. A long completion on a screen pass to Mixon set up a go-ahead field goal with five minutes left in the game. After a Buffalo touchdown put the Bills up 21-17, Dalton marched the Bengals down the field in the final minute and was inside the Bills 30 with 20 seconds left when he threw an interception. It wasn't really his fault. He threw it up high to Auden Tate in traffic trying to get a bit closer for one final shot at the end zone and the ball tipped off of Tate's hands to a trailing defender.
2019 Week 4 vs PIT (21 / 37 / 171 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 8 / 0 rush)
No quarterback could have succeeded behind a Bengals offensive line that struggled mightily. Still, Dalton didn't handle the pressure well. He was understandably uncomfortable in the pocket but did a poor job of sensing pressure. The game started out with some promise. Dalton marched the team into Steelers territory on the opening drive with long completions to Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert but a blown blitz pickup led to a drive-killing sack. After a turnover by Pittsburgh, Dalton threw a perfect ball to Tyler Eifert in the corner of the end zone that Eifert dropped and the Bengals had to settle for a field goal. It would be their only points of the game. Facing a third and long late in the first quarter, Dalton was hit while releasing a pass in the di-rection of John Ross. It hit Joe Haden in the chest and should have been intercepted. The Bengals had their best drive of the game going, marching into the red zone and racking up 57 yards over five minutes of possession time before a blindside strip sack lost fumble. It's hard to place too much blame on Dalton but maybe he should have sensed the pressure coming and at least turtled to protect the ball. It was that kind of day. Dalton was sacked eight times and took a few other big hits as well. In addition to the sacks, the line also had a number of costly penalties that put the offense in uncom-fortable downs and distances. Dalton's interception came on 4th-and-long in garbage time. He threw it in the general direction of Tyler Eifert but there were multiple Steel-ers in the area.
2019 Week 5 vs ARI (27 / 38 / 262 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Aside from a miss in the red zone, it was a good day for Dalton. On one of the key plays of the game, Dalton missed Tyler Eifert for what should have been a 5-yard touchdown. There may have been some miscommunication between the two but for whatever reason, Dalton threw the ball behind Eifert, which allowed the linebacker to knock it down. The Bengals had to settle for a field goal and the four points lost were the difference between a win and a loss. He didn't get a lot of help from his wide receivers outside of Tyler Boyd. Inexperienced players were forced into more prominent roles due to injury and had some tough drops. Dalton was able to kick it into gear late, leading a pair of touchdown drives in the final seven minutes to tie the game at 23-23. He led an 89-yard touchdown drive in under three minutes. He completed eight passes to six different receivers on the drive, getting the ball out quickly and on target. He capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Auden Tate on what looked like an RPO play. He pulled the ball back from Mixon and fired it over the middle to Tate, who was wide open in the end zone. After a quick three and out by Arizona, Dalton led an 81-yard touchdown drive that took under two minutes. He put it into a tight window, hitting Tyler Boyd in stride on a crossing route that went for 29 yards. A couple plays later, he hooked up with Boyd again on a 42-yard touch-down pass deep down the left sideline to tie the game.
2019 Week 6 vs BAL (21 / 39 / 235 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 1 rush)
With the way the Ravens were dominating the trenches on both sides of the ball, Dalton needed to be nearly perfect to engineer the upset. He wasn't. He missed high on a short pass to Auden Tate and badly under threw Tyler Erickson deep down the seam. Dalton also threw a terrible interception into triple coverage. He didn't see the linebacker dropping deep into zone coverage who was able to cut in front of the receiver and get a hand on the ball, knocking it into the air for one of the trailing defenders to pick off. Dalton was just barely off on his ball placement with a few other throws as well, making life more difficult for his receivers. Sometimes they were able to bail him out with diving grabs and sometimes they weren't. The Bengals were forced to lean heavily on the quick passing game due to the inability of the offensive tackles to hold up and the lack of deep speed at wide receiver. Dalton is comfortable running that style of offense and was able to lead a couple long scoring drives. He scored the Bengals lone offensive touchdown late in the fourth quarter, running it in from two yards out.
2019 Week 7 vs JAX (22 / 43 / 276 / 1 / 3 pass, 4 / 33 / 1 rush)
Dalton was decent through the first three quarters. The Bengals moved the ball at times despite having no run game, a number of offensive line penalties, and uncharacteristic drops from his top targets. On one first quarter drive, the Bengals got out to midfield and then lost 11 yards on an end around to setup 3rd-and-17. Dalton threw a perfect pass to Boyd over the middle right near the line to gain and Boyd flat out dropped it. Even Alex Erickson, who had a breakout game had a big drop. Dalton dropped it in perfectly over his outside shoulder for what should have been a 40-yard completion and Erickson let it go straight through his hands. Dalton led an 80-yard, 6-yard play touchdown drive that took less than a minute right before halftime. He hit Alex Erickson for 48 yards on a deep crosser and eventually capped the drive off with an easy 2-yard touchdown throw to Joe Mixon. When the wheels came off for Dalton in the fourth quarter, they came off in pretty spectacular fashion. He was leading a long drive and had it deep in Jacksonville territory but threw it behind Tyler Boyd, which allowed Myles Jack to make the interception. It was a fine read, just an awful throw. The Bengals forced a three and out and got the ball back needing a touchdown to tie. Dalton promptly threw a terrible pick six trying to hit Giovani Bernard on a screen. Jacksonville got pressure on him and also held Bernard up from getting into the route and Dalton just threw it up for grabs. After the interception for a touchdown, the Bengals got a long kick return into Jacksonville territory. Dalton threw another interception on the very first play. It was a wobbler towards Tyler Boyd into double coverage. Three interceptions in five snaps. He scored a one-yard rushing touchdown in garbage time.
2019 Week 8 vs LAR (32 / 52 / 329 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Dalton put up big numbers due to throwing 52 times but left too many plays on the field. He had a strong first half, completing 14-of-15 passes early with the only incompletion coming on a slightly overthrown deep ball to Tyler Boyd. His lone touchdown was an easy 1-yard toss to a wide open Joe Mixon. On a couple of occasions, Dalton held the ball too long and took costly sacks. The Bengals drove down to the Rams 30-yard line just before halftime and were in position for a field goal that would have cut the lead to four going into the break but Dalton took a 10-yard sack on third down that pushed the team out of range. Dalton narrowly missed out on a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He threw it three times inside the 10-yard line with seven minutes left and a chance to cut the lead to one score. One was dropped by Auden Tate and Stanley Morgan was stopped a couple yards shy of the goal line on a 4th-down slant. He had a chance to add a garbage time touchdown in the final minute but Auden Tate again dropped a well-thrown ball in the end zone.
2019 Week 13 vs NYJ (22 / 37 / 243 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / -4 / 0 rush)
Dalton played loose and aggressive in his return after a three-game benching. He missed high to Tyler Boyd deep down the middle on the opening drive. He led a long touchdown drive on the second possession, which featured three straight long completions. He threw a dart to Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard gain on a deep out route. Then put it up high an-yard pick up to Auden Tate on another deep out along the sideline. Finally, Dalton zipped it into a tight window between a trio of defenders for a 17-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd, setting the Bengals all-time passing touchdown record in the process. Dalton should have had a second touchdown pass on the next drive. CJ Uzomah was wide open in the end zone and wasn't able to hold onto a pass that hit him in his hands, forcing the Bengals to settle for a field goal. Dalton led a 91-yard touchdown drive late in the first half. He had a pair of long completions to Uzomah, including a 16-yard pickup when Dalton scrambled from the pocket and threw on the run to Uzomah on the sideline. The big play on the drive was a deep ball to Tyler Boyd that could have been a 44-yard touchdown but instead drew a long pass interference penalty when Boyd was wrapped up just shy of the end zone. It was a strong day overall for Dalton, who had much more zip on his passes than Ryan Finley did in the three games previous. Dalton should be the starter the rest of the season.
2019 Week 14 vs CLE (22 / 38 / 262 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 11 / 0 rush)
Dalton marched the team down the field on the opening possession, firing a pair of strikes to Tyler Boyd for pickups of 21 and then 14 yards. With a 3rd-and-3 at the Browns 6-yard line, Dalton had plenty of time but after nobody was open initially, he panicked in the pocket and threw one out of the back of end zone with nobody in the vicinity, drawing an intentional grounding penalty. Dalton made a couple more costly mistakes in the first half. After a Joe Mixon penalty put the team into a 3rd-and-23 on the second drive of the game, Dalton threw it slightly behind Auden Tate. It bounced off of his hands and straight into the hands of a Browns cornerback who took it the other way for a touchdown. In the two-minute drill before halftime, Dalton had Alex Erickson wide open down the left sideline for what should have been a 40-yard gain but he sailed the ball too far outside and Erickson couldn't come down with it inbounds. Dalton nearly threw another pick six on a goal line pass that a Browns defender undercut but couldn't hold on to. On a 4th-and-goal, Dalton tucked and ran and came up two yards short of the end zone.
2019 Week 15 vs NE (17 / 31 / 151 / 1 / 4 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Dalton did a decent job of managing the offense in the first half. On the opening possession, the Bengals marched it down the field via the running game. Dalton's first pass attempt of the game was on a third down from the Patriots 8-yard line and went for a touchdown. He threw it short to Cethan Carter, who made a man miss and got into the end zone. The wheels really came off in a disastrous third quarter, however. On the opening possession of the second half, Dalton threw slightly behind Tyler Boyd on a slant and Stephon Gilmore was able to wrest the ball away. The very next drive, Dalton Gilmore got Dalton again. Dalton tried to hit Boyd on an out-breaking route along the sideline but Gilmore was able to undercut it and took it the other way for a pick six. After a quick three and out, Dalton his third interception of the quarter. He threw it up deep down the sideline to Alex Erickson who was well covered. The corner was able to go up over Erickson and make a play on the ball. Dalton's fourth interception came late in the fourth quarter on a similar play. This time he threw a deep jump ball to John Ross and the well-positioned defender out jumped Ross for the ball.
2019 Week 16 vs MIA (33 / 56 / 396 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
It felt weirdly appropriate that with most Bengals fans rooting for a loss to lock up the top draft pick and a shot at selecting Dalton's replacement that Dalton would lead one of the most dramatic comebacks of the NFL season. His play was mediocre for over three quarters and then, out of nowhere, he led three touchdown drives in the final five minutes and converted a pair of two-point conversion attempts to come back from 23 points down to force overtime. Dalton threw his first touchdown pass of the game late in the third quarter, hitting Tyler Boyd with a well-thrown fade deep down the left sideline on 4th-and-3 for a 34-yard touchdown. The furious comeback began in earnest midway through the fourth quarter. Dalton led a long, 11-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that he finished off with an 8-yard touchdown over the middle to C.J. Uzomah. He got the ball back with three minutes to play and led a methodical 14-play touchdown drive that finally resulted in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd with 30 seconds left. A successful 2-point conversion pass to Tyler Eifert made it a one-score game. After an onside kick, Dalton had 29 seconds and no timeouts to go 54 yards. He picked up a big chunk with a 29-yard pass to Tyler Boyd deep down the seam. As time expired, he threw it up in the middle of the end zone where Tyler Eifert leaped above a crowd and came down with a 25-yard touchdown. On the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt, nobody was open but Dalton scrambled and was able to race into the end zone to tie the game up and force overtime. He used up all of his magic in regulation, however. Both overtime possessions went three and out.
2019 Week 17 vs CLE (16 / 28 / 190 / 1 / 1 pass, 8 / 10 / 1 rush)
In what was likely his final game in a Bengals uniform, Dalton went out with a win and strong overall performance. Cincinnati scored a touchdown on the opening drive, with Dalton hitting CJ Uzomah down the seam for a 15-yard touchdown to cap it off. Dalton also ran for a 5-yard touchdown. He spun out of pressure and showed decent speed to get around the corner and dive for the pylon. Dalton threw an interception on a deep ball to John Ross, a regular occurrence down the stretch of the season. The Browns weren't fooled by the play action and the route was fairly well covered but Ross didn't do much to fight for the ball. The Bengals offense was a bit more conservative in the second half, nursing a lead but Dalton was efficient and the team continued to move the ball well.
2018 Week 1 vs IND (21 / 28 / 243 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
It was an excellent start to the season for Dalton. He threw with accuracy, showed athleticism to escape pressure, and displayed a strong rapport with each of his top receiving targets. The game started on a down note, however. Dalton's first pass of the game, he was trying to hit Joe Mixon on a swing route but rookie center Billy Price got destroyed and the defensive tackle hit Dalton's arm as he released the pass. The ball fluttered into the hands of a Colts defender. Dalton made a strong open-field tackle to save a touchdown, which ended up saving seven points as the Colts turned the ball over. Dalton's toughness also showed up on a game-changing 3rd-and-6 scramble late in the game when Dalton dove head first for a first down, taking a big hit instead of sliding. It setup the go-ahead touchdown. Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 38-yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown deep ball. He released the ball early, lofted it over the safety in the middle of the field and allowed Green to run under it in the end zone. Dalton also connected with John Ross for a touchdown on a well-thrown fade route from three yards out. The only negative for Dalton moving forward was that the pass protection from the right side of the line didn't hold up even against the Colts mediocre stable of rushers, with both the right guard and right tackle allowing five pressure each. Against teams with better defensive ends, Dalton is going to see a lot of pressure in his face.
2018 Week 2 vs BAL (24 / 42 / 265 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton was excellent against the Ravens. After going three-and-out on the opening drive, he threw touchdown passes on each of the next four drives to stake the Bengals to a 28-7 first-half lead. After the hot start, the Bengals offense went cold for most of the second half, before rallying for a long fourth-quarter scoring drive to put Cincinnati back in command. Dalton's first three touchdown passes all went to A.J. Green. The first was from four yards out on bootleg to the right side. Play-action let Green get a step on the defender and Dalton made an accurate short throw on the move. The second Green touchdown came on a third-and-short slant. Dalton squeezed the ball in between a trio of defenders, Green broke a tackle and sprinted in for a 32-yard score. Dalton next led a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Green on a back-shoulder fade. Dalton then led a 12-play, 78-yard drive that was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd on a crossing route. After a rough 18-game stretch under offensive-coordinator Ken Zampese, Dalton has bounced back under Bill Lazor. In 16 games with Lazor as coordinator, Dalton has 31 touchdown passes and just 9 interceptions.
2018 Week 3 vs CAR (29 / 46 / 352 / 2 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton made some nice passes and was able to move the ball through the air against a tough Panthers defense. While the four interceptions on the stat sheet look bad, only one was really on Dalton. The Bengals effectively utilized what looked to be an RPO scheme with Dalton having the option to pull the ball back from Gio Bernard and hit the backside slant to either A.J. Green or Tyler Eifert. The play was a go-to for the offense. It produced gains of 9 yards to Green and 11 yards to Eifert on the opening drive. Dalton should have had a touchdown pass on the opening drive, but Green dropped a perfect pass in the end zone and Bernard ran it in the next play. Dalton's first interception came on a 3rd-and-17 when he threw up a jump ball downfield to John Ross. The cornerback outfought Ross for the ball. Dalton's second cornerback came on the backside slant that had been so successful. With Green out, his replacement Josh Malone was slow to cut inside and the cornerback was able to arrive and make a hit at the same time as the ball arrived, which popped it up into the air. Dalton's 27-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd was one of his more impressive throws of the season. The pocket broke down and Dalton pulled the ball and left. He threw a dart across his body to hit Boyd in stride in the back of the end zone. Dalton later hit Boyd for a 49-yard gain on a similar broken play scrambling to his left and lofting it to Boyd down the sideline. Dalton's third interception came late in the fourth quarter. After a sack backed the Bengals up deep, Dalton tried to hit Ross on a deep route. Dalton threw the ball outside to the seam while Ross seemed to break the route off an jog toward the inside. The usually sedate Dalton was irate at Ross and while it was unclear where the route was supposed to go, it is clear the two are not on the same page and Dalton is growing extremely frustrated with Ross. The final interception was on an irrelevant Hail Mary on the final play of the game with the Bengals trailing by 10.
2018 Week 4 vs ATL (29 / 41 / 337 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 13 / 0 rush)
Dalton was excellent on Sunday, getting the ball out quickly and accurately. His big passing day could have been even bigger, with a couple more touchdowns. Giovani Bernard was tackled at the 1-yard line on a screen pass before running it in the next play. Dalton also had a 9-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green brought back on a questionable hands to the face call on an offensive lineman. Dalton's interception shouldn't have counted. The Falcons defender clearly held tight end Tyler Kroft coming out of his break but the referees somehow missed it. The ball bounced off of Kroft's hands and into the arms of a Falcons defender. Dalton's first two touchdowns came on plays where a player lined up in the slot ran open down the center of the field on a simple 9-route. The first was a 15-yard touchdown to Tyler Eifert and the second was a 39-yard touchdown to John Ross. Dalton was masterful on a 16-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes to win the game. He scrambled for 11 yards to pick up a first down early in the drive and escaped a sack a couple plays later to scramble for a short gain. He was able to succeed despite serious pass rush pressure off of the edges. He completed three clutch passes to Tyler Boyd, two of which came on fourth-down and kept hopes alive. Dalton finished off the drive with a magnificent throw over the cornerback and outside of the safety to a sliding A.J. Green for a 13-yard, game-winning touchdown.
2018 Week 5 vs MIA (20 / 30 / 248 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / 10 / 0 rush)
While the fantasy numbers weren't there, it was another strong outing for Dalton. The Bengals offense started hot, methodically marching down the field and inside the Dolphins 10-yard line until a holding penalty put them in 1st-and-20. On third-and-long, Dalton threw an interception in the front of the end zone. He got too aggressive trying to squeeze it in to A.J. Green and Dolphins safety Reshad Jones was able to break up the pass and tip it to a Dolphins defender. Dalton did a nice job moving in the pocket and making plays after protection broke down. He was able to step up, avoid pressure, and still complete balls downfield. Some of the passes were wobbly and didn't look pretty but got the job done. One of the off balance throws under pressure hit Green for a 23-yard gain on a deep crossing route. Green again escaped pressure and threw on the run to hit Green for a 22-yard gain to setup the Bengals first field goal. Dalton's 18-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon also came with pressure in his face. He stepped up in the pocket and was able to get rid of the ball despite having a defender wrapped around his legs.
2018 Week 6 vs PIT (26 / 42 / 229 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton had a solid game, taking care of the ball in wet conditions and making some plays despite mediocre protection and some drops from his receivers. The drops were especially costly early with bad drops by A.J. Green and Cody Core each causing first-half drives to stall. With John Ross, Tyler Eifert, and Giovani Bernard out, Dalton had to lean extra heavily on A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. The Dalton-Boyd connection continues to grow and the duo thrived against the Steelers. Dalton hit Boyd for a 2-yard touchdown on an out route, lofting the ball just above the head of the linebacker and into the diving arms of Boyd. Dalton also led a touchdown drive in the two-minute drill before halftime that ended with a 14-yard touchdown to Boyd. It was an easy pitch and catch to the left corner of the end zone as the cornerback was caught flat footed on the out route and there was huge separation. Dalton also hit Boyd for a 39-yard play on a scramble drill that was called back due to a holding penalty. It was probably Dalton's best throw of the day, dropping it in perfectly to Boyd while running to his left. Trailing by six points with just over three minutes left, Dalton led the Bengals on a 75-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. Dalton hit four different receivers on the drive, including A.J. Green on back-to-back plays along the sideline for 23 and 7 yards that set the Bengals up for a short Joe Mixon rushing touchdown. It was the fifth time this season Dalton led a clutch fourth-quarter scoring to give his team the lead. Unfortunately, the drive was too efficient and left enough time for the Steelers to answer.
2018 Week 7 vs KC (15 / 29 / 148 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
What was billed as a potential shootout turned into a one-sided affair with Patrick Mahomes II greatly outperforming Dalton and the Bengals offense. Dalton wasn't put in a position to succeed. His pass protection, especially on the right side, failed against the Chiefs pass rush. A bevy of offensive line penalties also directly led to drives stalling and the Bengals being forced to put the ball back in the hands of Mahomes. The Bengals receivers also struggled at times getting separation against man coverage from Kansas City's cornerbacks. Dalton through quite a few accurate passes that Chiefs defenders were still able to defend because they were so well positioned. While all the blame for the dismal offensive performance can't be heaped upon Dalton, he didn't help matters with an awful decision trying to squeeze it in to A.J. Green surrounded by a trio of defenders. A dropping linebacker read his eyes and easily picked the pass off and returned it for a touchdown that put the Chiefs up 28 points and essentially ended any slim hopes of a Bengals comeback. The lone touchdown drive featured a lot of Dalton to Green. The Chiefs single covered Green and Dalton took advantage with completions of 20 and 31 yards, the latter completion setting the Bengals up with 1st-and-goal. Dalton finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah, who boxed out his defender and created enough room for Dalton to fit the ball in high and outside.
2018 Week 8 vs TB (21 / 34 / 280 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 10 / 0 rush)
Dalton was on fire in the first half. After the first drive stalled in field goal range and the second drive was over quickly, Dalton led four straight touchdown drives to stake the Bengals to a 27-6 first-half lead. He got things rolling on a beautifully-thrown ball down the right sideline, dropping it right into the bucket for a 32-yard gain to backup tight end Jordan Franks. Dalton hit Tyler Boyd for a 28-yard gain that probably should have been a touchdown but the Bengals didn't challenge when he was ruled down just shy of the end zone. Dalton showed some nice moves running for a first down but the play was called back due to holding. A few plays later, Dalton squeezed one in to Green on 4th down to keep a drive alive. He would cap it off with an 8-yard touchdown to Boyd. Boyd had single coverage in the slot and Dalton threw to his back shoulder, leading him away from the defender. The Boyd-Dalton connection stayed hot on the next touchdown drive with big completions of 19 and 26 yards to setup another Mixon touchdown. Dalton finished off his fourth-straight touchdown drive with a 17-yard pass on a fade route to A.J. Green in the corner of the end zone. As hot as Dalton and the Bengals offense were in the first half, they were just as cold after halftime. Four straight three-and-outs by the offense let the Buccaneers back into the game. However, Dalton made amends by leading a 50-yard drive in less than one minute to setup a game-winning field goal as time expired. The two big plays on the game-winning drive were Dalton to Green passes for 23 and 11 yards. It was Dalton's sixth game-winning 4th-quarter drive in the Bengals last 10 games.
2018 Week 10 vs NO (12 / 20 / 153 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Early on, it looked like a potential shootout was brewing between Dalton and Brees. After the Saints scored on the opening possession, Dalton answered, leading an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with ease. Dalton hit his favorite target, Tyler Boyd for a 23-yard gain on a crossing route to get the ball rolling. He finished the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone. Dalton showed great patience in the pocket to allow the route to develop. After another Saints touchdown drive, Dalton led the Bengals into Saints territory with a 17-yard completion to Joe Mixon and an 8-yard scramble. The Bengals were attempting to go for it on 4th-and-short but a false start by the third-string tight end ended up forcing the Bengals to punt. Yet again, the Saints offense methodically marched down the field for a long touchdown drive. After a sack caused a three and out, the Bengals offense didn't see the ball for a fourth time until after the two-minute warning in the first half after the Saints put together a fourth-straight long touchdown drive. The two-minute drill before halftime got off to another promising start. Dalton hit Boyd along the sideline for a 6-yard gain and then found Cody Core on a comeback route for 11 yards. He did an excellent job avoiding pressure and flipping it out to Giovani Bernard, who made a man miss and went for 26 yards to get the Bengals into field goal range in the final 30 seconds. The Bengals didn't have any more timeouts and could have played for the field goal but were understandably aggressive in taking a deep shot at the end zone given the 28-7 deficit. The Saints were all over it though and Dalton's throw toward John Ross went straight into double coverage. It was picked off and returned 78 yards to setup the Saints fifth first-half touchdown and essentially ended the game before halftime. The entire second half was garbage time. Dalton couldn't hook up on a couple more deep ball attempts to John Ross and the duo clearly lacks chemistry. Dalton threw a second interception on a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage. With the game out of hand, Dalton was pulled early and backup Jeff Driskel played out the string in the fourth quarter. The numbers were ugly for Dalton but the two interceptions were both due to forced aggressiveness based on the huge hole the Bengals defense put the team in.
2018 Week 11 vs BAL (19 / 36 / 211 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 29 / 0 rush)
Without any semblance of a run game (Dalton led the way with 29 rushing yards), mediocre pass protection, and no A.J. Green, the deck was stacked against Dalton in this contest. For the most part, he performed admirably. Dalton took care of the ball and made the plays that were there to be made. He was especially efficient throwing to his backs and tight ends, completing 12 of 14. Dalton hit backup tight end Matt Lengel for a 4-yard touchdown on a busted coverage that left Lengel all alone in the middle of the end zone. It was getting the ball to the wide receivers that was a much bigger struggle. Dalton completed just 7 of 22 to wide receivers. He tried to force it in to Tyler Boyd nearly every third down. The duo hooked up for some key conversions but on the whole too many went incomplete and led to punts. Dalton dropped it in the bucket on a deep over the shoulder completion for Boyd that led to a game-ring future goal attempt. It was also a mixed bag throwing to John Ross. Dalton gave Ross a chance on a back shoulder fade and Ross came down with the contested catch for a 22-yard touchdown. The biggest issue was the secondary receivers. Alex Erickson was a non-profit factor and Cody Core was awful. It was a bad drop on 4th and short that hit Core in the chest which ended the Bengals chances.
2018 Week 12 vs CLE (10 / 17 / 100 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 21 / 0 rush)
In what has been a regular occurrence for Dalton and the Bengals offense of late, he quickly found himself in a big hole. The Bengals deferred and the Browns opened with a touchdown. The offense looked poised to answer, marching down the field with ease until a Giovani Bernard holding penalty put them behind the chains and forced a long future goal attempt which was blocked. The Browns scored again, the Bengals punted, the Browns scored again, Dalton overshot Cody Core and the pass was intercepted, the Browns scored again, and the game was basically over at 28-0 midway through the second quarter. Dalton was able to lead a touchdown drive before halftime, capped off with a 2-yard touchdown pass to John Ross. Things quickly went from bad to worse in the second half. Less than a minute in, a bad snap sailed past Dalton and as he dove to the ground trying to recover the ball, his hand hit awkwardly and he left the game. It has been reported he has a sprained thumb but nothing is broken. However, the injury was serious enough to land Dalton on injured reserve and end his season.
2017 Week 1 vs BAL (16 / 31 / 170 / 0 / 4 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Dalton was awful. He turned the ball over five times and took five sacks. While much of the blame for the abysmal offensive performance clearly falls on the quarterback, he was setup to fail by poor play calling and horrific protection. Two pass attempts on the opening drive were emblematic of the problems in Week 1. On the first, Dalton looked to get it quickly to A.J. Green, but Green was held up. Bengals center Russell Bodine was immediately walked 7 yards straight back by a bull rush to destroy the pocket. There was no time to even get to a second read before Dalton was forced to throw it away. The next play, a 3rd-and-long, the Ravens got instantaneous pressure from the outside in both directions and Dalton was quickly sacked. Dalton has always struggled against pressure, but even the best quarterback in the league would have had a rough day given the surrounding circumstances. The second drive ended on a Dalton interception. He was trying to hit Green on a slant but Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor made an extremely athletic play to quickly drop and leap to get a hand on the pass, tipping it up in the air into the cornerbacks arms. Not a great decision by Dalton, but you have to tip your hat to the defender for an outstanding play. The third drive of the game ended with Dalton's only truly egregious mistake. After driving the team 82 yards out of the shadow of their own end zone, Dalton made an awful choice to throw towards Brandon LaFell in double coverage in the middle of the end zone, resulting in his second interception of the day. Dalton's worst throw of the day came on the next drive. Cody Core was streaking down the right sideline and had his man beat by at least five yards for what should have been a long touchdown, but Dalton sailed the pass out of bounds. Wind was a factor all game, but it was a throw Dalton has to make. The third interception came just before halftime. Dalton tried to throw a quick slant to Tyler Boyd but Terrell Suggs leaped and the ball ricocheted off of his helmet high into the air and eventually into the hands of a Raven defender. Dalton had another turnover inside the Ravens 10-yard line after he was stripped from behind while trying to roll out to buy time.
2017 Week 2 vs HOU (20 / 35 / 224 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
While Dalton is taking a beating in the media and from Bengals fans, he was basically average in Week 2. It certainly wasn't a standout performance, but when accounting for throwaways and drops, his adjusted completion percentage was 72.3%. Unlike the Week 1 debacle, Dalton didn't turn the ball over. The decision-making was decent. Aside from a misfire on a deep ball that should have been a 20+ yard completion to an open Brandon LaFell, Dalton's accuracy wasn't a problem either. Dalton connected on a 50-yard bomb off of play action in the first quarter to A.J. Green. Dalton placed the ball well and gave his star receiver a chance to go up and make the spectacular catch to move the Bengals into the red zone. Poor play-calling (fake reverse) and J.J. Watt forced the Bengals to settle for a field goal. Dalton led an impressive 64-yard drive in the final 50 seconds of the first half to set up a field goal. He hit Tyler Eifert down the seam for 22 yards and then fired a pretty pass on the run deep down the field to Alex Erickson for 37 yards. Dalton led a long drive to open the second half that should have ended in a touchdown. Dalton rolled out to buy time and hit Tyler Eifert in the back corner of the end zone. But Eifert had lost track of where he was earlier in the play and stepped out of bounds so the touchdown came back.
2017 Week 3 vs GB (21 / 27 / 212 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
There were plenty of positives for Dalton in a bounce-back performance. He hasn't turned the ball over since Week 1 and ran the offense with more confidence and authority under new coordinator Bill Lazor. But Dalton still made a few mistakes and wasn't quite good enough to lead the upset of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Dalton opened the game strong. He finished off the opening drive with a beautiful 11-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green. Dalton looked off the safety then fired the ball into a tight window to Green despite double coverage. It had to be a perfect pass and Dalton put it on the money. Dalton threw his second touchdown early in the second quarter. Giovani Bernard slipped out of the backfield completely uncovered and easily scored on a 6-yard dump off. After the hot start, Dalton was a bit up-and-down in the second half. He didn't see Brandon LaFell running wide open on a crossing route on one third down and took a sack. He also missed an open A.J. Green for what should have been a 25-yard gain down the right sideline when he sailed the pass out of bounds. Dalton did do enough to put the Bengals in a position to pull out the win. In the fourth quarter and with the team backed up at their own 9-yard line, Dalton led a 63-yard drive that took over 6 minutes off the clock and led to a short field goal that put the Bengals up seven with under 4 minutes to play.
2017 Week 4 vs CLE (25 / 30 / 286 / 4 / 0 pass, 4 / 29 / 0 rush)
Dalton had one of the best performances of his career against the Browns. While Cleveland doesn't have the stoutest defense in the league, it was still impressive how easily Dalton carved them up. Perhaps the best part of Dalton's performance was that he was able to do it without some of his top weapons and without much of a run game. In addition to completing 83% of his passes and throwing four touchdowns, Dalton also had a few well-timed scrambles in big spots to keep the chains moving. The game started inauspiciously with Emmanuel Ogbah overpowering the right tackle and knocking the ball out of Dalton's hand for a fumble on the second offensive play. Dalton opened the second drive with a bullet to A.J. Green in a small window for 16 yards but that drive stalled after a holding penalty set the Bengals back. Once things got rolling on the third drive, the Bengals offense was dominant. Cincinnati scored four touchdowns and a field goal on the next five drive to jump out to a 31-0 lead before taking the foot off of the gas. The first touchdown was a 7-yard touchdown lofted perfectly into the back of the end zone to A.J. Green. Dalton capped the next drive off with a 3-yard touchdown pass on a quick slant to Tyler Kroft. He had long completions to Kroft and Green on the 88-yard drive. The next possession went 83 yards in 3 plays, with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Giovani Bernard on a screen pass. The second half opened with a long field goal drive and the next drive was another 83-yard touchdown drive. Dalton finished it with a 17-yard bullet into a small window to Kroft. Dalton only attempted a couple short passes in the fourth quarter as the Bengals played it safe and ran the ball protecting a 31-point lead.
2017 Week 5 vs BUF (22 / 36 / 328 / 1 / 2 pass, 5 / 2 / 0 rush)
Dalton hobbled his way through a gutsy performance to lead the Bengals to victory. In the first quarter, he took back-to-back shots to his left knee and ankle from Jerry Hughes (one of which was flagged) that left him limping. Dalton came out in the second half with the ankle heavily taped and limped throughout the game but should be okay going forward with a Week 6 bye allowing extra time to recover. Dalton came out of the gates firing to A.J. Green and the pair hooked up for an early 77-yard touchdown. Dalton faked the handoff and then lofted a perfect pass deep down the right sideline that Green caught in stride and took the distance. Under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals have been incorporating some run/pass option (RPO) plays and have had a lot of success with the concept. Dalton has been able to read the linebacker and pull the ball back from the running back and fire it out on a short slant multiple times in recent games. Dalton threw two interceptions. The first one was partially his fault. He threw the ball a little too high and it went through the hands of a leaping A.J. Green. It was a catch Green typically makes without much trouble but the degree of difficulty was made higher due to the high throw and pouring rain. The second interception was on a perfectly thrown slant that hit Green in the chest before popping up in the air. Dalton came back to Green on the next drive and the duo was able to connect for a 47-yard gain. Dalton stood in and delivered the ball 20 yards downfield just over the defender's hands. Green sprinted toward the end zone and was tripped up just a few yards short of another long touchdown. While Dalton has struggled more than most quarterbacks in the face of pressure, he was much better in that regard against the Bills. He stood in and threw strikes with men in his face and also did a nice job scrambling to buy time for guys to get open when the pocket broke down.
2017 Week 7 vs PIT (17 / 30 / 140 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 8 / 0 rush)
Dalton started strong before things unraveled. He hit A.J. Green for three long gains in the fist quarter and led back-to-back touchdown drives early. The first, he rifled a 6-yard touchdown pass between two defenders to Brandon LaFell in the middle of the end zone. The next touchdown drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass off of play action to Tyler Kroft wide open in the back of the end zone. The second half was rough for Dalton. The Bengals were forced to go pass-heavy, which allowed the Steelers line to pin their ears back. Dalton led A.J Green a bit too much trying to squeeze in a slant route between double coverage and Green had the ball bounce off of his hand and straight to the cornerback. The next drive, Dalton forced a third down pass into double coverage toward Josh Malone that was popped into the air for another interception.
2017 Week 8 vs IND (17 / 29 / 243 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 10 / 0 rush)
Dalton generally made the most of the hand he was dealt. While he misfired on a couple throws to A.J. Green, he was mostly accurate and efficient when he had time to throw. The pass protection was a massive issue again for the Bengals. Dalton was sacked three times and did well to throw it away multiple times when it looked like a sack was imminent. The offensive line looked confused every time the Colts blitzed and there were free runners in Dalton's face all game. Dalton connected for a 25-yard touchdown to Josh Malone despite a blitzing linebacker breaking through the middle of the line untouched. He had to chuck it side-armed and didn't get much on it due to being hit in the chest as he released, but the pass found its target in the front of the end zone.
2017 Week 9 vs JAX (10 / 18 / 136 / 0 / 0 pass, 3 / -1 / 0 rush)
It is almost impossible to evaluate Dalton's play in this type of game. Jacksonville's outstanding defensive line dominated Cincinnati's struggling offensive line and Dalton was under constant pressure. He did well to take just two sacks and avoid turning the ball over. The situation is especially dire at the offensive tackle spots, where veteran right tackle Andre Smith struggles against the speed rush and left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi continues to be a massive liability. Ogbuehi was put on skates by Jacksonville bull rushes on multiple occasions, causing the pocket to instantly collapse. Dalton also had to play the second half without his top playmaker, A.J. Green, who was thrown out for fighting. Dalton has always been a below-average quarterback when facing pressure. Behind this offensive line, expect him to struggle mightily against any team with a solid pass rush.
2017 Week 10 vs TEN (20 / 35 / 265 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Bengals went to a quick-strike attack in an attempt to scheme around the poor offensive line play. Much of the attack was built on quick slants off of play action from a shotgun formation to hold the linebackers. On the few deep pass attempts, the Bengals used misdirection, roll outs and play action to buy time. Dalton threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell. The Bengals used a play-action fake to the running back and a fake end around to the wide receiver to confuse the Tennessee defense, which allowed LaFell to run uncovered right down the middle of the field for an easy pitch and catch. Dalton lost a fumble on a strip sack from behind when Brian Orakpo ran right around left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. After leading the Bengals inside the Titans 10-yard line on the next drive, Dalton fumbled the snap on 1st-and-goal and wasn't able to recover it. Dalton mostly made the best of what was available to him as a passer but did under throw A.J. Green on his lone deep ball attempt to his star receiver. Green was behind the defense. Dalton did put the Bengals in position to pull off the upset with a late 70-yard touchdown strike to A.J. Green on a slant. However, the Bengals defense couldn't hold the lead and a last minute Hail Mary attempt by Dalton didn't come close.
2017 Week 11 vs DEN (15 / 25 / 154 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
Dalton's first touchdown was from 1-yard out and came off of a play action fake that allowed Tyler Kroft to get wide open in the end zone. Dalton led a 75-yard touchdown drive midway through the first half that he capped off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Alex Erickson. Erickson got behind the defender deep down the left sideline and Dalton floated it perfectly out in front of him. Dalton hit A.J. Green for an 18-yard touchdown on a back shoulder fade. It was a solid overall game for Dalton. He had some passes tipped at the line and pressure up the middle caused some throwaways but the pass protection held up better than expected against the Broncos pass rush. Dalton avoided any costly mistakes and made just enough plays to get the win.
2017 Week 12 vs CLE (18 / 28 / 214 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 26 / 0 rush)
Dalton continues his streak of solid play. He has taken care of the ball, last throwing an interception way back in Week 7. While there were a couple costly breakdowns in pass protection (including a key 3rd-and-goal play), the offensive line continues to show steady improvement. While it won't be mistaken for a strength of the team any time soon, the line is no longer killing the Cincinnati offense like it was early in the season. The improved run blocking by the offensive line has also made the Bengals more dangerous on play action. Both of Dalton's touchdowns were easy throws to wide open receivers after the Browns defense bit on play action. The first was a 9-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Tyler Boyd and the second was an easy throw into the back corner of the end zone to Tyler Kroft for a 1-yard touchdown. The Bengals had two other drives stall out inside the Browns 10-yard line. On one, Dalton was sacked on third down when Myles Garrett destroyed left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi with a bull rush. On the other, it looked like Joe Mixon ran the wrong route and accidentally broke up an end zone throw intended for Tyler Kroft. Dalton has used his athleticism in recent weeks and was able to break off a career-long run of 25 yards when the pocket broke down and he scrambled up the middle.
2017 Week 13 vs PIT (21 / 36 / 234 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 19 / 0 rush)
Dalton almost got into trouble a couple times trying to squeeze the ball through double coverage into A.J. Green but was able to avoid an interception for the sixth straight game. Dalton also threw two touchdown passes and has 20 in his last 10 games. Both touchdowns were to A.J. Green, one from 8 yards out and the other from the 15-yard line. The duo also hooked up for a 61-yard touchdown on a well-placed deep all that was called back due to a holding call on Giovani Bernard. Dalton made a number of clutch throws on 3rd-and-longs to keep drives moving. He hit Brandon LaFell on an especially pretty ball down the sideline for a gain of 27 to setup a field goal.
2017 Week 14 vs CHI (14 / 29 / 141 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton got off to a decent start, hitting Brandon LaFell for a 14-yard touchdown on an out route along the sideline to give the Bengals the lead in the first quarter. While Dalton had taken care of the ball well and went over a month without an interception, he made a number of dangerous throws into coverage that should have been picked off against the Bears. On separate throws to A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, the receivers had to play the role of defensive back and knock the ball away from defenders who were in position for the interception. One of Dalton's longest completions of the day was another pass that should have been intercepted. The cornerback stepped in front of the pass for a potential pick six and had it ricochet off of his chest into the air where Green hauled it in and turned up field for a nice gain. Dalton's luck eventually wore out. Trying to squeeze it into double coverage to Green, the ball hit Green in the facemask and popped into the air where it was intercepted. With the Bengals getting destroyed, Dalton was pulled midway through the fourth quarter for A.J. McCarron.
2017 Week 15 vs MIN (11 / 22 / 113 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton will take more blame than he probably deserves for the debacle against the Vikings but he did throw two inexcusable interceptions. He threw late over the middle trying to fit it into tight coverage to Alex Erickson but a dropping linebacker easily read Dalton's eyes and picked off the pass, taking it the other way for a touchdown. On what looked to be a run-pass-option play, Dalton pulled the ball back from Giovani Bernard and threw a quick slant trying to hit Brandon LaFell but the route was well covered and undercut by Terence Newman for the easy interception. There was no running game to slow the pass rush, people in his face constantly and a couple costly drops.
2017 Week 16 vs DET (27 / 41 / 238 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -1 / 0 rush)
Dalton got off to a slow start, in part due to some drops. He also threw a terrible interception early when he sailed the ball well over A.J. Green's head and into the chest of a safety. Much of the passing success came on screen passes and short outs to the running backs, who combined for 11 receptions and over 100 receiving yards. Dalton's lone touchdown came on a 1-yard touchdown pass to the backup tight end off of a play action fake.
2017 Week 17 vs BAL (23 / 44 / 222 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Dalton played well, taking care of the ball and making clutch throws when needed. The opening drive ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft off of play action. Dalton fit it in perfectly, over the outstretched arms of the linebacker where only a leaping Kroft could get to it. Dalton barely missed some long hookups with A.J. Green, with Green twice failing to get his second foot down inbounds on deep balls down the sideline. It was chemistry with Kroft and Tyler Boyd that keyed the Bengals offense. Kroft made a number of key catches to get the ball into the red zone and then Dalton hit him in the back of the end zone on a broken coverage for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Dalton led a successful two-minute drill offense at the end of the first half to setup a short field goal. With the game on the line, Dalton engineered a game-winning 90-yard drive. The drive was finished off when Dalton fired it into a hole in zone coverage 30 yards downfield to Tyler Boyd, who then cut it outside and raced for a 49-yard touchdown.
2016 Week 1 vs NYJ (23 / 30 / 366 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 7 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton's production in the passing game was extraordinary given how much pressure he faced. He was the first quarterback to pass for 320+ yards while getting sacked at least seven times since Aaron Rodgers accomplished the same feat in 2009. Dalton was especially effective in making audibles at the line and getting the Bengals into the right plays to attack the Jets corners when he saw a favorable one-on-one matchup. He showed tremendous chemistry with A.J. Green all day. The duo connected on a number of plays despite strong coverage, with Dalton putting the ball where only his receiver could get it and Green making spectacular plays on the ball. A number of the sacks Dalton took were due to great coverage. He was unable to get the ball out quickly to his primary reads and the pocket collapsed before he could throw the ball away. The one mistake Dalton made was the only play in which he forced the ball into coverage. Facing 3rd-and-15 with pressure coming up the middle, he threw towards Tyler Boyd running an out route from the slot. The Jets were in a zone. The outside corner dropped off his man to step in front of Boyd for the easy interception. Dalton made one poor throw that probably cost him a touchdown pass. He had CJ Uzomah wide open near the end zone, but pressure in his face caused him to throw off his back foot and the ball wobbled out and Uzomah couldn't snag the ball down around his knees. Dalton was impressive in his accuracy down the field. He dropped it in the bucket on deep completions to Uzomah and Brandon LaFell for big gains.
2016 Week 2 vs PIT (31 / 54 / 366 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
Dalton had a mediocre performance despite the big yardage totals. He was able to move the offense relatively well between the 20s, but had three long drives stall in the red zone. Jeremy Hill was open for a touchdown on one drive and A.J. Green came open in the end zone on another, but Dalton did not see them and the Bengals were forced to settle for short field goals. He had a short pass over the middle intended for Hill that should have been intercepted, but was dropped by the Steelers defender. Dalton may have had a couple touchdown passes in the first half, but Steelers defenders wisely grabbed the open receiver, drawing interference penalties while keeping the Bengals out of the end zone. When the Bengals went down two scores midway through the fourth quarter, Dalton led an impressive scoring drive that finished with a 25-yard touchdown completion to Giovani Bernard. Dalton had the Bengals driving inside the Steelers 40-yard line down eight points with just under two minutes left, but a controversial fumble by Tyler Boyd ended the threat.
2016 Week 3 vs DEN (21 / 31 / 206 / 0 / 1 pass, 6 / 40 / 0 rush)
Dalton led an impressive touchdown drive late in the first-half. He had three long completions in a row (two to A.J. Green and one to C.J. Uzomah) to move the Bengals inside the Broncos 5-yard line, where Jeremy Hill finished the drive off. The third-and-long throw to Uzomah to keep the drive moving and get the Bengals into the red zone was especially impressive. Dalton threaded the ball in between three defenders down the seam to his big tight end. Dalton threw a horrible interception with the Bengals trailing by two touchdowns late. He tried to force it in to C.J. Uzomah and T.J. Ward undercut the route and popped the ball up into the air, where it was easily intercepted by the Safety. With the Broncos defense playing primarily man coverage, Dalton did well throughout the game scrambling to pick up yards when the defenders backs were turned. He had runs of 10, 11 and 15 yards when the play broke down and nobody was open.
2016 Week 4 vs MIA (22 / 31 / 296 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / -12 / 0 rush)
Dalton was sharp and efficient. He was unable to connect on a couple red zone throws, which allowed the Dolphins to hang around a little bit. But once it became clear that the Dolphins offense posed little threat, the Bengals game plan turned very conservative. Dalton threw some beautiful deep ball to A.J. Green. On an early 51-yard completion to Green, Dalton stepped up to avoid pressure in the pocket, rolled right and threw a strike on the run deep down the sideline. Green outleaped the defender for the big gain. A few plays later, Dalton hit Green on a 3rd-down crossing route for 19-yards to set up a 1st-and-goal. He threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Green on a quick screen. Dalton flipped it out to the flat and Green did all the work, beating his defender to get into the end zone. Dalton also hit Green for 40 yards with a beautifully thrown deep ball dropped right in behind the corner and ahead of the safety. Dalton showed strong accuracy most of the day. He has a great rapport with Giovani Bernard on throws out of the backfield and is able to hit him on the run, dropping the ball in with perfect timing. Dalton does not have quite the same rapport yet with backup C.J. Uzomah, which contributed to some of the red zone struggles. Dalton had Uzomah wide open on a crossing route for what should have been a touchdown, but the throw was slightly behind him and Uzomah had to slow to make the catch, which caused him to come up just short of the end zone.
2016 Week 5 vs DAL (29 / 41 / 269 / 2 / 0 pass, 6 / 34 / 0 rush)
Dalton played well, despite the loss. At one point, he completed 14 straight pass attempts despite facing constant pressure. The Cowboys dominated time of possession early and forced the Bengals to play from behind. The Bengals offensive line really struggled once Dallas defenders were able to pin their ears back and rush and Dalton was sacked four times. He could have been sacked many other times but was able to escape and throw on the run. He was able to move the offense in the first half, but penalties and sacks led to drives stalling inside Dallas territory. Conservative decisions by Marvin Lewis led to punts on 4th-and-medium from near the Dallas 40-yard line on the first two drives of the game. Dalton did a nice job tucking the ball and running when plays broke down, showing off his underrated athleticism. Dalton also did well on a number of plays to avoid pressure, step up in the pocket and find a receiver down field. He hit Tyler Boyd for 20 yards after escaping pressure and throwing on the run. Dalton's first touchdown also came after he used his legs to buy time in the pocket, scramble forward and flip it to a wide-open Brandon LaFell in the back center of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. He lit LaFell later in the fourth quarter for a 5-yard touchdown pass on an out route from the slot.
2016 Week 6 vs NE (21 / 31 / 254 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 17 / 1 rush)
Despite the lopsided score, Dalton had a strong game. He came out of the gates on fire, completing his first ten passes. The first incompletion came on a 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line. He threw a fade route to A.J. Green, but the defender was positioned perfectly to cut off Green and the pass sailed incomplete. The next drive, Dalton was again dealing as he started the game completing 13 of his first 14 passes. He squeezed in passes of 22 and 14 yards to A.J. Green and another of 14 yards to Tyler Boyd to get the Bengals into the red zone. The 22-yard completion to Green was a dart thrown into a small window deep down the sideline. The 14-yarder to Green was also right on the money as Green came down with the ball just shy of the end zone in-between multiple defenders. Dalton finished the drive off with a 2-yard rushing touchdown. The Bengals ran option left and Dalton faked a toss to the back to freeze the linebacker before cutting it up inside for the score. Dalton started off the second half hot and led a quick touchdown drive to start the third quarter. The drive featured a 15-yard scramble and long completions to A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Dalton finished it off with a strike to Brandon LaFell on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
2016 Week 7 vs CLE (19 / 28 / 308 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton did almost all of his damage in the first half, as the Bengals leaned on the running game to protect a big lead in the second half. Dalton showed a great rapport with his top two targets, A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell. He completed every single pass thrown in Green's direction. The biggest play was a 48-yard hail mary in the final seconds before halftime. Dalton dropped back and threw a beautiful arcing spiral right to Green who was able to tip the ball to himself and come down with it despite a crowd of defenders in the area. Green also hit a long 44-yard touchdown to LaFell. LaFell beat his man badly on a stop and go route and it was an easy pitch and catch with the defender left on the ground after trying to tackle LaFell as he ran past him out of his break. Green hit Dalton on a perfectly thrown deep ball down the right sideline for 48 yards. He dropped it right over the defender, who had tight coverage and Green made a great play on the ball.
2016 Week 8 vs WAS (27 / 42 / 284 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / 21 / 1 rush)
Dalton had a slow start. The Bengals were run-heavy in the first half and when Dalton did throw, he wasn't great. In the two-minute drill before halftime, he had A.J. Green open streaking down the sideline and floated a pass well out of bounds. The next play, he tried to force it to Green in double coverage. It should have been picked off, but Josh Norman dropped it. The second half was better for Dalton. He led a long touchdown drive to open the third quarter that included a number of nice gains to his two favorite targets, Green and Tyler Eifert. Dalton finished off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Eifert down the seam. There was some miscommunication between defenders and Eifert was wide-open for an easy pitch and catch. It was more of the same on the next drive. Dalton hit Eifert in traffic over the middle for a 14-yard gain. Dalton led another long touchdown drive on the next possession. He again hit Green and Eifert on key third down pickups. On 2nd-and-goal from the one, he faked the handoff to Hill and kept it on the bootleg. The whole defense bit and Dalton was able to jog into the end zone for the short rushing touchdown. Dalton threw his first interception since Week 3 on a poor decision with pressure in his face. A blitzing defensive back had a free run and Dalton short-armed it toward Eifert, but missed badly, throwing it straight to a Washington defender for a costly red zone turnover early in the fourth quarter. Dalton responded by leading a long touchdown drive on the next possession. He hit Eifert over the middle for 22 yards to convert a third down. The next play he connected deep down the sideline for 40 yards to Green. Dalton had some chances in overtime to win the game, but couldn't convert. He missed Tyler Boyd down the seam on what could have been a big gain to setup the game-winning field goal. With the Bengals driving at midfield with one minute to play in overtime, Dalton fumbled on a QB sneak. He plowed through the line and easily picked up the first down, but took a big hit that popped the ball loose.
2016 Week 10 vs NYG (16 / 29 / 204 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 15 / 0 rush)
Dalton had a rough fantasy day due to poor blocking from his offensive line and a little bit of bad luck. Dalton led a touchdown drive to open the game. The key play was a 71-yard pass deep down the middle to Tyler Eifert from the Bengals 3-lineman formation, which allowed Eifert to get matched up in single coverage on a linebacker. Two plays later, Dalton found A.J. Green for a 14-yard touchdown. The Bengals faked a quick screen to the wide receiver lined up out wide, Dalton pumped left to bait the linebackers, which allowed Green to find an open spot in the Giants zone in the front of the end zone. Dalton showed off his underrated athleticism throughout the game, escaping pressure and rolling out to buy time for his receivers to get open. He hit Eifert for a big gain on one of these plays. Dalton rushed for 15 yards to convert a key 3rd down late in the game and had another 11-yard scamper called back due to a holding call. Dalton made one big mistake, an ill advised throw into double coverage down the center of the field intended for backup tight end Tyler Kroft that sailed a bit and was easily intercepted by Giants Safety Landon Collins.
2016 Week 11 vs BUF (24 / 43 / 207 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / 10 / 1 rush)
The Bengals passing offense struggled without A.J. Green. Dalton failed to crack 250 passing yards for the third time this season. But the previous two games in which he didn't top 250, he averaged just 30 passes. Against Buffalo, he managed less than five yards per attempt in throwing the ball 43 times in what was by far his least efficient game of the season. The Bengals top remaining receivers (Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell and James Wright) all struggle to create separation. Dalton is going to be forced to be extremely accurate to fit the ball into tight windows. He was able to do that on occasions against the Bills, but when he missed even slightly, balls were knocked down or intercepted. Brandon LaFell ran an awful comeback route with zero separation that led to Dalton's first interception. The second interception was on Dalton as he threw it slightly behind Tyler Eifert, who tipped the ball up and into the arms of a Bills defender while trying to reach back and make the catch. Dalton made a beautiful throw on a short touchdown to Tyler Boyd in the corner of the end zone and the two showed a nice chemistry throughout the game. Dalton scored his third rushing touchdown in the last five games on a read option play at the goal line. With the Bengals struggling to establish the running game, expect continued usage of designed quarterback runs (and option plays) around the goal line. The Bengals will need to get creative to score points down the stretch and it shouldn't be a surprise if they continue to use Dalton as a runner in in the red zone. Even with the slightly increased fantasy upside as a runner, Dalton will be a fantasy QB2 the rest of the way without Green.
2016 Week 12 vs BAL (26 / 48 / 283 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 14 / 0 rush)
The Bengals first drive stalled after a holding penalty wiped out a big gain. Dalton led a long second drive, but the Bengals had to settle for a short field goal after Dalton was inaccurate on an end zone pass to Tyler Eifert. With a smaller defender in single coverage, a throw to Eifert's back shoulder probably would have been a touchdown, but the pass was thrown too far inside and the defender easily knocked it down. Dalton was charged with a fumble that ended the third drive, but the mistake was on the Center, who snapped the ball early while Dalton was still moving guys around. Dalton faced heavy pressure all day. He did a nice job of scrambling to buy time. On the Bengals long touchdown drive, he bought time and threw on the run for a big gain to Jeremy Hill. He capped the drive off by throwing a 3-yard touchdown to Eifert after scrambling right to extend the play. Dalton had the offense rolling for most of the second half and Cincinnati was in the red zone, positioned to tie the game in the final minute, but the offensive line let him down again by allowing a strip sack by Elvis Dumervil that ended the game. It was by no means a great performance by Dalton and the offense clearly misses A.J. Green. But he played decent and the passing game was fairly successful when pass protection held up.
2016 Week 13 vs PHI (23 / 31 / 332 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
Dalton was flawless in one of the best performance's of his career. He put together the most efficient passing game of the week. It took just 31 pass attempts to throw for 332 yards. Dalton made some fantastic deep throws, completing 5-of-6 passes thrown 20+ yards downfield for 159 yards. He was also able to avoid taking any sacks despite facing pressure from the Eagles talented defensive line. He made a number of plays after escaping pressure in the pocket and throwing on the run. Dalton was able to keep the chains moving despite facing some 3rd-and-longs. He completed a deep pass for 50 yards to Cody Core to setup Jeremy Hill's short rushing touchdown early. Dalton led a long touchdown drive in the final minutes before halftime, finishing it off with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert in the final seconds of the half to push the lead to 19-0 at the break. Dalton came right back out and led another long touchdown drive to open the second half, hitting a deep ball to Brandon LaFell for 44 yards and then finishing the drive off with an 8-yard touchdown pass over the middle to LaFell.
2016 Week 14 vs CLE (20 / 28 / 180 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 17 / 0 rush)
Dalton got the Bengals off to a fast start, leading back-to-back touchdown drives on the team's first two offensive possessions. While Dalton was efficient (completing over 70% of his passes and putting up a QB rating of over 100), continued poor play by the offensive line remains a problem. The Browns came into the game last in the league in sacks and hadn't had more than three sacks in any game. Dalton was sacked four in the first half on Sunday. Dalton was able to take care of awful coverage by the Browns defense to hit Tyler Eifert for a pair of easy touchdowns. Dalton capped the first drive with a 14-yard touchdown to Eifert. Eifert used a double move, faking inside before cutting back outside to create easy separation. Later in the first half, Eifert came wide open on a slant from the slot for an easy 5-yard touchdown.
2016 Week 15 vs PIT (16 / 27 / 157 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Dalton was excellent in the first half leading four straight scoring drives, but wasn't able to get anything at all going in the second half. He got a break on the first drive of the game as a face mask penalty while getting sacked kept the drive alive. Dalton hit LaFell with a pair of nice passes to move the team down the field but wasn't able to finish the drive off with a touchdown as a 3rd-and-goal pass to Tyler Eifert in the end zone was well covered. Dalton again leaned on LaFell the next drive. He threw a deep ball to him in the end zone that drew a 39-yard pass interference flag and set the Bengals up at the goal line. Dalton finished off the drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown on a 4th-down quarterback sneak. The Bengals were run heavy inside the red zone and aside from the early target to Eifert, Dalton's only pass attempt inside the 10-yard line was a failed dump off to Rex Burkhead. Dalton threw a bad interception in the second half. He was looking for Tyler Boyd over the middle and didn't see Lawrence Timmons dropping in zone coverage. Aside from the interception, it was hard to pin much blame on Dalton for the second-half collapse. The Bengals consistently lost yardage or had minimal gains running the ball on early downs, which left them in difficult 3rd-and-long situations against a fierce pass rush.
2016 Week 16 vs HOU (28 / 41 / 268 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton was without his top three targets (A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard) and playing behind a makeshift offensive line that featured a pair of overmatched young offensive tackles. The lack of surrounding talent showed. With no fear of the running game, the Texans defense was able to pin their ears back and rush. Dalton took three more sacks and had to throw the ball away on a number of other occasions. Dalton's interception went right through the hands of his intended receiver Tyler Boyd. He probably put slightly too much speed on the pass, but it was till a catch his receiver should have made. Over a third of Dalton's pass yardage came on an 86-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell. It was a short slant and LaFell did the damage with his run after the catch. On an otherwise miserable offensive day, Dalton deserves credit for his work in the two-minute drill. He led a field goal drive in the final minutes before halftime to break the scoreless tie. He also led a late fourth-quarter drive to set up the Bengals for a last second, game-winning field goal (that Randy Bullock missed).
2016 Week 17 vs BAL (18 / 28 / 226 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 4 / 0 rush)
Dalton came out on fire. He completed his first 10 passes and led touchdown drives on the Bengals first two possessions. He capped the second drive off with a 1-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah. The Ravens defense bit hard on a play action fake to Rex Burkhead and Dalton has multiple wide-open targets to choose from as he rolled to his right. Dalton led long drives that ended in field goals in the Bengals other two first-half possessions. It was the fourth time in five weeks that Dalton led the Bengals to points on every single first half possession. An especially impressive feat without A.J. Green in the lineup. The Bengals were able to play with a big lead in the second half and went pretty conservative.
2015 Week 1 vs OAK (25 / 34 / 269 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 1 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton threw for a meager 269 yards and two touchdowns but he made very few mistakes in Week 1. The first play for the Cincinnati Bengals offense would serve to be a theme for the game as it was a pass from Andy Dalton to not A.J. Green, but tight end Tyler Eifert. He was able to avoid pressure and find Eifert on numerous occasions for short gains where Eifert could do damage after the catch and gain first downs. Dalton did a good job of getting the ball out quick and taking small chunks of yardage early. He overthrows A.J. Green who could have taken the long pass to the house if the throw was on target in the first quarter. That combination could have had a much bigger day as in the second quarter A.J. Green also drops a pass in the end zone after a nice pump fake and timing throw from Andy Dalton. The drive ends in a field goal for Cincinnati. Dalton threw both of his touchdown passes to Eifert in this game and the chemistry between them was strongly apparent all game long. Dalton threw a pass to Marvin Jones in the end zone that was both low and behind the receiver. The very next play he throws his first touchdown pass of the season to Tyler Eifert in tight coverage. He gives his tight end the opportunity to go up and make a play and that's exactly what happened. Dalton led a methodical second half largely with short passes to Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert. Dalton does a good job of scrambling away from pressure in the third quarter and threw a great ball to Rex Burkhead just over the head of the Raiders defender. The run game was very efficient in the second half but Dalton did get going a bit with his top receiver A.J. Green. The two hooked up on two back-to-back crossing routes off play action on the same drive and nearly connected on a big play down the sideline directly after. Andy Dalton threw his second touchdown of the night in the third quarter to Tyler Eifert in an almost identical play to their first connection in the end zone. Dalton was giving his receivers the chance to make plays all night, and make plays is exactly what they did.
2015 Week 2 vs SD (16 / 26 / 214 / 3 / 0 pass, 5 / 10 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton went 16/26 and finished Week 2 with 214 yards passing and three touchdowns, each to a different receiver. Dalton has thrown no interceptions or taken one sack through two weeks of games and is showing the versatility this offense has. The offensive line played great in front of him in this game, both in pass protection and run blocking. After a San Diego muffed punt in the first quarter Dalton throws his first touchdown pass of the game out of the shotgun where he was able to find A.J. Green in the end zone for a 16-yard catch over the top of cornerback Brandon Flowers. Dalton again connects with A.J. Green with a deep pass down the middle for 23 yards. These two are really starting to get going along with the addition of Tyler Eifert in the red zone and as Dalton's security blanket when facing pressure. Andy Dalton caps off a 6-play, 84-yard drive taking a shot to Marvin Jones deep who gains separation for the touchdown to make the game 14-6 in favor of Cincinnati. Dalton is letting his receivers make plays and clearly trusts them to come up with the ball in traffic in this game. His 9-yard throw to Tyler Eifert showed great touch and anticipation and put the Bengals in control of this game. Dalton did overthrow receivers consistently in this game or he could have had an even bigger day. Overall he was content to make very little mistakes and used his running backs in the screen game well to avoid pressure.
2015 Week 3 vs BAL (20 / 32 / 383 / 3 / 1 pass, 5 / 10 / 1 rush)
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals blew a 14-0 lead in this game and trailed in the 4th quarter more than once before he and A.J Green absolutely went off against a subpar Baltimore Ravens pass defense. Dalton went 20/32 for 383 yards and 3 touchdowns in this game as well as a rushing touchdown and one interception. He was nearly intercepted in the first quarter as well on a pass that bounced off of A.J. Green's hands and into the air. Penalties kept this drive alive multiple times. On a collapsed pocked on 3rd and 5 Andy Dalton stepped up and ran it in from 7-yards out for the games first touchdown. On the second drive of the game Dalton was targeting wide receiver Marvin Jones heavily and threw him a touchdown pass for the second straight week. It was a 16-yard strike after Jones beat press coverage over the middle of the field catching a ball throw into tight coverage by Dalton. On the first drive of the second half Dalton went for it all on 3rd down and connected in stride with his number one receiver A.J. Green down the sideline for a big 46-yard gain deep into the red zone. Cornerback Jimmy Smith for the Ravens steps in front of A.J. Green in the end zone for the interception as Dalton tried to hit Green over the top. Another big play for the Baltimore defense would come in the second half where Andy Dalton is sacked and fumbles to C.J. Mosley who takes this fumble recovery in for a defensive touchdown. This brought the Ravens ahead for the very first time in this game and Dalton responded with an 80-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green on the very next play. Green got separation where he caught a deep pass down the seam from Dalton in stride and shook off tackles from both Jimmy Smith and Will Hill to get into the end zone. This was a huge turning point in the game with just under seven minutes remaining. On the game winning 80-yard drive shortly after, Dalton took Cincinnati down the field in just six plays. He hit his running back Giovani Bernard with a 23-yard catch down the sideline and then connected with Marvin Jones for a huge 31-yard catch he brought down with one hand. The eventual game-winning touchdown pass by Dalton to A.J. Green came just two plays later after he audibled to move tight end Tyler Eifert from out wide to the line of scrimmage. This allowed him to hit Green with the fade route into the left corner of the end zone they had missed on earlier in the game. It was a 7-yard touchdown pass and would hold up as the game winner after a defensive stop by the Bengals.
2015 Week 4 vs KC (17 / 24 / 321 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 16 / 0 rush)
Quarterback Andy Dalton led the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals to their third-best start in franchise history Sunday as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday 36-21. Dalton continued to look comfortable in this game completing his first 10 passes on the night. This is the second straight game he has eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark and he added a 55-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Tate on the run. With a passer rating of 127.1 Dalton came into this game trailing just Aaron Rodgers for the top of the league in that category. In the first half he went back to his top receiver early and often as he and A.J. Green continued where they left off in Week 3. On a 3rd and 2 on the first drive Cincinnati would fumble after a low snap but Dalton composes himself to not only recover the football but also go deep down the left side of the field for a 36-yard pass to A.J. Green. This drive would end on Jeremy Hill's first touchdown but it set the tone for the rest of the game, which was dominated by the Bengals. On the last drive of the first half Dalton threw a deep pass through the middle to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu for 52 yards. His lone touchdown of the night came on 3rd and 11 on the first drive of the second half. While throwing on the run, something we don't normally see from Dalton but much more this season, he connects with Brandon Tate off a scramble for the 55-yard touchdown. These out-of-pocket big plays are starting to become the norm for Dalton as his stock continues to soar.
2015 Week 5 vs SEA (30 / 44 / 331 / 2 / 1 pass, 7 / 18 / 1 rush)
Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton helped erase a 17-point lead from the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks in Week 5. Dalton threw for two touchdowns and 331 yards through the air with just one interception. He also rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. On the first drive of the game Dalton led the Bengals on an 80-yard drive capped off by an 11-yard Tyler Eifert touchdown in the back of the end zone. Eifert was clearly Dalton's featured receiver in this game. A bad interception to Earl Thomas was due to pass rush, the Cincinnati offensive line gave up a season-high four sacks in this game. He floated this ball a bit, much to close to one of the leagues best defenders who made him pay on the 3rd and 10 in field goal range. Dalton also botched a hand off to running back Rex Burkhead in this game that was returned for a touchdown. On his rushing touchdown Dalton snuck into the end zone from 5 yards out thrived late in the game. On Dalton's second touchdown pass he was able to connect with Eifert on a 10-yard touchdown pass down the seam to cut the lead to 24-14. He led a 69-yard drive with no timeouts to help tie the game with a late field goal from Mike Nugent. It was a signature performance for Dalton and the Bengals, playing like a WR1 Dalton hit Eifert with a huge completion streaking through the middle in regulation that set up the game-tying field goal. He consistently got the ball out quickly against the blitz and was looking to both Eifert and Bernard extensively in the passing game as number one receiver A.J. Green was blanketed by Richard Sherman most of the game. Even with a couple suspect plays it is clear that Dalton has made huge strides in his game this year, and is a big part of the reason the Bengals are 5-0.
2015 Week 6 vs BUF (22 / 33 / 243 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Quarterback Andy Dalton led the now 6-0 Cincinnati Bengals to victory against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 in the shoulders of three touchdowns and 243 yards. Dalton completed 22-of-33 pass attempts and was not sacked in this game. The Bengals have given up the fewest sacks of any team in the NFL through six weeks with just a total of six. Dalton has done well this year getting the ball out quickly and his embarrassment of riches at the skill positions have been making plays. In a game where star wide receiver A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert were held in check most of the game Dalton looked to his supporting cast throwing touchdowns to Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert, and Jeremy Hill. On the first touchdown pass of the game Dalton threw a rare dump-off pass to Jeremy Hill who was able to stay in bounds on the left sideline and jump into the end zone. In the second quarter Dalton threw two passes to Giovani Bernard for 26 and 17 yards respectively on back-to-back plays on a drive that led to a Marvin Jones receiving touchdown. Jones caught a deep pass for 42 yards from Dalton, which was a perfectly thrown ball down the middle of the field. Jones would later haul one in for the 10-yard touchdown a few plays later. His touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert was largely a jump ball for the tight end from 4 yards out and the two continue two continue show chemistry in the red zone. Andy Dalton and the Bengals were able to go up big in the second half, scoring 17 points on their first three drives after halftime.
2015 Week 8 vs PIT (23 / 38 / 231 / 1 / 2 pass, 6 / 4 / 0 rush)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw just one touchdown pass against the Steelers but it was when it counted most with just 2:57 remaining in the game. It was a 9-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green off of a nice slant route. This gave the team their first lead of the game. Dalton finished with 231 yards passing and one touchdown on 23-of-38 pass attempts. With that, he secured his 23rd career road win matching Dan Marino, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Ryan for the most by a quarterback in his first five seasons. Dalton did throw two horrendous interceptions in the fourth quarter of this game on throws that probably never should have been made including one in the end zone. This was the first time all year Dalton has thrown multiple interceptions in a single game and was undoubtedly his worst performance to date in 2015. They found a way to win as they scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. Dalton now has three game winning drives for the Bengals this season, now 7-0 on the year.
2015 Week 9 vs CLE (21 / 27 / 234 / 3 / 0 pass, 6 / 5 / 0 rush)
Quarterback Andy Dalton had the worst game of his career last year in this same spot, Thursday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns. Week 9 was entirely different as he went 21-of-27 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Dalton connected in the end zone with tight end Tyler Eifert three times against the Browns and also was the lead blocker on Mohamed Sanu's 25-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Bengals leaned heavily on the running game in this one but Dalton was extremely efficient when called upon, including 12-of-14 passes in the second half. Cleveland was surprisingly able to get some pressure in this game and Dalton was sacked twice, both on third down. His first touchdown pass came in the first quarter off of play action where he threw an absolute laser to Eifert in traffic across the middle who stretched across the plane for the 9-yard score. Late in the first half the duo connected again off a scramble to the left of the pocket. Dalton avoided pressure and launched a high pass on the run into the end zone where Eifert jumped up and made the touchdown grab that gave the Bengals a 14-3 lead. This play was the result of a Browns offside call that negated a failed 4th and 2 attempt by the Bengals the play previous. The chemistry between these two was evident all night, especially in the red zone. The 19-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter was his third of the night came off a great pump fake and touch throw that met Eifert in stride along the left sideline.
2015 Week 10 vs HOU (22 / 38 / 197 / 0 / 1 pass, 5 / 30 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton went 22-of-38 in Week 10 against the Houston Texans for just 197 yards and zero touchdowns. He also threw an interception in this game in a game where he really struggled to give his receivers opportunities to make plays. His interception was a pass intended for Marvin Jones in which he severely overthrew the ball. He wasn't on target with the deep ball all night. He could have easily thrown a second interception in the fourth quarter but the Texans defender could not make the easy play. The Bengals converted just four third downs on Monday Night Football including just once in the fourth quarter. The dominated time of possession in the first quarter but could not add to their 3-0 lead and the offense was killed by penalties which amounted to 70 yards in the game. Dalton's tough night was not helped by his receivers dropping passes. Tyler Eifert dropped three passes in this game in which might have been his worst outing of the season. Cincinnati had one last chance in the fourth quarter but A.J. Green was stripped with 40 seconds left in the game at the Texans 23-yard line.
2015 Week 11 vs ARI (22 / 39 / 315 / 2 / 0 pass, 8 / 34 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton can't seem to find consistency through an entire game the past few weeks. He completed 22-of-39 for 315 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday night against the Cardinals in the Bengals second straight loss. Most of his completions came off of check downs with a limited amount of big plays where he went downfield. He took 4 sacks in this game and also lost a fumble. He started the second half with six straight incompletions but was able to bring Cincinnati back on an attempted comeback in the fourth quarter. Off of an interception from Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, the Bengals went 64 yards on six plays capped by Tyler Eifert's first of two touchdowns. Dalton threw a 3-yard fade route to Eifert who came down with the ball like he has so many times this year already. A.J. Green made a catch on this drive as Dalton made his only big play of the game down the sideline for 42 yards. On his second touchdown pass, Dalton changed the play before the snap to get Eifert one-on-one with Cardinals corner Jerraud Powers who Eifert has a huge size advantage with. It was another fade route in the red zone to Eifert for the score. Dalton connected with Marvin Jones on a huge third-and-26 play in the fourth quarter and later in the drive on fourth down to Mohammed Sanu. These two plays would ultimately set up a Jeremy Hill touchdown to cut the game to a seven point lead for the Cardinals with 11:26 remaining.
2015 Week 12 vs LA (20 / 27 / 233 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
The St. Louis Rams had 30 sacks on the seasons but they failed to get through the Bengals offensive line to Andy Dalton in Week 12. Dalton went 20-for-27 for 233 yards and three touchdowns against the Rams and also threw one interception. The Bengals put 31 points on the board, equaling the second most all season against the Rams. On his first touchdown Dalton connected with wide receiver A.J. Green off a clear blown coverage by the defense. Late in the first half Dalton threw his second touchdown of the night to the leader in the NFL in that category Tyler Eifert. Dalton made a great play to look left, pump fake, and immediately come back to the right to hit Eifert on a 22-yard play directly over the top of the Ram's safety. It was a beautiful play fake that made the entire play happen. On the first drive of the second half Dalton threw a very poor interception with the defense in zone coverage in which he failed to set his feet. Marvin Jones was the intended target but Dalton would rebound to throw another touchdown later in the third quarter to A.J. Green, his second of the game.
2015 Week 13 vs CLE (14 / 19 / 220 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 11 / 1 rush)
Andy Dalton went 14-of-19 passing for 220 yards and two touchdowns and also added a score on the ground in the Bengals 37-3 romp over the Cleveland Browns in Week 13. His passer rating of 146.8 was the second best of his career and is number one in the NFL this season in that category. He eclipsed 3,000 yards this season for the fifth time in his five seasons in the league. The only other quarterback to accomplish that in league history is Peyton Manning. Dalton threw a 57-yard bomb to A.J. Green with 8:25 left in the first quarter that he almost took to the house before he was tripped up. Dalton would then cap the 84-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown off of a quarterback sneak. By the end of the first half the two would hook up for a 23-yard touchdown where Green beats single-coverage cleanly down the left sideline. Dalton connected with wide receiver Marvin Jones late in the third quarter for a 21-yard score that had fans heading for the exits early. It was a nicely thrown ball over top of the defense after faking a hand-off to Giovani Bernard. Dalton clearly trusts A.J. Green to be able to go up and make plays, continuously putting him in opportunities to score points for this offense. With the game in hand Dalton was only forced to throw the ball 19 times, next week should be different against a high flying Pittsburgh Steelers offense.
2015 Week 14 vs PIT (3 / 5 / 59 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Quarterback Andy Dalton has started for 80 consecutive games in the NFL since is career began and after an injury in Week 14 that streak will end. One of the NFL's most durable quarterbacks injured his right thumb after an attempted screen pass to Giovani Bernard was intercepted by lineman Stephon Tuitt. He seemed to jam his right hand into the lineman's knee and did not return. He completed three passes for 59 yards including said interception before leaving the game.
2014 Week 1 vs BAL (25 / 38 / 301 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 3 / 0 rush)
Despite being 3rd all-time in passing yards and TD in the first three seasons of a player's career, Andy Dalton has taken a beating among the media this off-season. 20 interceptions and a 3rd straight playoff loss have not done him any favors. So a week one matchup in a stadium in which he has never won, against a team that he threw 7 int's against last year seemed like the worst possible start for Dalton's 2014 campaign. The off-season has been full of proclamations that the Bengals were going to be a running team, and Dalton's value has amazingly plummeted in fantasy circles to the point where he isn't even in the top 15 in many people's preseason polls. Against the Ravens, new coordinator Hue Jackson obviously had one thing in mind: Don't turn the ball over. Dalton started the game throwing it short, and kept things short and safe the entire game. In the first half, Dalton repeatedly led the Bengals down the field with short slants, screens and out patterns, and had no trouble moving the ball. Unfortunately, the offense repeatedly stalled in Baltimore territory. On the first possession, Dalton threw it away to end the drive. On the second possession, Hue Jackson had Dalton run a QB keeper, which not surprisingly didn't work against the physical Ravens defense. Dalton failed to convert another 3rd down on the 3rd possession with another QB keeper. Later in the first half, Gresham was wide open deep in Ravens territory, but Gresham didn't finish running the route and the miscommunication cost the Bengals an easy TD. Also, on numerous occasions Dalton simply threw the ball away. It was obvious he was coached to make no mistakes in this game, a decision that seemed to serve Cincy well. The second half was full of miscommunications and errors. The new offense looked much different than the old one, was being run at a fast pace, and miscommunication with Green and Sanu stalled a few drives. Jackson called reverses, Dalton ran the triple option, and the offense obviously wasn't sharp. The conservative approach and the lack of a solid running game almost cost the Bengals the game. A deep pass to Steve Smith gave the Ravens the lead deep in the 4th quarter. For the first time in the game, Dalton had to throw the ball deep downfield, and the result was spectacular. Two daggers in a row buried the Ravens. First Dalton threw a deep ball down the right sideline and hit AJ Green in stride. Green juggled it due to great defense by the CB, but Green adjusted, made the play and walked in for an astounding 78 yard TD. Then Dalton threw it up at the pylon to Sanu and Sanu made the catch for the 2-pt conversion. Overall, the offense isn't clicking and the loss of Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert (as well as Hawkins from a year ago) have severely limited the number of receiving options for Dalton. But despite that, Dalton threw for 300 and hit a big game-winning bomb to AJ Green. Overall, despite the issues, it's a great start for Dalton under Hue Jackson. He was able to eradicate the turnovers, move the ball and beat a tough defense on the road.
2014 Week 2 vs ATL (15 / 23 / 252 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 6 / 0 rush)
Dalton is on the best team of his young career. The narrative that you may see over the next few days, is that the Bengals are turning into a run-first team. This may in fact play out as the season goes on. But Dalton and the Cincy offense are losing offensive weapons at an alarming rate. Already without Marvin Jones to start the year, they've lost Eifert and AJ Green in successive weeks. Once AJ went out at the start of this game, Dalton was surrounded with perhaps the worst set of receivers in the league. Even the fourth string WR from a year ago, Hawkins, has found his way to Cleveland. This played out poorly in the first few drives. Twice, the Bengals got down into the redzone and were unable to score TD's. The receivers were unable to get open, and Dalton simply threw the ball out of bounds. A year ago, Dalton would throw the ball up in the endzone. But he showed no such confidence in this game. Aside from a few deep slants to Dane Sanzenbacher, Dalton got the majority of his yards on 3 plays. 2 of them were dumpoffs to Bernard. But the play of the day for Dalton came in the third quarter. The Falcons came with everyone on a blitz. Dalton stood in and fired the ball to Sanu on a slant. The ball was placed perfectly, Sanu caught the ball, beat his man and raced 76 yards for an easy TD, as there was no one in the secondary. It was great recognition and bravery from Dalton in one of the few occasions he had through the air. Overall, Dalton's numbers are going to be down until his receivers return. The running game is going well, the defense is playing other-worldly, and he has no one to throw to. The good thing for Dalton is that he hasn't thrown any interceptions, and hasn't been sacked yet all season. But whether that is the result of an improved Andy Dalton or a run-heavy gameplan remains to be seen. All we know is that Dalton has protected the ball and thrown 2 big TD passes in the first two weeks. Will the gameplan change when Green and Jones return? That is the big question.
2014 Week 3 vs TEN (15 / 23 / 169 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 3 / 0 rush)
One look at Dalton's fantasy stats, and you'd assume that he had a pretty bad game. Dalton only threw for 169 yards, he failed to throw a TD, and he threw an ugly int. But in reality, Dalton had another very solid game. The Bengals completely destroyed the Titans and Dalton and the rest of the starters didn't even play in the final two series of the game. Dalton was cool and confident, throwing strikes to AJ Green, working the short passing game to precision, and taking shots downfield. On the Bengals 2nd possession, Dalton dropped a lob right over the head of the cornerback for a 29 yard gain down the sideline. After that, Dalton made the play of the day. After getting the ball, Mohamed Sanu stopped, turned around and threw the ball across the field to Dalton. Dalton leaped high in the air, caught the ball and somehow didn't get clobbered by the cornerback. He then ran surprisingly fast to the endzone for an 18 yard reception. It was a remarkably athletic play for Dalton, and ended up saving his fantasy owners from a completely disastrous day. Later in the first half, Dalton threw another beautiful ball to AJ Green in the endzone, and a pass interference penalty put the ball at the 1. In all honesty, despite the penalty, Green should have had it, and Bernard finished the drive with a TD. In the fourth quarter, Dalton threw a strike to AJ Green on a deep slant. Green grabbed the perfectly thrown ball and raced down to the 4 yard line, before being tackled. Then Sanu dropped a screen pass before Hill scored the final TD for Cincy. Dalton's owners are naturally going to worry about the td's, but they are coming. The Titans were inept on offense, but somehow used up a lot of clock, despite their ineptitude. Then as we mentioned, 2 potential TD's turned into running scores. If Marvin Jones does return after the bye-week, look for the offense to really take off. Dalton's one INT was a very poor screen pass. Dalton tried to avoid the sack and got rid of the ball too quickly. Despite Gio being setup perfectly on the screen, Dalton threw it high and Gio tipped the ball and watched as it went right into the Titans hands for an int. Last season, Dalton threw 20+ int's. In the first three games, that was really his only horrific throw. So improvement is happening. Dalton is winning games and he looks much more confident than he did a year ago.
2014 Week 5 vs NE (15 / 24 / 204 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 16 / 0 rush)
Throughout his career, Andy Dalton has struggled mightily in primetime. This week the Bengals went on the road to face an extremely angry and motivated Patriots team. The Patriots obliterated Cincy, so it stands to reason that the "bad Andy" re-appeared. Early on, Dalton did look a bit shaky. He threw an int to Revis, but Revis fouled AJ on the play and the INT didn't stand. On the second possession, Gio burnt a linebacker on a wheel route and streaked down the sideline and Dalton overthrew him. The errant pass was a huge missed opportunity for Dalton. The bottom line for the first few series is that the entire team looked shaky, from Dalton, to the Oline, to the receivers. But after that, Dalton actually settled down and began playing pretty well. On the fourth drive, Dalton fired a deep in-route to Sanu, and Sanu dropped the ball. Then later in the drive, he threw a perfectly thrown ball to Gresham in the endzone, but Gresham dropped it. That TD drop really hurt the Bengals and they settled for a field goal. On the next possession, Dalton fired a pass to Green over the middle, and Green fumbled the ball. In the second half, things picked up a little bit. After getting a short field due to a punt return, Dalton threw a deep ball to Sanu for a 37 yard TD to get the Bengals close. But then the Patriots responded with a TD and got another TD on a kickoff return fumble, and the comeback was halted. The rest of the game was garbage time, but Dalton played solid throughout. He threw one deep ball to AJ Green, and then hit AJ Green for a TD as soon as Revis went out for an injury. The TD throw to Green was another perfectly placed ball just over the defender. But any additional garbage time points were negated by bad plays by Dalton's weapons. Sanu dropped another pass over the middle that would have extended a drive. Sanzenbacher fumbled at the beginning of another drive, and then Dalton's day was done. Overall, the Bengals problems on offense were all mistakes. A dropped touchdown, 2 drops that ended drives, and 3 fumbles that stopped drives before they had a chance to get going. Dalton's performance wasn't spectacular, as his overthrow on the bomb to Gio hurt as well. But he was solid, and wasn't the issue for Cincinnati, as he threw no interceptions and played pretty well.
2014 Week 6 vs CAR (34 / 44 / 323 / 2 / 2 pass, 4 / 25 / 0 rush)
The attrition of Andy Dalton's weapons put the Bengals into a difficult spot against an enigmatic Panthers defense. Down to Mohamed Sanu and scrubs in the passing game, it was widely presumed that the Bengals would rely on the running game to try and score points. But for most of the game, the running game wasn't there. Dalton was forced to throw to wide receivers that have been buried on the bench for the last couple of seasons. Despite these issues, Dalton threw for over 300 yards, threw a couple of touchdowns and put up 37 points. Taking over with 2 minutes left in overtime, he led the Bengals down the field and put them in position for an easy field goal, but the kick was missed and the Bengals settled for a tie. That isn't to say that Dalton didn't make mistakes, because he did. Dalton threw 2 interceptions. His first interception was returned 80 yards, but actually wasn't really his fault. The defender got Dalton's elbow right as he was throwing it, forcing a popup right to the defender. Dalton's second INT came on 3rd and 15. Jermaine Gresham was running deep down the middle of the field, and Dalton tried to force it to him. The window was quite small and would have required a perfect throw. Dalton's throw was high and the ball was intercepted. Dalton got away with another bad throw on a drive later in the game. He threw a pass to Sanu on the sideline in double coverage, but the Panthers CB reached out and tipped the ball, and Sanu then grabbed it out of the air for the catch. While it worked out well, the Panthers just missed an INT. It's hard to fault Dalton for those errors, however, as he was trying to make plays with a poor group of weapons. Although Sanu was fantastic, Tate, Sanzenbacher and Gresham are quite limited. Also, the running game never really got going, aside from Gio's one long TD. But Dalton does a great job running the no-huddle offense, making calls at the line, and working the ball down the field. On one of the few times he tried to go deep, he connected, hitting Mohamed Sanu for a 32 yard TD down the sideline. Dalton hung it right over the defender and Sanu used his physicality to get the TD. In overtime, Dalton picked up a couple big 3rd down conversions, but a sack ended the first possession, as the pressure was relentless on Dalton all day. Then he got another chance with 2 minutes left in overtime. Dalton started out with short passes, and moved the ball to midfield. Then he hit rookie James Wright downfield for 24 yards with 40 seconds left in the game, to get the ball into field goal range. Ultimately, it was a very good game for Dalton. Every QB throws int's, and this is especially the case when working with a poor supporting cast, and being put into a position in which you are forced to throw the ball downfield. Dalton made a lot of big 3rd down conversions, he led his team on some big 4th quarter and overtime drives, and he kept the offense alive. Despite all the injuries on offense, the defense is the problem in Cincy, as Dalton has put up points and moved the ball. When/if Green and Jones return, the offense could become a top 5 offense again.
2014 Week 7 vs IND (18 / 38 / 126 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
I don't know if this was Andy Dalton's worst performance as a Bengal, but it was close. The Bengals offense was completely inept. The Bengals opened the game with 8 straight 3 and outs before converting a first down with less than a minute to go in the half. The performance was just horrific all around. Dalton didn't do anything, his Oline was putrid, the running game did nothing, and his receivers got zero separation all day long. As a QB, you take all the blame when you play this bad, and Dalton deserves it. The Colts repeatedly brought the blitz, and Dalton could never make them pay. His receivers couldn't get open, his line couldn't block, and so he was sacked and hurried throughout. Drops weren't a huge factor, but two first downs were dropped by receivers. Without AJ, the Bengals surprised everyone with their offensive potency a week ago. The Colts locked down Sanu and Dalton simply had no one else to go to. His short throws to Gresham were never a threat. His dumpoffs to Bernard almost got Bernard injured. To Dalton's credit, he never lost his composure and threw INT's, but to be fair, the offense was so ineffective, that's honestly not all that important. Also, while Dalton was bad in the first half, the Colts weren't great either. The Colts turned the ball over and played very poorly in the first half. They gave Cincinnati 9 possessions, which is just astounding. But this also makes the Bengals look even worse, as they had opportunity after opportunity, but continued to fail. The Bengals need AJ Green back badly, and they need to right the ship quickly. Another performance like this, and Dalton will start hearing the boo-birds quickly.
2014 Week 8 vs BAL (21 / 28 / 266 / 0 / 1 pass, 6 / 14 / 2 rush)
The Ravens have always given Andy Dalton problems, and they certainly gave him issues in Cincinnati. Dalton had severe accuracy problems, had no running game, and made a couple mistakes. But Dalton overcame these mistakes and led the Bengals on a game winning drive to sweep the Ravens and put the Bengals back in first place. On the game's opening drive, Dalton threw a deep slant behind Sanu and over his head. Sanu made a remarkable play on the ball, broke a tackle and ran for 48 yards. This ball could have been intercepted if not for Sanu's amazing catch. Next, Dalton hit Greg Little on a comeback inside the 5, and then Dalton scored on a 1 yard plunge for a TD. The Ravens did a good job of killing a lot of clock and keeping the Bengals off the field. The Bengals couldn't establish the run, and had two holding penalties (both by Andre Smith) that killed two drives. In the second half, after a Bengals TD that came as a result of a turnover, a Sanu reverse and a couple short Gio runs, Dalton finally began throwing again late in the 3rd. Dalton hit Tate for 2 first downs, then he hit Sanu on two sideline passes, one of which Sanu almost broke for a TD. Dalton then made another poor throw when Little broke free of his CB and got wide open in the endzone. Dalton overthrew him and immediately knew he missed a TD. The Bengals had to settle for a field goal. After that miss, Dalton crumbled. First he threw a bad pass on the sideline to Sanu that should have been intercepted. Then on a playaction pass, he turned around after the fake and Ngata just destroyed him, which caused Dalton to fumble and led to a Ravens TD. On the very next drive, Dalton hit Sanu on a slant, and the Ravens stripped the ball away and got what was chalked up as an INT. While the fault for the INT was probably Sanu's, it works itself out, as Sanu saved him from an INT earlier in the game. Things looked quite bleak, twitter was all over Dalton, and the fans were not happy. That's when Dalton responded with a game-winning drive. He stepped up into the pocket and threw a deep ball to Sanu for 53 yards on 3rd and long. Then he hit Little on a sideline route for 13, and finally Dalton, with the help of a big push from the line, scored on a QB keeper on 4th and 1. There are some big positives for Dalton and Cincinnati. First, the offensive weapons are less than ideal. Sanu remains the only big weapon in the passing game. When Greg Little, who was signed off the streets, is your second best weapon, you know there are problems. Second, the running game is non-existent. There is no push, and the only way Cincy can move the ball right now is through the air. Still, despite these factors, Dalton led the Bengals to a huge win against a fast and aggressive defense. The negatives are that he continued to make mistakes. But a quick look around the league shows that a lot of QB's make a lot of mistakes. To grill Dalton for a few bad passes, and overlook other QB's that make similar mistakes is disingenuous. Dalton did ok, and when he gets AJ Green and Eifert back, the Bengals offense should really take off.
2014 Week 9 vs JAX (19 / 31 / 233 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 11 / 0 rush)
Dalton had one of his most inconsistent and erratic performances of the year. He mixed in some great throws with some terrible decisions. He threw long balls on the money, and was also careless with the ball. The Bengals ended up winning the game, but Dalton was on the path to implosion in the 4th quarter until Jeremy Hill's 60 yard TD run. Where does this leave us with Dalton, heading into a dreaded primetime game? First, the good. Dalton had some beautiful throws. On the third Bengals possession, Dalton hit Sanu just as Sanu broke past his man for a 19 yard strike and his first TD. Ball was thrown perfectly. On the next possession, Dalton dropped a 32 yard bomb right over Sanu's shoulder for a long play. Then Dalton threw another strike to AJ Green in the endzone, but unfortunately the play was called back because Green was lined up offsides. In the second half, Dalton threw another 36 yard lob to Sanu, again right over his shoulder in perfect position. This throw setup a short TD run for Hill. Then later in the 2nd half, after benefitting from a Adam Jones punt return, Dalton threw a dart to AJ Green for his 2nd TD. The throw was perfect. But surrounding that TD were some pretty awful plays. Now the ugly. In the first half, Dalton almost threw two interceptions. First, he threw a deep ball to AJ Green on a 9 route, and the defender outfought Green for position and almost came down with it. At the end of the half, Dalton had a pass tipped at the line, and it was almost intercepted. In the 2nd half, after leading the team to a TD, he threw a bad interception on the next drive. He tried to hit Sanu over the middle, and the defender undercut the deep route and stepped in front of Sanu for the INT. On the next drive, Dalton got hit on the arm, and almost fumbled, but it was ruled an incomplete pass. He was quite careless with the ball. This carelessness cost him two series later. Dalton kind of tried to just sling it out to his RB, and somehow threw it into the back of one of his linemen. The ball ricocheted right into the hands of Jacksonville for an ugly interception. Dalton looked visibly shaken after that play. Even after Hill saved the game with the long TD run, Dalton looked frustrated. This makes two games in a row where the wheels started to come off in the 2nd half for Dalton. Now he gets a night game against Cleveland. The fans started to boo Dalton in the 2nd half after his 2nd INT. Right now the AFC North is a dogfight. Andy Dalton's career could be defined over the 2nd half of this season. If he collapses, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Bengals begin to look in a different direction. The frustrating thing for the Bengals and for fantasy owners of Dalton, is that he can look so good at times. With AJ back, and with the impending return of Gio and Eifert, this offense should be explosive. But Dalton has to stop shooting himself in the foot. His accuracy must improve, or he won't remain the QB of this offense. The time for excuses are over. The 2nd half of this season is an audition for his future with Cincy.
2014 Week 10 vs CLE (10 / 33 / 86 / 0 / 3 pass, 3 / 8 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton had one of the worst QB performances in recent memory on Thursday night, completing just 10/33 passes and throwing three interceptions. While Cleveland's defense put up a strong showing, much of Dalton's struggles appeared to be due to his own poor play. Dalton's protection began to deteriorate as the game went on as it appeared that his offense became more and more demoralized. The Bengals ran the ball somewhat effectively early on, but Dalton continuously failed to keep drives going by throwing wildly inaccurate passes to his receivers on a regular basis. As a result, the Bengals fell behind 17-3 at halftime. Dalton's woes began on his first possession, where after three strong runs from rookie RB Jeremy Hill led to a first down, Dalton tossed a head scratching pick on a short pass to Jermaine Gresham with a linebacker standing directly in front of his huge target. Despite Dalton's ineptness in moving the ball, Cincinnati was never completely out of the game, and Dalton had plenty of opportunities to get drives going. But Dalton was unable to complete any passes down the field, setting the Bengals up with long third downs on nearly every possession. Dalton's 10 completions were almost entirely checkdowns and passes under 10 yards. His lone highlight of the game came on a nice seam route run by Sanu who nearly executed a beautiful one-handed catch while getting mugged and drawing a PI penalty. With the Bengals now in the redzone, Dalton threw multiple incompletions, including a pass where he was at least five yards beyond the LOS that got called for an illegal forward pass and Cincinnati had to settle for a field goal. The Bengals would never threaten to score again. Dalton's two other interceptions came in the fourth quarter with the Bengals down 24-3, but he could have thrown at least one more ball that was dropped by the Cleveland secondary. There really is nowhere to go but up from here for Dalton.
2014 Week 11 vs NO (16 / 22 / 220 / 3 / 0 pass, 5 / 12 / 0 rush)
One week after one of the worst quarterbacking performances we've seen in a long time, Andy Dalton and Cincinnati went on the road to face Drew Brees and the Saints. Dalton turned in his best game of the season, throwing 3 td's, playing flawless football, and getting a huge win for Cincinnati. Dalton looked very calm and poised. His passes were on the money as well. The Bengals had a number of long drives and only punted twice in the game. On each drive, Dalton made huge 3rd down conversions. On the first drive he hit Wright for 8 yards on 3rd and 8. Dalton finished the drive with a pass to Gresham near the goalline that Gresham fumbled but got back in the endzone. On the next drive, Dalton hit AJ on 3rd and 2 for a short comeback route. Then he fired a pass to AJ in the endzone but the ball just grazed the ground and was ruled incomplete. The Bengals settled for a field goal. In the 2nd half, Dalton threw a nice pass to Sanu on 3rd down that was dropped by Sanu. On the next possession, he made another big 3rd down throw while under heavy pressure. He scrambled to the outside and hit Burkhead coming out of the backfield to get the conversion. Then he finished the drive with a nice playaction pass to Gresham rolling off a block for another TD. As the 4th quarter began, Dalton quickly erased any thoughts of another collapse by leading the Bengals on a huge TD drive. Facing a 3rd and 18 deep in his own territory, Dalton threw a deep 38 yard bomb to Green down the right sideline. The throw was picture perfect. After a slant pass to Green for another first, he then threw a 24 yard lob right into AJ's hands for the Bengals final TD. In this particular game, Dalton was perfect. He made no mistakes, made big plays, was extremely accurate, and led the Bengals to a huge win.
2014 Week 12 vs HOU (24 / 35 / 233 / 1 / 1 pass, 7 / 6 / 0 rush)
With a healthy AJ Green, Andy Dalton started the game off looking like the Andy Dalton of 2013. The offense was moving fast, Dalton was throwing darts to AJ Green, and the Bengals were moving the ball down the field. In the first half, Dalton threw a short pass to Mohamed Sanu for a 6 yard TD, and the Bengals seemed in control. Just when it seemed as if the Bengals would completely take over the game, Dalton made a horrific mistake. He got blitzed and threw a lackluster pass toward AJ Green on the right sideline. Jonathan Joseph stepped in front of it, intercepted it and ran it back for a TD. After that, Dalton's next drive looked horrible and it seemed as if he might fall apart. But he rebounded enough to at least get the Bengals into position to kick 2 2nd half field goals that ultimately got the Bengals the victory. But the Andy Dalton we saw in the first half is the type of QB that the Bengals want him to be. He made quick decisions, got the ball to his receivers quickly and accurately, and rarely let the ball hit the ground. For Dalton the problems are upstairs. When he makes a mistake, as most QB's do, he struggles to overcome it. Once he threw the interception, he never seemed as crisp and in control as he was in the first half. Overcoming mistakes is the area Andy Dalton needs to improve on if he wants to take that next step.
2014 Week 13 vs TB (19 / 27 / 176 / 1 / 3 pass, 3 / 7 / 1 rush)
Supposedly, Andy Dalton was really sick Saturday night. Whether this was the reason for his horrible first half is debatable. But the first half was truly dismal for Dalton. His 3 int's killed any momentum that Cincy could gain, as all 3 were horrible throws. He started his INT-fest on his first throw of the game. He threw it way behind AJ Green and right into the hands of the Tampa Bay defender. A few series later, Dalton's arm was hit and he threw a duck that was almost intercepted. On the next possession, Dalton got the Bengals down to the Bucs 20 yard line. Then he threw it up into double coverage to Green in the endzone. The cornerback had position on Green and easily intercepted the ball, which never should have been thrown. Dalton did respond with a 2nd quarter scoring drive, that he capped off with a short run on a QB keeper. But ironically, the best passing play of that drive came on a Mohamed Sanu flea flicker. The Bengals got Dalton the ball just before the 2nd half began and Dalton had a chance to get the Bengals a field goal. He responded by throwing a duck off his back foot right to a defender for a horribly ugly interception. But despite all the interceptions, Tampa Bay really didn't capitalize on any of them. This kept the Bengals in the game and gave Dalton a chance to have a big second half. What magic the Bengals coaching staff did at halftime, we'll never know. But he actually played very well in the 2nd half. AJ Green dropped a pass to end a drive on the Bengals first possession of the 2nd half. Then Dalton drove the Bengals for a TD on their next possession. He capped off a nice drive with a perfect pass to Green in the endzone. Green leapt into the air, caught the pass and gave the Bengals the lead. Later on, Dalton threw a bullet to Sanu on 3rd and 16 right at the first down marker on a slant pass, but Sanu dropped it. On the next possession, Dalton was faced with a 3rd and 11, and he pump faked the defender and then hit Wright down the sideline for 30 huge yards that flipped the field position and ultimately won the game. Dalton's up-and-down season continues. The Bengals won a huge game in a week where the rest of their division lost. The defense deserves most of the credit, but Dalton did have a nice second half, rebounding to help the Bengals get a big victory.
2014 Week 14 vs PIT (21 / 29 / 302 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 22 / 1 rush)
Dalton played a flawless game, until the 4th quarter. In the 4th, Dalton mismanaged a fake handoff to Jeremy Hill, fumbled the ball and started the 4th quarter avalanche that lead to a Steelers blowout. Aside from that one mistake, however, he played a great game. Dalton started the game by focusing his attention on AJ Green in the short passing game. The two could not be stopped, as the Steelers had no answer for Green on the short passes. Ultimately, the Bengals were setting up the Steelers and Dalton connected with Green for two deep balls. On the first, Dalton didn't get everything on it, but it was still a really good pass that Green caught and ran for 56 yards. In the 2nd half, Dalton went back to Green on short yardage, and then again fired a deep ball on the final play of the third quarter. This was probably the best deep ball Dalton has ever thrown to Green. It was thrown very well, hit Green in stride, and went for an 81 yard TD that put the Bengals ahead going into the 4th quarter and looked like a turning point in the game. But the 4th quarter was a disaster. First, Dalton's fumble led to a quick TD for the Steelers. On the next series, a penalty put the Bengals in long yardage and resulted in a punt. Roethlisberger immediately countered with a 94 yard TD. Then on the next drive, Dalton threw a strike to Sanu on the sideline about 20 yards upfield, but Sanu dropped the ball and Dalton was drilled by a defender. Dalton returned a play later, but the drop ultimately killed the drive. Dalton's turnover was crucial, but his defense completely laid down in the 4th quarter. Dalton had a big first half, throwing the ball well and even showing surprising speed on his 20 yard QB keeper that went for a 2nd quarter TD. But ultimately it was a disappointing day at home for Dalton and the Bengals. You can't help but think that the next month is going to ultimately decide Dalton's future in Cincinnati.
2014 Week 15 vs CLE (14 / 24 / 117 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton had a pretty awful game. Fortunately for him, his oline and running backs were amazing. On the second possession, Dalton threw an errant deep ball to Green that should have been intercepted. Then a few plays later, Sanu broke free in the endzone on a fade, but Dalton overthrew him. Then on the next possession, Dalton just threw it up off his back foot, and was very fortunate that he didn't throw another int. Dalton played with fire too long, though, and finally threw an int late in the 2nd quarter. His TE broke free downfield, and Dalton never saw a linebacker sitting on the route. The lob was intercepted, which is a shame because a deeper throw would have gone for a TD. Dalton didn't really need to throw in the second half, as the team was up big, and the Bengals relied on the running game to pound out an impressive win. But in this game, at least, the win really had nothing to do with Dalton. He played poorly on the limited opportunities he had. The biggest question for Dalton is why he rarely looks at Sanu anymore. He focuses on Green, and if Green isn't open, he drops it off to a running back or a short pass. The Bengals won this game impressively, but Dalton really didn't need to have a poor game a week before he gets another big Monday Night matchup.
2014 Week 16 vs DEN (17 / 26 / 146 / 2 / 1 pass, 6 / 25 / 0 rush)
Another primetime disaster for Andy Dalton? That has certainly been the story throughout his career. Dalton's struggles in primetime and in the playoffs has caused a lot of scrutiny in social media. But why does he struggle? The answer to anyone that watches him regularly is easy. It's in his head. On a normal Sunday afternoon, Dalton is usually a relatively accurate QB. He obviously throws a few int's, but who doesn't? At night, it's as if he can't do anything right. The first half was no different. On the first drive, Dalton threw a miserable pass over the head of AJ Green, which led to two disastrous results. The first bad result was that Aqib Talib intercepted the pass and ran it back for a touchdown. The second disaster was that the Broncos unloaded on AJ Green and hit him hard right on the arm. So with one throw, Dalton had about as bad of a start as you can possibly imagine, and the crowd let him know it. But then came Jeremy Hill's 85 yard run, and an inspired performance by the defense. Dalton got going a little bit. After a Bengals int and a short field, Dalton had a few scrambles to get the Bengals down to the goalline. Then after a playaction, Dalton rolled out to his right and made his only good first half throw, tossing a lob into the corner of the endzone to Jermaine Gresham for a TD. Late in the first half, Dalton tried to throw it all away again on a drive that resulted in a field goal. First, he threw a deep ball towards Sanzenbacher in double coverage. The ball was horribly thrown as Sanzenbacher had absolutely no chance at the ball. Talib should have intercepted the ball. Then on the very next pass, Dalton threw it a foot or so over Green's head and should have thrown yet another int. Drops by the Broncos secondary were the only thing keeping Dalton from having 2 first half interceptions. Dalton got another break as the 2nd half started. Adam Jones took a kickoff down to the 20 and got the Bengals in the redzone. Dalton then threw a little short pass over the middle to Gio and Gio ran past the linebacker and walked into the endzone. Dalton got his 2nd TD of the game, but the play was made by Gio. Once the Bengals got a bit of a lead, they got ultra conservative. Without a healthy AJ Green, the coaching staff got ultra conservative. It seemed like a scenario doomed to failure, but the defense continued to bail out the Bengals the entire game. You can count on one hand the number of positive passes Andy Dalton made in this game. In the 2nd half he almost threw an ugly int when he threw it over AJ's head again. Sanu could also be seen gesturing to Dalton on the sideline after he continued to fail to get the ball to Sanu. The Bengals won a huge game. The confidence on the team has to be high But Dalton honestly doesn't deserve any credit in this game, as he didn't make many plays. What Bengals fans have to hope is that the Bengals winning this big game will somehow help Dalton's confidence in the future and allow him to play better as the playoffs approach. We'll get a good idea if this is the case next week in Pittsburgh.
2014 Week 17 vs PIT (27 / 38 / 244 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 8 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton continues to serve up duds at night, which don't do anything for his future as the QB of Cincinnati. A glance at the box score shows an average day, as he threw a couple TD's. But it was his interceptions and mistakes that stole the show, again. Dalton's interceptions were just ugly. On the first one, he threw a deep ball to Green that Green gave up on, likely because it was severely overthrown. The announcers tried to lay some blame on Green, but from the replays it looked like Green never had a chance. Throwing a ball up in the air in double coverage is a bad idea, even if Green was the target. His next interception was another pass to Green over the middle that completely sailed on him, was deflected by AJ and ended up being intercepted. There was no excuse for that pass. It was a normal pass over the middle, and Dalton's inaccuracy caused the int. Dalton used to get a lot of flack for his arm strength. But his arm strength just isn't the problem. His problem is inaccuracy, inconsistency and bad decision-making. At times, Dalton plays well. He's athletic and can make plays happen with his legs. On his first TD, Dalton was under pressure, scrambled outside of the pocket and threw a shovel pass to Gio Bernard who was cutting across the field. Dalton's second TD was just a short pass to Gresham, but he did make a few nice throws, and led the Bengals on some decent TD drive. His problem is the maddening inconsistency. Just when you think he might be over the hump, he makes a really bad play. Honestly, in the 2nd half, Dalton wasn't horrific. One of the turnovers was an AJ Green fumble after a Dalton strike across the middle. Although there is one playoff game to be played, it's difficult to be optimistic if you are a Bengals fan. Andy Dalton and the Bengals seemed destined to lose in the playoffs, again. Dalton hasn't shed his issues in primetime, and there is little to suggest that he is on his way to making a playoff run. If the Bengals do advance, it will be due to the running game and the defense. As for Dalton, the off-season will be full of unhappiness in Cincinnati. Ironically, Dalton's best path to success in the NFL would be to follow a path similar to Carson Palmer. Tutelage under a QB guru like Bruce Arians could help. Stopping the dumb throws, fixing the inconsistency and inaccuracy would also be quite helpful.
2014 Week 18 vs IND (18 / 35 / 155 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / 34 / 0 rush)
Facing his fourth playoff game and another long summer of criticism if he put up another stinker, Andy Dalton came out and played pretty well in the first quarter. He made 3 solid throws, helping lead Cincinnati down the field for a first quarter touchdown. Jeremy Hill finished the TD drive with a short TD and Dalton's confidence should have been pretty high. But Dalton had a few things going against him. He had a receiving corps that created zero separation for most of the day. He tried things, such as a deep ball to Little in the 2nd quarter. But Little isn't a very good WR and seemed to misjudge the ball. Dalton had another miscommunication with Sanu on 3rd and 4 late in the 2nd quarter on a deep ball down the left sideline. Sanu seemed to be expecting a back shoulder pass and the ball went over his head. The second problem Dalton had was a gameplan that didn't include the best offensive players, Gio and Hill. In the 2nd half, things got dreadful for Dalton. The Bengals started the 2nd half with 4 three-and-outs and after getting one first down on their 5th drive, had another 3-and-out. There were batted passes, 2 passes that were almost intercepted, errant throws, and throws into tight coverage. However, as easy as it is to ridicule Dalton for another poor performance, this was without question the worst receiving corps he has ever had to throw to, in any game in his career. He didn't even have Jermaine Gresham, who at the least has been able to help move the sticks in the short passing game. The Colts had no issues with the receivers of Cincy, and the Bengals were punchless in the second half. The Bengals face a tough offseason. Selling the fanbase on Dalton after four playoff losses is going to be tough. But finding a good qb might be tougher as they don't grow on trees.
2013 Week 1 vs CHI (26 / 33 / 282 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton made a huge statement in today's game. He has a bunch of young and improving weapons, and he made the most of them. Unfortunately, he was undone by a trio of big mistakes. On the first drive, Dalton threw a curl route to AJ Green. Peanut Tillman made a very aggressive move and came back to the ball, getting the INT. You can't put the blame solely on Dalton here. He should have noticed the tight coverage, but AJ Green didn't fight at all for the ball. Also, you just have to give credit to Tillman. He made a great play. Dalton responded by playing flawlessly the rest of the first half. He consistently hit the open receiver, moved the chain and made accurate throws. In the first half, he threw a deep ball to Green, and this time Green got the better of Tillman coming down with a long gain down the right sideline. Dalton was then victimized by a gaffe from Green. He threw a strike across the middle on a slant pass, and Green just couldn't make the reception, as the pass bounced off his hands and right into Tillman's hands for his second INT of the game. This INT was 100% AJ's fault, as the pass was on the money. Dalton rebounded and then late in the first half, Dalton made two amazing throws to AJ Green. On the first, Dalton was deep in his own territory, all the way on the right hash. He threw a deep out to the LEFT sideline between two defenders to AJ Green for a 21 yard first down. Arm strength problems? Nowhere to be seen. It was a bigtime NFL throw. Then a few plays later, he froze the cornerback (Jennings, not Tillman) with a beautiful pump-fake, and threw a bomb down the sideline into the hands of AJ Green for a 45 yard TD. As the second half opened, Dalton led a long 7 minute drive culminating in a Green-Ellis TD. Dalton almost had a 3rd deep ball to Green on the drive, as he threw another bomb right into Green's arms in the endzone. However, Tillman was called for interference, so Dalton didn't get a TD or the yardage. But the throw was on the money again. On Dalton's final three drives, however, they were unable to get points. Two big mistakes did the offense in. On the first drive, a holding penalty set the Bengals too far back, and they were unable to convert. On the second drive, Sanu caught a pass from Dalton and fumbled the ball as he tried to make a move. This was the game-altering mistake, as Sanu crossed into the redzone right as he fumbled. The Bears promptly went down the field and scored a go-ahead TD. Then on the final drive, Dalton was under heavy pressure and took his first sack of the game. Amazingly the Bears offense then closed the game out with a game closing 6:38 drive and Dalton never saw the field again. Dalton played tremendous in this one, and it appears he is well on his way to elite QB status.
2013 Week 2 vs PIT (25 / 45 / 280 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 10 / 0 rush)
Dalton's history against Dick LeBeau and the Steelers has not been pretty. As we progressed through the first half, things were looking bad for Dalton. On the first drive, he completely overthrew everyone. He threw a deep ball to AJ Green that was in the wrong spot, although it appears the fault lied with Green. At least four times, Dalton had wide open receivers, and just completely missed them. As the game went to halftime, anyone that turned the game off was left with the impression that this was the same old Andy Dalton, struggling against a bigtime defense. There is one first-half play that needs to be highlighted, though. On his long first-half toss to Tyler Eifert, Dalton was lasered in on Sanu the entire time, and even pump-faked in his direction. The Steelers were cognizant of the fact that Dalton stared down his receivers last year and had FOUR MEN guarding Sanu. Then Dalton switched over and hit a wide open Eifert down the center of the field. This type of progression from Dalton is what you hope to see. In the second half, Dalton had over a 120 QB rating. He settled down and let his playmakers make plays. Perhaps part of the reason for this was that an obvious adjustment was made to the run/pass ratio, and the Bengals relied on the run a bit more in the second half. On the second drive, Dalton had three big passes that put the Bengals ahead for good. First he hit Gresham on a quick slant pass, and Gresham rumbled 26 yards for a first down. Then, under heavy pressure he quickly tossed the ball over the incoming defenders hands to Gresham for an 8 yard gain that saved the Bengals from a sack. Then on the next play he dumped it off over the middle to Giovani Bernard, who used his speed to elude two defenders and fly into the endzone for a 27 yard TD. A 10 yard holding penalty derailed the next drive, and then Dalton calmly led the Bengals down for a field goal on a long six and a half minute drive to begin the fourth quarter. However, Dalton's propensity for getting passes knocked down bit him as a pass to AJ Green in the endzone was hit by a defender on the line. Dalton needs to continue to work on not telegraphing where he is going with the ball. He made strides in this game, but he's still a work in progress. Then on the final drive, Dalton simply handed off to Green-Ellis 9 straight times to close out the game, not recording a single pass. Overall, Dalton was solid and efficient in the second half. In the end, Dalton didn't turn the ball over, although he may have gotten a bit lucky, as his overthrows in the first half surprisingly didn't come back to harm his team. But in the second, he put the ball in the right spot and let his playmakers make plays. He still needs to work on his tendency to focus on AJ Green. If Sanu is going to be the receiver to take pressure off Green, Dalton has to look his way more. On the long drive that ended in a field goal, Dalton had four incompletions to Green. If he can continue to get his other playmakers involved, things will open up for AJ and Dalton will lead his team on more touchdown drives. Green was targeted fourteen times, despite heavy attention from the defense. Sometimes it is ok to allow your primary receiver to just be a decoy, and Dalton needs to do a better job of looking away from Green when he draws heavy coverage.
2013 Week 3 vs GB (20 / 28 / 235 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
After getting the monkey off his back in a win against the Steelers, Dalton had the perfect opportunity to prove that he, and the Bengals, were ready to take the leap. A battle with Aaron Rodgers promised to be exciting. On the first drive, Dalton worked the short passing game well, and led the Bengals straight down the field for a TD. After a gift turnover from the Packers gave the Bengals another TD, Dalton now had a 14-0 lead and the pressure melted away. Unfortunately, Dalton and the entire offense then fell apart. The offense committed four straight turnovers on four straight possessions. Dalton was responsible for two. On the first, Dalton tried to force the ball on the edge to AJ Green, and Shields ripped it away for an INT. It was a poor decision and a poor throw. His second turnover happened during a scramble to get away from heavy pressure. Dalton escaped one defender, only to get stripped and lose another fumble. For the majority of the first half, Dalton looked shaky, out of sync with his receivers, and nervous. The Packers were bringing heavy pressure, and Dalton couldn't seem to get anything going late in the half, even after the turnovers mercifully stopped happening. However, the Cincinnati defense kept them in the game, continually holding the Packers out of the endzone and somehow keeping it to a 16-14 game at the half. After Green Bay drove for an opening 2nd half TD, the pressure was on Dalton. This time he responded as he hit Eifert on a slant pass, threw a nice sideline toss to AJ, and then threw a slant to Sanu that went for a long gain. Unfortunately that drive stalled as well due to a dropped pass and the Packers added another field goal. Dalton responded with two big drives that kept hope alive. He hit Marvin Jones across the middle, threw a pass to AJ on the sideline that also drew a 15 yard penalty, and then finished the drive with a beautiful 20 yard toss over Shields right into the hands of AJ Green for a TD. Then 2 series later, Dalton again goes after the cornerbacks, using intermediate routes to hit Marvin Jones and AJ Green to work the ball down the field. Then after a great end-zone fake by Marvin Jones, Dalton floated the ball right into the hands of Jones, who had left the defender in stitches, pulling the Bengals to within one score. The Bengals then proceeded to win the game with a huge defensive TD and Dalton & company would go out with a win. However, you have to be concerned with the consistency. Green Bay did bring heavy pressure in this game, and at times it affected Dalton. He doesn't seem to have that security blanket to throw to when he's under heat, and as a result, he had a very inconsistent day. Also, if the defense had been anything but spectacular in the first half, this game would have been a total blow-out and Dalton would be facing heat this week. But credit must be given where credit is due. Dalton led two big scoring drives and ultimately outplayed Aaron Rodgers, who made critical mistakes in the fourth quarter, while Dalton didn't. Now can we see Dalton build off of this big win and put together a great all-around game next week?
2013 Week 4 vs CLE (23 / 42 / 206 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / 13 / 0 rush)
One week after beating Aaron Rodgers in a shootout, Dalton reverts and loses to Brian Hoyer and Cleveland. To be fair, Cleveland's defense is playing amazing, and Joe Haden shut down AJ Green. But Dalton did not bring his A game against this tough defense. He was erratic, he missed opportunities, he fumbled the ball and he threw an interception. Amazingly, Cleveland's offense did a solid job of controlling clock, and so the opportunities weren't numerous either. In a close physical game, you have to take advantage of opportunities. In the first half, a designed flea flicker allowed Sanu to get behind the defense, but Dalton underthrew the ball. A strike gets a TD. Sanu drew the PI, but the Bengals couldn't convert a 4th and 1 and the drive stalled. Towards the end of the first half, Green finally drew a matchup with Skrine instead of Haden. He smoked Skrine and broke free, and Dalton pitched it over his head. In the third quarter, the Bengals started moving the ball and converted two first downs. Then Dalton was sacked, and lost the ball. Then down 17-6, Dalton threw an errant pass, which was tipped and intercepted, ending another drive. The bottom line is that Dalton is surrounded by play-makers. Yes, the defense was great, and Haden played Green tough. But Dalton missed two huge opportunities and made two big mistakes. He also had 3-4 other balls that were just thrown poorly that damaged promising drives. In a physical game like this, you can't make these mistakes. This offensive output falls squarely on his shoulders.
2013 Week 5 vs NE (20 / 27 / 212 / 0 / 1 pass, 6 / 25 / 0 rush)
Dalton's fantasy owners are probably thinking about cutting bait as they look at the low production that Dalton had on Sunday against the Patriots. However, Dalton has to be held onto after this week. Once again, Dalton has provided us with another Sunday full of question marks, some of them good and some of them bad. First of all, the bad. Dalton only led the Bengals to 13 points, and had a first half INT that looked like something an undrafted free agent would throw. After a solid drive to lead the Bengals inside the 20, Dalton was pressured and rolled toward the sideline. Instead of throwing it away, he turned and threw the ball across his body and into the center of the field for an interception. That rookie mistake killed a good drive. But Dalton rebounded. His next drive, he promptly worked the short passing game to perfection, leading the Bengals back down the field, before taking a sack that ended the drive. However, a field goal provided some crucial points in this close contest. After a clock-killing run drive to try and close out the 1st half, Dalton opened the second half with three incompletions and a really ugly drive.On his next drive, he hit Green, Eifert and Sanu, each with solid gains, and then was sacked, which ended the momentum and caused a punt. However, on his next drive, Dalton put it all together. After taking a sack to bury the Bengals at their own 2, Dalton fired a deep ball down the left sideline into the arms of a leaping Marvin Jones. After Giovani Bernard put the Bengals in Pats territory, Dalton completed three passes to Eifert and Green, and then watched as BJGE closed out the drive with 3 runs inside the 5 yard line for the TD. The drive was 7 minutes long, and went for 98 yards. After that, Dalton only had one pass, but it was big. Faced with a 3rd down in clock-killing mode, Dalton was under pressure and just got it off to Bernard for a huge first down which kept the chains moving. Once again, Dalton defeats a bigtime QB, in Tom Brady. In this game, the OC called a lot of running plays, and the team was in "running mode" for much of the 4th quarter. Also, the Patriots used a lot of clock themselves, which shortened the opportunities for Dalton. Overall, aside from Dalton's bad turnover, he played solid, he used his receivers and tight ends well, and he helped the Bengals knock off the undefeated Patriots. Aqib Talib did a great job on AJ Green, and Dalton did a nice job of not forcing the ball to Green and spreading it around. Dalton was in "game manager" mode for much of the game, but he played the role well, and won the slugfest. Hopefully now that Dalton's schedule gets easier, he can finally start putting up some big numbers. This was a big win for him against a bigtime opponent.
2013 Week 6 vs BUF (26 / 40 / 337 / 3 / 1 pass, 7 / 17 / 0 rush)
After beating some really good QB's in less than convincing fashion, Andy Dalton needed a big game to answer the critics who seem to be getting more and more vocal. Dalton responded with a solid game against Buffalo, leading Cincinnati to a much needed win. Dalton was calm and poised, and for the most part made very good decisions. He led his team to a big lead and in range for a field goal that would have put the game away, but a missed field goal allowed room for Buffalo to come back. Dalton threw a lot of short screens in this game, which was a great decision by Jay Gruden, because many of them worked. An early screen led to a 50+ yard gain. His first TD came on a short shovel pass to Bernard, who worked magic to get into the endzone. Then in the 2nd half, Dalton threw a lob pass to AJ Green, who jumped high in the air, and came down with a big 18 yard TD. But Dalton then made a big mistake towards the end of the first half. He stared down AJ Green as the Bengals were driving for another score, and threw a nasty INT inside Buffalo's 25 yard line, ending a nice drive and keeping Buffalo alive. As costly as this was, however, it was Dalton's only mistake of the day. At the start of the third quarter, Dalton led the Bengals on a drive, ending in a pass to Marvin Jones for his third TD of the day. Then later on in the third, Dalton led the Bengals on a beautiful 8 minute drive, in which he spread the ball around and even converted a 4th and 15 throw downfield to Sanzenbacher. However, when the drive stalled deep in Buffalo territory, a missed field goal ended what would likely have been a game-clinching drive, and gave Buffalo a chance. Dalton had one more chance to try and put the game away late in the fourth, but a 3rd down throw to Gresham was dropped right at the first down marker, and the Bengals had to punt, and ultimately gave up the game tying TD. In overtime, Dalton started hot, hitting Green across the middle, throwing a screen pass to Sanu for a first, and then hitting Bernard on a screen pass for a long gain. But a sack ended the promising drive, and the Bengals punted. The Bengals ultimately won the game, and Dalton was a big reason they won. Aside from his one mistake, Dalton did a great job of spreading the ball around. The Bengals tried to throw a number of short passes, to get Dalton's confidence back up. This was a good decision, as there is no reason for Dalton to need to do anything special. The offense has a ton of play-makers and he just needs to get it into their hands.
2013 Week 7 vs DET (24 / 34 / 372 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
For the most part, Dalton was tremendous in a road game against a fired up defense. Once again, he defeats a bigtime QB and leads the Bengals to another big win. Dalton has a ton of weapons, and he's doing a great job of spreading the ball around to all of them. He obviously made good use of AJ Green, hitting him on an 82 yard bomb to open the game for Cincy. Dalton drove the team down the field late in the 2nd quarter and threw a beautiful lob pass to Marvin Jones, who leapt high in the air and made a great catch. In the 2nd half, Dalton got the tight ends heavily involved, throwing to Gresham for two long throws down the seams, and throwing a lob to Eifert in the endzone, and allowing the big tight end to make a play on the ball. Dalton took care of the ball, didn't turn the ball over, and threw for a ton of yards, as the running game wasn't working. On the final drive, he threw two short passes and put his team in position to kick a field goal, which gave the Bengals the win. However, Dalton is getting a lot of flack today because of three throws. All of them were bombs to AJ Green. The first was on the 82-yard TD. Green smoked the defender and Dalton didn't throw it quite far enough. Green adjusted, caught the ball, broke a tackle, and then scored. But a longer throw, and he goes untouched. In the fourth quarter, the Bengals found themselves in a dogfight. AJ Green got open down the right sideline and Dalton again hung the ball in the air, causing Green to interfere with the defender and get called for offensive pass interference. Then two plays later, Green made a beautiful move in the open field, got wide open deep downfield, and Dalton AGAIN underthrew it, causing the ball to be tipped away. We know that Dalton does not throw a great deep ball. This is a limitation. But he is making great decisions right now, and he was extremely accurate within 20-30 yards. He had no problem looking deep downfield in this game either, as he hit Jones, Gresham and Eifert for long gains, as well as the 80+ yard touchdown. At this point, any negativity towards Dalton should be shelved. If he keeps playing like this, he'll be a QB1 in no time. Yes, it would be great if he could launch it 60 yards downfield, but he just doesn't have that type of arm. With the weapons on this team, he can still be successful either way.
2013 Week 8 vs NYJ (19 / 30 / 325 / 5 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After a week in which Dalton was caught a bit of criticism for failing to connect with AJ Green on a number of deep balls, he came out against the Jets and put on a clinic. Dalton threw one INT, which in reality was a great play on a screen pass by Wilkerson. Other than that, he played perfect. Finally Dalton has decided to put faith in his other receivers, most notably Marvin Jones. Dalton was flawless in the redzone, throwing five redzone TD's. The last few weeks, Dalton has really become hard to stop in the short passing game. He knows this offense, and his receivers are learning where to be. But it wasn't just the short passing game where Dalton excelled. On his first drive, he threw a deep ball to Sanu, and although it was on his fingertips, Sanu should have made the play. Then he threw Sanu another deep ball and drew a pass interference penalty. On the 3rd drive, Dalton threw a deep ball to AJ Green, and Green made a great play on the ball, which was thrown right in stride. Late in the first half, Dalton threw a lob down the left sideline right in the hands of Sanu for a 24 yard gain. Then in the 2nd half, Dalton threw a deep ball to Green right in stride, and Green dropped it. Finally, on Dalton's final drive in the third quarter, he hit a wide open AJ Green down the middle of the field for a 53 yard gain. If you only watched this game, and knew nothing of these players, you'd think Dalton was one of the top 2 or 3 QB's in the league. The truth is that over the past few weeks, he's taken major strides. Dalton has finally learned to stop focusing on Green. In beating Brady, Stafford and Rodgers, Dalton's confidence is sky-high and now he's throwing crazy numbers on the scoreboard. At this point it looks like Dalton and this offense are making the leap.
2013 Week 9 vs MIA (32 / 53 / 338 / 0 / 3 pass, 5 / 12 / 0 rush)
After a poor performance earlier this year in primetime, Dalton was hoping to finally play well on the national stage and erase some of the doubts. After this performance, the doubters aren't going away. Dalton threw three interceptions and was sacked in the endzone for a safety to end the game. In reality, Dalton made three mistakes for the entire game. The first two interceptions were carbon copies of each other. Sideline out patterns that Dalton threw way too far inside. On the first INT, it looked like Green possibly could have fought a little harder for the ball, but the fault definitely lies with Dalton there. The second throw was even worse. Dalton's final interception was Sanu's fault. Dalton threw a deep ball right between two defenders, and Sanu couldn't make the catch and tipped the ball right into the hands of the defender. For the rest of the game, Dalton actually played well. The Bengals moved the ball at will on the Dolphins. After a ridiculous first series where they let Green-Ellis run the ball three times for 9 yards, they opened things up and Dalton responded. However two things worked against him. First, he was missing his LT Whitworth, and the Dolphins did a good job of getting pressure and sacking him a few times. Second, he had a couple crucial drops that ended nice drives. For instance, on the 3rd drive, Dalton threw an out pattern to Green who was wide open. Green dropped the sure-fire first down, ending the drive. That kind of mistake is almost as bad as an INT, as it ends a drive. In overtime, Dalton threw an out pattern on 2nd down that Sanu dropped, that potentially could have given the Bengals about a 50 yard field goal, instead of the 57 yarder that Marvin Lewis passed up. Dalton's pick 6 was a horrible throw, and put the Bengals in a 17-3 hole. But you have to give credit to Dalton for putting his team on top 20-17 with about a minute to go. He made big throws over and over after that pick 6, and put his team into position to win. After the defense failed to hold, he drove his team down into field goal range in overtime, but Sanu dropped the ball and Lewis elected not to kick the field goal. In the end, Dalton threw for 338 yards and looked good for much of the game. But he made some crucial mistakes that were his undoing. He still looks to be in control of the offense, but if he wants to be taken serious as a bigtime QB, he needs to stop turning the ball over and start playing more consistent.
2013 Week 10 vs BAL (24 / 51 / 274 / 2 / 3 pass, 6 / 22 / 0 rush)
Dalton has had a season of ups and downs, but this was his low point. He was just pathetic in this game. His one shining moment was a lucky bounce off of a hail mary that sent the game into overtime. But really, Dalton didn't have a lot to do with the success of that play. Dalton's other deep ball to AJ Green was only caught because of a great physical play by Green to jump high, tap it in the air, and grab it on the tip. Now make no mistake, the Ravens played GREAT. Dalton was under heavy pressure, and the cornerbacks were man-handling the receivers for Cincinnati for much of the game. The pressure and tight coverage knocked Dalton out of his game, and he never looked comfortable. Not only did he throw 3 interceptions, he threw 2 other balls that could have easily been intercepted but were dropped. Dalton had a delay of game penalty on the 2nd drive, he had a number of passes batted at the line, and just couldn't get anything positive going. He was sacked five times, his throws didn't have enough juice on them, and he looked visibly shaken. Yet through all that, Dalton led the Bengals to the point where they would have had a 50 yard field goal in overtime, and Marvin Lewis passed on the field goal for the 2nd game in a row. While the FG kicker did miss a field goal earlier in the game, if Lewis doesn't have confidence in his field goal kicker to allow him to kick a 50 yarder in overtime, then he needs a new field goal kicker. In the NFL, that's a very unusual decision, and one that backfired on him in two straight games. For Dalton, where does he go from here? Is this the beginning of the end for Dalton in Cincinnati? There aren't many Dalton fans left, despite his solid numbers. So far this year, Dalton has been a Jekyll and Hyde performer. Two weeks ago, he played a near-perfect game against the Jets. Against the Ravens, he played a horrible game. As the season winds into the final few weeks, can he get it together in time to get the ship righted? He certainly is going to be the QB for the rest of 2013. But if he chokes this thing away and plays this poorly over the next month, there will be a new QB in 2014.
2013 Week 11 vs CLE (13 / 27 / 93 / 3 / 2 pass, 4 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton has been on a downward trend over the last few weeks, and facing Joe Haden and the Browns isn't the recipe for a turn-around. After a first drive that was killed with a holding penalty and a 2nd drive that was stopped due to non-sensically pounding Green-Ellis into the line, Dalton proceeded to throw two interceptions to Joe Haden on two successive first quarter drives. On the first throw, he threw it way too far behind Green. Then on the 2nd int, Green ran an out, and Dalton threw it too far inside. Haden intercepted it and returned it for a TD. Dalton has really struggled to keep the ball outside on those type of routes. However, Dalton received a break from his defense and special teams. After the two interceptions, the Bengals offense took over on a short field two straight possessions. On the first possession, Dalton threw a nice lob to Gresham over his shoulder toward the sideline. Gresham caught the ball, fought three defenders, and got into the endzone for a 25 yd td. On the next possession, Dalton threw a high pass in the corner of the endzone, and Sanu jumped up and grabbed it out of the air. Then the Bengals proceeded to score two touchdowns, one on a punt block and one on a fumble return by Vontaze Burfict. By the time Dalton hit the field again, his team had a 28-13 lead. In the 2nd half, the rain was coming down hard, and the Bengals offense remained stagnant as it was for most of the day. The final Bengals scoring drive was all setup by the run, and Dalton simply threw a short pass to a wide open Alex Smith on a playaction pass. Give Dalton credit for three touchdown passes. In the NFL, connecting in the redzone is important. But Dalton's lack of arm strength and lack of confidence is beginning to show. A season that looked so promising is now a big question mark. Dalton is clearly the person who is holding back this offense, along with the Bengals stubborn refusal to give Bernard more touches.
2013 Week 13 vs SD (14 / 23 / 190 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 9 / 0 rush)
If Dalton was looking to hush the critics, this was a bad week for him. In the first half, the only successful offensive plays were on screen passes and rushes. Dalton's numbers were anemic. He threw a ball high across the middle to AJ Green and almost got him seriously injured. Later on he threw a deep ball to Green, and the throw was one of the ugliest deep balls you'll ever see. Eric Weddle caught it as if he was catching a wobbly punt. Whether the ball slipped out of Dalton's hands or whether Dalton didn't know Weddle was back there isn't clear, but the throw was horrendous. However, as he has done throughout this season, Dalton rebounded and played a decent second half, resulting in a win against a premier QB. In reality the defense and the running game should get the majority of the credit, as both were phenomenal. Dalton did have a couple big 2nd half plays though. He started out the 2nd throwing screens and short passes. Then after a nice drive, Dalton hit AJ Green wide open in the endzone for a TD. There was a busted coverage on the play, and it was an easy TD. Then on the next drive, Dalton threw a great deep slant pass to Hawkins, who caught the ball and ran for 50 yards. Dalton put it on a rope and it was without question his best throw of the day. However, he followed that up with a fade route to Marvin Jones that didn't lead him enough, and Jones was unable to come up with the ball in the endzone. Overall, Dalton had a very average day. He was the quintessential game manager in this one. Perhaps that is the plan that the Bengals have for this offense for the remainder of 2013. The defense is playing great, and with the way Dalton is playing, it might be a good idea.
2013 Week 14 vs IND (24 / 35 / 275 / 3 / 0 pass, 5 / 11 / 1 rush)
Add another name to the list of premier QB's that Dalton has beaten this year. Dalton was efficient, accurate and regained the form he had a month ago. He put the ball on the money, avoided making costly mistakes, and threw TD's in the redzone. The Colts are a good defense to play against when you need to bust out of a slump. Dalton busted out from the first drive and didn't look back. Of note is the number of times he threw deep and led his receiver. On the first drive, he threw a 29 yard lob into the back of the endzone where only Marvin Jones could get it. Instead of having to reach behind him (as receivers have been having to do over the past month), Dalton threw it long and let the receiver make a play. Dalton spread the ball around, hitting his receivers on quick screens, sideline passes, slants and then when he went over the top, he was quite effective. He did it on the aforementioned pass to Jones, and he also hit Jones again on a deep 29 yard pass down the left sideline. Then he finished things up with a lob to Green for a TD over the head of the defender for an easy 9 yard td. Dalton's final scoring play came on a rollout and then a run up the middle. The most remarkable thing about Dalton's day is that he played with passion, and whenever Luck made a big play and brought the Colts back, Dalton responded and led the team downfield for a TD. He never panicked, never forced things and led the ship. This offense could likely be a top 3 offense in the NFL if the QB played great, and when Dalton has played well, they've been pretty unstoppable. If Dalton can play like this for the remainder of the season, the Bengals will feel good about their future. At this point though, it's hard to know which Dalton is going to show up from week to week.
2013 Week 15 vs PIT (25 / 44 / 230 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 20 / 0 rush)
The Bengals fell into a quick hole against the Steelers. After an early 3 and out, the Steelers blocked a punt and took a 14-0 lead. Then the Bengals started at their own 8. After a penalty and a sack, the Bengals punted again and were quickly down 21-0. With the wind swirling, Dalton could never get anything going downfield. For the majority of the first half, the Steelers showed little respect for Dalton's deep ball. They played the receivers tight, and came after Dalton. Dalton had to scramble and run around, and he had nowhere to throw the ball. They finally picked up a touchdown after a nice return put the Bengals into Steeler territory. Dalton quickly hit Green across the middle for 19, and then Bernard led the way into the endzone with a few nice runs. In the second half, the Steelers began giving a little bit of cushion to the receivers. Dalton started working the sideline routes, but had nothing open downfield. In the second half, Dalton did a nice job of moving the ball, working the sidelines and trying anything he could to get the Bengals back into the game. The Steelers did a great job of shortening the game by keeping everything underneath. Dalton was plagued by a line that didn't do a great job of blocking, a heavy wind that kept him from throwing long balls with any accuracy, and he also had a few big dropped passes that ended drives. The defense and special teams also didn't do the Bengals any favors. Dalton certainly wasn't impressive, but he didn't make any major mistakes, and had a decent game despite tough conditions.
2013 Week 16 vs MIN (27 / 38 / 366 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
Dalton had one of his best games of the season, as he seems to have fully rebounded from the mid-season slump that plagued him. He got his throws off quick, he connected on a few deep balls, and most importantly he didn't turn the ball over. Dalton has just surpassed the 4k mark, the 30TD mark and his TD-INT ratio is nearly 2-1. When he has played flawless, as he did against the Vikings, the Bengals are nearly impossible to beat. Minnesota's cb's were no match for Green and Jones and Dalton exploited both of those matchups over and over. Dalton's first TD was a 29 yard lob right over Green's shoulder. The ball was placed beautifully. He then threw a high ball over the middle and right into the outstretched hands of Jermaine Gresham, who made a great play on the ball. Dalton did a nice job of spreading the ball around, not focusing on any one player, and putting a lot of points on the board. At this point, Dalton's becoming one of those QB's who can put up elite numbers. Whether Dalton can become an elite QB or not is going to be determined by whether he can do this consistently. 2 weeks ago, he shredded Indianapolis. Last week the Steelers whipped the Bengals. Staying consistent has been the problem. In reality, most of Dalton's int's aren't a result of poor decision-making, they are the result of poor throws. When he throws the ball accurately, as he did against the Vikings, the Bengals usually win.
2013 Week 17 vs BAL (21 / 36 / 281 / 2 / 4 pass, 6 / 23 / 1 rush)
If you were "stuck" with Dalton in your fantasy playoffs, you may very well have won your championship, as Dalton rode into week 17 fresh off of two huge performances in weeks 15 and 16. Wanting to finish up the regular season on a roll, Dalton started the game by throwing two interceptions on the first two drives! The first INT was a ball that he threw up to Marvin Jones to let him make a play. While Dalton gets credit for the INT, Jones had both hands on the ball and had it ripped out of his hands, so it wasn't a particularly egregious throw. His second INT was thrown way over AJ Green's head on a pass across the middle. It looks like the pass just sailed on him. Dalton has a habit of over-throwing his intermediate passes when he's feeling pressure, and after the second drive, it looked like the pressure of a playoff atmosphere may have been too much. But afterwards, Dalton responded, and led the Bengals to a huge win. The very next drive, Dalton fired a deep ball right to AJ Green for a 53 yard TD. Then on the very next drive, they went deep again to Bernard, and Dalton hit him in stride deep downfield, but Bernard couldn't hold onto the ball, as catching a deep ball was clearly not something Bernard was comfortable with. On the 5th drive, Dalton fired a pass into the endzone for Green, and Green was slow to get the second hand up to try and secure the ball. It was the type of play Green usually makes, so it was surprising he didn't make the play. Then Dalton's second TD came on a great play by Marvin Jones, as Dalton again threw it high up and let Jones make a tremendous one-handed grab for another TD. In the second half, Dalton threw two more INT's. One was a deep pass to Green, but Webb played Green very physical, got position and got an INT. Then after a great drive that got the Bengals down to the 1 yard line, the Bengals decided to air it out on first and goal. Dalton threw a back shoulder throw across the field on what looked like a designed isolation play for AJ Green. But Jimmy Smith read the play perfectly and picked off Dalton for the fourth time. With Green-Ellis running strong, it was a bit odd to see them air it out on first and goal, but the Bengals weren't taking their foot off the gas. Overall, despite the int's, Dalton and the offense continued to respond, and did what they needed to do to hold off a desperate team trying to get into the playoffs. It wasn't Dalton's best performance, but once again, he came out on top. As Dalton finished off an impressive 4300 yard, 33 TD season, the only thing the Bengals care about now is whether he can translate that regular season success into post-season production. With the porous San Diego defense and a second round matchup with potentially punchless New England, things are setup for Dalton to possibly take the Bengals to the AFC Championship game.
2013 Week 18 vs SD (29 / 51 / 334 / 1 / 2 pass, 5 / 26 / 0 rush)
During 2013, Andy Dalton had a Jekyll and Hyde persona. Many in the media have latched on to the premise that Dalton put up big numbers against bad defenses, and bad numbers against good defenses. This just isn't the case. Dalton and the Bengals have shown the ability to light up the scoreboard against anyone. In the first half, Dalton played very well. He led the Bengals on an efficient 2nd quarter drive culminating in a tough throw under duress to Jermaine Gresham at the goalline for a TD. On the very next drive, Dalton came out slinging, making perhaps the best and most accurate deep throw of the season. He dropped it right in Marvin Jones hands for 49 yards, hitting him in stride and putting the Bengals in the redzone. Then Dalton floated one over the linebackers head right into the hands of a streaking Giovani Bernard, and Bernard fumbled the ball away. That fumble really changed the outcome of the game, as a TD there would have been huge. However, even after that fumble, Dalton got the ball back with 1:14 to go in the half, and still made plays. He hit AJ Green on the sideline for 14, connected with Sanu for 13 over the middle, and then hit Gresham for another 13 yard sideline pass that put the Bengals into position to get a go-ahead field goal. Despite the disappointment of the fumble, the Bengals still had put up solid yardage on three straight possessions and looked to be ready to take control of the game. However in the second half, the Chargers guessed that the Bengals would start relying on the passing game, and began rushing Dalton furiously. Dalton was on the run the entire second half. On the first possession, he was sacked, then he was forced out of the pocket and had to throw it away, then he scrambled from pressure and slid headfirst, losing the ball at the first down marker. On his next possession, the pressure came again and the rain was falling hard. On 3rd and 8 Dalton was blitzed, threw off his back foot, and Wright stepped in front of the receiver and pulled in an easy INT on a ball that never should have been thrown. At the start of the fourth quarter, Dalton led the Bengals on a nice drive that had them moving across midfield. But Dalton made a really bad decision, throwing an out to Eifert with the defender sitting there waiting for the pass. This was a case of Dalton knowing where he was going to throw the ball before the snap, and not adjusting. Dalton tried to rebound late in the game, as the defense hung tough and kept giving Cincy chances. With 6:09 left in the game and the Bengals down by 10, Dalton threw a deep pass to AJ Green down the right sideline that landed right in his arms inside the 10. Green dropped the ball, which basically ended any threat from Cincy. Overall, there were miscues all over the board for Cincy. Bernard's fumble, Green's drop, and horrific pass blocking in the 2nd half. Dalton ran for his life, and this clearly affected him. But he made some really bad throws, and faces an off-season where the critics will be eating him alive. In today's society, you wonder how a young Peyton Manning would have been attacked by the critics as he lost playoff game after playoff game to open his career. To only criticize Dalton for his mistakes while not pointing out the good things he's done isn't honest journalism. Dalton made big improvements this year, beat a lot of great quarterbacks, and had games where he played as well as any QB in the league. But he also made a number of head-scratching plays, and threw a lot of interceptions. If Dalton wants the critics to go away, he's going to have to reduce the turnovers, which will give him plenty to work on in the off-season.
2012 Week 1 vs BAL (22 / 37 / 221 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 11 / 0 rush)
Dalton was efficient in the first half before the Bengals fell far behind and he had to resort to forcing throws. His passes were crisp but it did seem that he had trouble getting in sync with Jermaine Gresham and Armon Binns on many downfield routes. To his credit, Dalton did not often try to force the ball to the well-covered AJ Green, choosing instead to settle for short completions to Andrew Hawkins. Dalton was under pressure much of the night but stood tall in the pocket, trusting the protection around him. Dalton's best pass came on a 19 yard completion down the middle of the field to AJ Green. On the play, Dalton stepped up in the pocket to buy time for his receiver before lofting a well-thrown pass between two defenders for a large gain. The Bengals offense was rarely aggressive down the middle of the field, owing both the Ravens constant pass rush and the presence of Ed Reed at safety. The Bengals will likely make adjustments in the coming weeks so they can take more calculated risks downfield. Once the Ravens pulled away in the second half, Dalton simply had no way to gain large chunks of yardage through the air.
2012 Week 2 vs CLE (24 / 31 / 318 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
As good as Dalton's line was, it was really more an extension of his receivers making plays and the Browns porous secondary than anything else. Dalton got off to a rough start in the first quarter, overthrowing A.J. Green on a deep ball by a good seven yards and throwing well behind Jermaine Gresham on third down. The only receiver he seemed to be on the same page with early was Armon Binns and he made a nice touch throw down the left sideline to Binns for a 20 yard gain down the left sideline. His first touchdown pass came on an excellent play by Green who caught the ball at the 4 and then just beat his man into the end zone. Binns bailed Dalton out later in the quarter by turning a 50/50 ball on a slant into an 18 yard gain by simply ripping the ball out of the hands of the defender. Dalton finished that drive by overthrowing first Andrew Hawkins and then AJ Green in the end zone, both of whom were open. After overthrowing Green again deep in the third quarter, Dalton perfectly placed a ball down the right sideline to Ben Tate who raced into the end zone for a 44 yard touchdown. Dalton's interception came on a horrible throw 3-4 yards behind Gresham on a slant that was tipped in the air and then picked off by Jackson. Dalton's final touchdown pass in the 4th quarter was all Hawkins. Hawkins caught a short pass in the middle of the field and made an array of moves to take it all the way to the end zone, turning an 8 yard throw into a 50 yard touchdown pass.
2012 Week 3 vs WAS (19 / 27 / 328 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 16 / 0 rush)
Following a clunker on Monday Night Football against the Ravens and a commanding victory against the Browns at home, Dalton authored his best game of the 2012 season against the Redskins. Benefiting from a fairly spotless pocket and a Swiss cheese Washington secondary - the Redskins were thirty-first in passing yards allowed going into this game - Dalton carved up the Redskins for three hundred and twenty-eight yards - a season-high - completing nineteen of his twenty-seven pass attempts. The four-year starter from TCU looked comfortable all day at FedEx Field, hitting his receivers in stride and exuding veteran cool as an NFL sophomore. The Bengals kept Dalton protected, as he only took two sacks for a total loss of sixteen yards. Dalton added sixteen yards on the ground with two carries. Dalton has had successful games in the past. In fact, he threw three touchdown passes with over three hundred yards passing in Week Two against the Browns. Yet, he simply appeared on another level in Sunday's road game. While Mohamed Sanu can lay claim to the game's longest passing touchdown, Dalton had two sizable scoring passes himself. His sleek strike to wideout Armon Binns on second-and-twenty would have likely been good enough for a first down, but cornerback Josh Wilson absolutely whiffed covering Binns, who streaked up the field for a forty-eight yard touchdown. Arguably more impressive was Dalton's vision in finding receiver Andrew Hawkins. Dalton hit Hawkins in stride up the middle of the field, and the speed merchant took it to the house to give Cincinnati a fourteen-point lead in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the quarter, Dalton hit his reliable tight end Jermaine Gresham in the red zone for a six yard score. Gresham's incredible effort in shaking multiple defenders helped pad Dalton's statistics for the day. Dalton's sole interception was a puzzling one, at least from a play-calling perspective. At their own two yard line, the Bengals called for a running back screen to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green Ellis rolled right and Dalton floated a pass his way. Whether Dalton did not put enough speed on his throw, Green-Ellis did not approach the ball quick enough, or Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson simply read the play well, Jackson intercepted Dalton and took it to the house. Naturally, the Bengals wanted to reduce the risk of Dalton getting sacked for a safety by getting the ball out quickly, but a screen pass in the end zone was a sizable gamble. While the Bengals are not necessarily a pass-first team - they had a dead-even play-calling split against the Redskins - they understandably have a tremendous amount of confidence in Andy Dalton in opening up the playbook. Dalton was efficient in hitting his receivers in stride. He was patient and allowed plays to develop, rarely forcing the ball to a particular receiver. He used his legs if necessary. He appeared unafraid to emerge from the pocket and extend plays if they appeared to fall apart. Against a questionable pass defense in the Redskins, it is easy to conclude why a talented signal-caller had his best game of the season.
2012 Week 4 vs JAX (20 / 31 / 244 / 2 / 1 pass, 6 / 5 / 1 rush)
Dalton got off to a rocky start, throwing an interception on his first throw and nearly another in the first quarter. Both throws were questionable decisions in addition to lacking balance when interior pressure pushed him back in the pocket. Luckily, Cincinnati got the ball right back as the interception return resulted in a fumble. After struggling with pressure and inaccuracy early in the game, Dalton found his groove. Play-action passing facilitated Dalton's comfort level, as well as throwing the ball up to A.J. Green in single coverage. Green's ball skills were a major factor in Dalton's final numbers. Dalton nearly had a third passing touchdown on a red zone throw to Armon Binns, which was nearly caught. Dalton also benefited from a rare rushing touchdown on a sneak at the goal line after Green-Ellis was stuffed on a first down attempt. Dalton showed his improved arm strength on a number of occasions in this game and continues to be a great backup fantasy quarterback that can start when needed with a good matchup.
2012 Week 5 vs MIA (26 / 43 / 234 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / 21 / 0 rush)
Sunday was a day to forget for Andy Dalton and the Bengal offense. Despite only registering three sacks, the pressure from Dolphins talented front obviously bothered Dalton as nearly all his throws downfield were well off target. Dalton was still able to connect with A.J. Green nine times, but their longest connection was only 18 yards and it came on a back shoulder throw (the only such connection despite numerous attempts on the same throw). Dalton was forced to work underneath for the majority of the game as his 5.4 yards a completion would suggest. Dalton's best throw was his TD pass to Green early in the 4th quarter, a beautifully executed three-yard fade where Dalton perfectly dropped the pass over the pressed corner. It wasn't the easiest of catches for Green, but that had to do more with the coverage from corner Sean Smith than Dalton's throw. Dalton threw two INTs, one on a tremendous play from DE Randy Starks, who snatched the pass just off the line of scrimmage (99/100 times it is merely batted down). The 2nd, however, was more on Dalton on the Bengal's final drive. Facing a 2nd and 20, Dalton tried to force it into Andrew Hawkins between the corner and safety Reshad Jones. Dalton completely airmailed it (easy to do when throwing to a 5' 7" WR over the middle) and Jones made the easy pick to end the game. Dalton had two other near INTs; one, which if the out was thrown accurately to Hawkins would have been six going the other way. Dalton locked into Hawkins immediately, whose route was a bit lazy and Nolan Carroll crashed the route, just missing the INT. Earlier in the game Dalton was flushed from the pocket and as he scrambled to his right he tried to throw back across his body to Green deep down the middle of the field, into double coverage. The ball ultimately fell incomplete, but it was a dangerous throw and Smith nearly brought the INT down at midfield. Dalton was 2nd on the team in rushing, but that had more to do with the ineptness of the running game (21 yards on four carries) and Miami's NFL leading rush defense than anything else.
2012 Week 6 vs CLE (31 / 46 / 381 / 3 / 3 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton's second-season struggles continued in Cleveland as the Bengals fell to defeat against the Browns. Dalton opened the game with short, simple throws. His first attempt was batted down on a bootleg, while his second was a poorly placed football that Andrew Hawkins did well to catch. However there was nothing wrong with his third pass that ultimately turned into a 50+ yard touchdown. Dalton hit Gresham in stride running a slant pattern before he beat two defenders for the score. Dalton threw two other touchdown passes to AJ Green. The first was a well executed floated pass to him in the back of the endzone, while the second was a perfectly thrown deep ball very late in the game. Outside of those throws however, Dalton didn't have much to be happy about. On second and 13,Dalton threw an out route to AJ Green that was completed for six yards. At first it looked like Dalton had fit the pass into a very tight window, but the replay showed that Green had done brilliantly to fight back for the football and snatch it off the finger tips of Buster Skrine. Skrine should have caught it first. Dalton was nearly picked by Joe Haden on the sideline after he scrambled to his right outside of the pocket and tried to power a pass to Armon Binns standing at the first down marker. Haden attacked the ball ahead of Binns who didn't appear to think his quarterback would try to force that throw. Dalton was fortunate with a floated pass over the middle of the field that AJ Green adjusted well to in order to catch the ball and prevent a turnover. Dalton underthrew a sideline route to AJ Green in single coverage that was nearly intercepted by Joe Haden. Dalton was finally intercepted when he was flushed from the pocket before trying to find AJ Green running across the field. Green was tightly covered and the ball went through his hands after he failed to properly adjust to the flight of the ball. The ball landed in Joe Haden's hands behind the intended receiver. It's hard to blame Dalton, but it's also difficult to blamme Green who didn't know that Haden was behind him. It would have been smarter to throw the ball away, but the duo had a chance to connect. Sheldon Brown intercepted him again but this time brought it back for a touchdown. Dalton trusted Brandon Tate to beat Brown to a spot on a slant route, but Tate didn't do enough and Brown caught it in stride. With the Bengals fighting back late in the fourth quarter, Dalton overthrew a jump ball between Haden and Green in the endzone, before being sacked and losing the ball to Billy Wynn on the next play that sealed the victory for the Browns. Dalton was intercepted finally on a meaningless hail mary to finish the game.
2012 Week 7 vs PIT (14 / 28 / 105 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Dalton had a long day against a revitalized Steelers defense. Despite missing Troy Polamalu in the secondary, Pittsburgh was able to clog passing lanes efficiently and limit the amount of time Dalton had in the pocket. As a result, Cincinatti's second year quarterback was forced to make throws in to tight spaces or while off balance. Dalton completed only 50% of his passes and focused primarily on short routes across the middle of the field and to his outlet receivers. The Steeler defense dropped four or five men in to coverage on virtually every passing down and effectively utilized a combination of zone and man coverage on AJ Green and Andrew Hawkins in a largely successful effort to keep the Bengals from opening up a downfield passing game. Despite targeting AJ Green and Andrew Hawkins 11 times, the pair only combined for three catches with neither being fully in to their routes by the time Dalton had passed the ball. Dalton's best success came on quick passes up the seam to tight end Jermaine Gresham or Ryan Whalen, both of whom ran a number of quick routes in the middle of the field in an effort to force the Steelers' linebackers to drop back in to coverage. Aside from having to get rid of the ball quickly, Dalton had accuracy issues as well. On a number of longer throws he overthrew his intended target and he lacked touch on some shorter throws that would have led to quality gains. Dalton's interception came on a quick toss to the middle intended for Whalen that was picked out of the air by Lamar Woodley as the Bengals were threatening to cross mid-field. As a result of the intercept Dalton's lone touchdown came on first down after a Ben Roethlisberger fumble. On the play, Dalton quickly found AJ Green to the right side on a quick pass. Green deftly caught the ball in tight coverage and dove in to the end zone for the score. The pass was perhaps Dalton's best on the day as he recognized that Green was in single coverage and there would be room for him to work towards the middle of the end zone. The pass was thrown low to a place that only Green could catch it.
2012 Week 9 vs DEN (26 / 42 / 299 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 16 / 0 rush)
Dalton's game against Denver was a mixed bag of top-notch throws and questionable decision-making. He made some strong stick throws amidst being pressured consistently and then would make some plain bad decisions and late throws. While Dalton escaped the first half without an interception on his stat sheet, there were plenty of questionable deliveries. He was late multiple times when throwing sideline routes, with at least two being possible interceptions. Dalton and A.J. Green again connected on a long reception, this week against Champ Bailey. Dalton has not been shy about throwing it up for his talented receiver to make a play, regardless of the caliber of the cornerback in coverage. In the third quarter, Dalton had his best string of playmaking. He made a great cut on a first down scramble, hit Green with a tremendous fade route throw, and made a strong throw when fading to his left on a 52-yard gain to Jermaine Gresham. For about a quarter, it was Dalton at his best as Cincinnati rebounded to take the temporary lead. After dealing well with the defensive pressure in the third quarter, Dalton reverted to his first half play in the final minutes. Dalton was sacked on third down in field goal range on two separate drives and threw another should-have-been-interception. His lone 'wow' play late in the game came on a back-foot throw to Green on third-and-15. It was a big-time deep throw at a crucial moment. The play was negated by a back-breaking holding penalty, forcing Cincinnati into another, even longer, third down situation. Dalton then throws a pass up for grabs to Green in triple coverage, a tall task for even the elite receiver, which was off-target and ultimately an interception. That series of events essentially ended the Bengals' hopes for the win and sent Dalton into garbage time mode down by two scores late in the fourth quarter. Dalton shows the tools to be a top passing quarterback in the league at times, but lacks the consistency on a game-to-game or even a series-to-series basis. The run game has failed to be the foundation of the offense most games, which means success, will often come down to Dalton's ability to handle pressure and make more big-time throws. He did those two things well for less than half the game against Denver this week.
2012 Week 10 vs NYG (21 / 30 / 199 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton made some terrific throws on Sunday against the Giants but also took advantage of some dreadful mistakes by the Giants who put forth a feeble effort. Dalton began the game with a bang as he hooked up with WR Green for a 50+ yard touchdown pass from the start. The Giants completely blew the coverage however, as the safety for NYG did not pick up Green as he was streaking alone down the field. Dalton almost had another touchdown on a short field to Green but simply had too much air on the ball. However, he made up for this by getting a second touchdown pass to WR Hawkins. Hawkins made a terrific one handed catch in the redzone before turning it upfield for the score despite good coverage. Dalton has matured as a QB and had confidence to throw the ball up high to WR Sanu on a curl route despite the close coverage from NYG. Dalton also showed patience and an ability to extend the play by rolling out and converting a 4th and 2 situation with the pass. It looked like Dalton had his third TD pass shortly after as he found his WR in the endzone but the WR was just out of bounds and they had to settle for the field goal. Dalton had excellent pass protection for most of the game and the Giants pass rush was neutralised. Dalton had his third touchdown with a perfect pass on a post route in the endzone to TE Gresham. Dalton finished the day with his final TD pass into another short window to find WR Sanu, putting the ball perfectly in his WR's hands. Dalton was helped by excellent field position due to NYG turnovers but did well to execute the plays with terrific accuracy and convert the chances into touchdowns and not settling for field goals.
2012 Week 11 vs KC (18 / 29 / 230 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 13 / 1 rush)
Dalton was not as sharp as he has been in weeks past but did put up a strong performance from a fantasy standpoint. Dalton didn't complete anything downfield in the first quarter, but his receivers did a nice job picking up enough yardage on the underneath routes to keep the chains moving. After twice overthrowing A.J. Green open down the right sideline, Dalton connected with the star receiver late in the first quarter for the team's first touchdown. On the play Dalton threw a 4 yard fade into double coverage and Green rewarded him by making a spectacular grab and toe-tap. Dalton connected with Green down the right sideline for a 40 yard gain to start the team's next drive and then finished the drive with a 1 yard touchdown run on a naked bootleg. The Bengals were more about ball control in the second half with a lot of short passes and runs. Dalton struggled a little with his accuracy but made a perfect pass near the end of the quarter to Ben Tate for a 24 yard gain. After another well thrown ball on the right sideline to Green, Dalton connected with Mohamed Sanu on a short slant and Sanu took it 14 yards to the end zone.
2012 Week 12 vs OAK (16 / 30 / 210 / 3 / 0 pass, 4 / 5 / 0 rush)
The Oakland defense did little to slow down the Bengals offense in the first half as Cincinnati built a three possession lead. Dalton was on-point for the opening two quarters, converting 6-of-8 third downs and amassing 289 total yards. Dalton ran the no-huddle straight down the field on a 13-play, 89-yard drive for a touchdown in the second quarter that shows what this offense can do when controlling the line of scrimmage. Despite Dalton's strong first half, he did leave some plays on the field. He missed A.J. Green on a potential big play down the sidelines as well as Marvin Jones on a deep route. At halftime, Oakland did make some defensive adjustments that slowed the Bengals offense and made the game more competitive into the fourth quarter. Dalton and the passing offense were not as aggressive in the third quarter specifically as Oakland was able to pressure the quarterback more often. Dalton seemed to freeze on two plays in the second half, taking sacks that were completely avoidable with quicker decision-making in the pocket. After four straight three-and-outs, Dalton finally got on track to clinch the game in the fourth quarter with big-time throws. Dalton was the centerpiece of a full-on melee in the fourth quarter between the two teams. After an inadvertent whistle negated a potential Oakland defensive touchdown, Lamar Houston took Dalton to the ground after a false start whistle stopped the next play. Offensive lineman Andre Whitworth came to the defense of his quarterback and the fight ensued. Both players and Tommy Kelly, who left the Oakland bench for the altercation, were ejected after order was restored. Dalton's finest effort came on the subsequent third-and-long on a deep target to A.J. Green. While Green made an elite play on the ball against double coverage, Dalton's throw was out in front and gave his receiver the best chance to make a play. That play sealed the game as Cincinnati was able to grind out a comfortable win. Despite just 30 attempts, Dalton found Green for multiple long gains and Sanu for two short touchdowns. Dalton has been one of the fantasy surprises at quarterback this season with multiple touchdowns in 7-of-11 games, including five games of three or more scores. The Eagles in Week 14 mark his best remaining matchup as a quarterback-by-committee member.
2012 Week 13 vs SD (25 / 39 / 211 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / 5 / 1 rush)
Dalton didn't put up eye-popping stats in the game and this wasn't one of his better performances, but for the most part he did get the job done when his team needed him to. The Chargers did a good job applying pressure early on, repeatedly forcing Dalton from the pocket. He didn't throw a single pass with his feet set on the entire opening drive. Still, he did a good job of moving the ball downfield. The Chargers bailed out the Bengals with a defensive hold on fourth down, which kept the drive alive and enabled Dalton to find TE Jermaine Gresham with a deep ball down the sideline for the easy score. Soon after, Dalton made a terrible read. He was looking for WR A.J. Green on the slant, but didn't see the defender right in his way to pick the ball off. It was returned for a touchdown by the Chargers, and was Dalton's first interception in 106 pass attempts. Dalton again made an erratic play later in the first half when he had a wide open Green breaking for the corner of the end zone. Dalton sailed the pass well over his head for what should have been an easy score. However, he settled down a bit after that. On a designed flea-flicker to Green, the QB noticed the primary option was covered up. Rather than forcing it downfield into coverage, he checked it down to WR Marvin Jones for 16 big yards. It is sometimes difficult to not let loose on a flea-flicker because of the upside behind the call, but Dalton displayed veteran poise in that situation. There were a couple more hiccups in the second half for Dalton, though not all was his fault. The pass that should have been intercepted was a terrible decision to force a ball that essentially floated towards the sideline. It was all but intercepted, but WR Andrew Hawkins managed to knock it away to save Dalton from a pick. But the football gods evened things out soon after that. Dalton threw one down the middle to Jones that should have been caught for a first down, but instead the receiver allowed it to bounce off his fingertips and go right into the waiting arms of a San Diego defender for an interception. With the Bengals trailing late in the game, Dalton engineered a 55-yard scoring drive to take the lead. Granted, a lot of the work was done on the ground but Dalton still completed all five of his pass attempts on the drive for 36 yards. He even ran a 1-yard sneak to convert a critical 3rd and 1 play. And most impressively of all, with the team facing a 2nd and goal from the 6-yard line, Dalton dropped back to pass. Just as quickly as he dropped back, he tucked the ball away and scrambled up the middle. Diving towards the end zone, he barely got over the line with what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.
2012 Week 14 vs DAL (20 / 33 / 206 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Although Andy Dalton didn't face the pressure Tony Romo did on the day (even though he was sacked more on the day), he too was plagued by drops and some bad decisions. Dalton's lone touchdown came on a designed shovel-type pass to Andrew Hawkins, which was really more a function of good vision by Hawkins and good blocking than a good throw by Dalton. Regardless, it shows up on the stat sheet as a passing touchdown. Dalton's interception was a terrible decision on a throw to A.J. Green that Brandon Carr easily intercepted for a nice runback. Dalton rolled out to his right and floated one up when he should have just chucked the ball away. Though he didn't throw any more interceptions, Dalton did leave yards on the field with some inaccurate throws here and there. Two drops that really hurt Dalton were surprisingly by A.J. Green. The first was an easy touchdown on a slant route that Green didn't look into his hands. The second would have converted a key 3rd and 7, and while not a blatant drop, it was definitely a catchable ball, especially for a receiver of Green's caliber. Two of Dalton's sacks came on 3rd downs, but none of the sacks on the day were his fault so much as good plays by Cowboys defenders.
2012 Week 15 vs PHI (13 / 27 / 127 / 1 / 0 pass, 8 / 18 / 1 rush)
Philadelphia's toothless pass rush got fitted for some proverbial dentures between Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen, and that made for a rough night for the second-year quarterback from TCU. Dalton threw for a Christian Ponderesque one hundred and twenty-seven yards, completing thirteen of twenty-seven attempts. He also took an eye-opening six sacks for a loss of thirty-five yards, turning the ball over twice in the process. Granted, the game script did not ask too much of Dalton on a short week against the Eagles. Philadelphia was, without a doubt, feeling the spirit of the season and turned the ball over to the Bengals an incredible five times, routinely giving Cincinnati a short field. Making great strides on his second go-round through the league, Dalton appeared to severely regress against an Eagles defense that many left for dead. He looked skittish in the pocket, holding on to the ball too long and pump faking too many times on several plays. The ball did not come out of his hand quickly, and often Dalton's indecisiveness drove him to checking down or getting sacked. His long pass of the evening came on a nineteen-yard screen pass to Jermaine Gresham, one of only three skill players who caught a pass from Dalton. As previously mentioned, though, not much was required of Dalton, with the Bengals often setting up shop in Eagle territory after a Philadelphia turnover. Dalton did find an open lane in the Philadelphia red zone for an eleven-yard touchdown run, and he and A.J. Green still hooked up for a touchdown on a fade pass - and came close to another on the Bengals' previous possession. Chalk the Red Rider's performance up to a short-week and look-ahead games as the Bengals gear up to play their AFC North rivals in the season's final weeks.
2012 Week 16 vs PIT (24 / 41 / 278 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton opened the game throwing the ball erratically. Ryan Whalen bailed him out on a high throw to the outside on third down, before he overthrew Jermaine Gresham over the middle. If Ryan Clark hadn't been focused on Gresham, he would have had an easy interception. Dalton wasn't throwing the ball impressively throughout the day, before he opened the second half with an interception to Cortez Allen. Dalton tried to force the ball down the field to Andrew Hawkins, but failed to read the Steelers' zone defense that was designed specifically to bait the quarterback into that throw. The Bengals abandoned the run after it's early failures, which put the pressure on Dalton to perform. Despite making some good throws at times, he didn't have any kind of consistency when it came to the accuracy of his passes. Dalton's second interception came when he threw the ball to the sideline and it was tipped by Josh Victorian, before Allen made an athletic move to come up with his second interception of the day. Dalton threw the pass on third and 17 in no man's land, so it wasn't a bad decision to force it down the field. Dalton racked up most of his yardage when throwing underneath against the Steelers' off coverage. Whenever he was dared to throw deep, he dramatically overthrew his intended targets. Dalton didn't make the plays to win this game, save for one final throw to AJ Green, but he didn't need to do much as the Steelers effectively beat themselves on offense.
2012 Week 17 vs BAL (10 / 15 / 78 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
The Bengals had already locked up the 6th seed, so the starters were pulled after the first half. In that one half of play, Dalton had only one good drive. At the end of the first half, the Bengals started their drive on Baltimore's 42 yard line. Dalton then completed five straight passes in a row, culminating in a quick hook to Marvin Jones where the receiver was able to spin away from some very poor tackling and run in the end zone for a touchdown. Other than these five accurate passes, Dalton had a muted performance. His receivers had trouble getting away from the Ravens' secondary, and Dalton was unwilling to throw them open. Dalton had a habit of throwing the ball over or behind tight coverage, and the Ravens' did a good job of collapsing his pocket, forcing the quarterback to throw without setting his feet, or checking down to options that could only gain minimal yardage. Without much of a running game either, the pressure of generating yards fell on Dalton's shoulders and the defense did a good job of limiting where Dalton could throw. Dalton also almost fumbled in the 2nd quarter, but was bailed out by the tuck rule.
2012 Week 18 vs HOU (14 / 30 / 127 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / 15 / 0 rush)
Despite the relative closeness of the score, it is hard to find anything good about Dalton's performance against the Texans on Saturday. The 1st half, put as nicely as possible, was an embarrassment for both Dalton and the Bengals' offense. Dalton opened the game with two incompletions, including an awful drop from TE Jermaine Gresham. Dalton finally completed a pass the following drive, but it went for a six-yard loss. Things only got worse on the next drive, despite two completions. Dalton picked up one yard on a frantic throw to Gresham before another blown up screen went for a two-yard loss. 3rd down looked promising as Marvin Jones was able to get behind the coverage, but Dalton badly underthrew the deep pass negating at minimum a 50+ yard gain (and perhaps a TD) as Kareem Jackson nearly intercepted the pass. Dalton opened the next drive much more positively, picking up 12 yards on a scramble up the middle before completing a pass to Jones two plays later for 11 yards. The Bengals were finally in Houston territory, but Dalton quickly turned to ice as his next two throws were incomplete (the latter of which was nearly intercepted) and the Bengals were forced to punt. Recapping Dalton's 1st half, he was four of eight for five yards with two near INTs (and ZERO throws to A.J. Green). By default (it couldn't be much worse), Dalton's 2nd half was an improvement but still left much to be desired. A quick three and out to open the half, Dalton found some semblance of rhythm on the 2nd drive of the 2nd half. Looking to Green for the first time all game, Dalton connected with the WR for a quick five-yard curl. After a short throw to Andre Hawkins, Green was able to get behind Jonathan Joseph and Dalton delivered a perfect deep ball for 45 yards (1/3 of Dalton's passing yards came on this one play). Dalton went right back to Green for a quick six yards before looking to him again in the end zone on 2nd down. Dalton badly missed, however, as his throw sailed well out of bounds. 3rd down was a disappointment all day and this drive was no different, with another Dalton incompletion forcing a FG. Dalton was let down by Green the following drive, as the WR didn't even make a play on the throw (seemed really surprised by the target) and it sailed right into Joseph's waiting arms for an INT. Dalton actually responded well to the INT and it's hard to understand why every Bengal drive didn't look more like the drive following the INT. Dalton hit Gresham for a quick six yards before connecting with Hawkins for eight yards on a screen three plays later. Dalton again missed a big play opportunity, throwing late and short to Green in the end zone. The underthrown ball allowed Joseph to recover and poke the ball out of Green's hands. Not only was Joseph able to recover, but also Kareem Jackson was able to catch up to the play and deliver a bone-shattering blow on Green too. Dalton connected with Green on a quick slant on 3rd down with a nice throw, but Joseph again made a great play and stopped him just short of the 1st down. Dalton and the Bengals had one more opportunity, and again the drive started out well. Dalton and Green connected on a quick out that Green turned into a 15-yard gain. After a penalty extended the drive, Dalton connected with Jones for 15 yards down the middle of the field. Dalton's struggles down the field continued, though, as he missed a wide-open Green in the end zone. Green beat Joseph with a double move, but the throw was well beyond Green as it harmlessly fell incomplete. With their season on the line and facing a 4th and 11, Dalton went underneath to Jones but he was unable to escape the initial tackle and was stopped short of the 1st down. Dalton and the Bengals never got the ball back, ending their 2012 season. Dalton's day was loaded with struggles, but most glaring was his ineptness throwing the ball down the field. With four deep shots, to four (very) open receivers Dalton was only able to connect once. He underthrew Jones in the 1st half before missing Green twice in the 2nd half (including what could have been the game winning TD on the Bengals' final drive).
2011 Week 1 vs CLE (10 / 15 / 81 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Surprisingly he was doing very well early in the game. Dalton had good protection most of the time and the coaching staff was leaning on Cedric Benson early, allowing Dalton to ease into the rhythm of the game. The 1st 3 drives of the game Dalton put points on the board with drives ending in a TD and 2 FGs. When you consider that his WR1 is a rookie, his WR2 is fairly young, and his starting TE is also in year 2, it's amazing how calm and composed he was. On the 2nd drive of the game Dalton took good field position at the Cleveland 41 and made 2 key completions to Jermaine Gresham. The 1st pass was done with some serious pressure closing in on him and he calmly steps up into the pocket and completes it down field to Gresham. Then on 3rd and goal, Dalton ran a play fake and drilled it to the back of the end zone to his big TE target. It's not uncommon for a young QB to lean on his TE for short to intermediate routes to get things going. Dalton did come up gimpy at the end of the 1st half but the early word is that he will start next week. Check back with Footballguys throughout the week for injury updates. Dalton is not ready to be inserted into a starting fantasy roster but he did show good vision in his 1st career game in the NFL.
2011 Week 2 vs DEN (27 / 41 / 332 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton did everything he could to muster a winning performance for the Bengals, but just came up a little short in the end. Dalton was the picture of calm in the pocket and was afforded good time by the offensive line. When flushed, Dalton would either throw the ball away or simply take the sack if the coverage was too risky to throw into. With the team trailing for the most part, the offense was put on Dalton's shoulders and he delivered several stick throws into tight windows, throwing his receivers open. His timing was immaculate, and this was most evident on an 84 yard strike on a post route to WR Jerome Simpson. Dalton's pass allowed Simpson to run onto the football, catch it in stride and split the safeties. It is also noteworthy how much trust Dalton has in fellow rookie A.J. Green. The two hooked up on some key passes in this game. Dalton manipulated the Broncos safeties all day with his eyes. His first touchdown throw came in the red zone on a simple pitch and catch to WR Andre Caldwell, who was lined up in the slot right. The impressive part of the play was the good mechanics Dalton showed in the pocket. Some rookies may have panicked, but Dalton coolly delivered a strike. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Dalton put together a good drive, culminating in a touchdown pass to WR A.J. Green. Dalton's ball placement - high and to the outside - made certain that only Green could catch it. The rookie quarterback showed good leadership in the two minute drill, calling plays at the line and adjusting protections. A costly sack on the final possession cost the team dearly, but Dalton's performance is one to be optimistic about.
2011 Week 3 vs SF (17 / 32 / 157 / 0 / 2 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
On the first drive, Dalton impressed. He got rid of the ball quickly, made good decisions and found open receivers easily. He marched the Bengals deep into 49ers territory but couldn't get the TD. On 3rd and goal, he narrowly avoided the sack and scrambled outside, then threw high to Jerome Simpson in the end zone - just enough to give his man a chance without being intercepted. It was a dangerous play, but Dalton played it smart in the end. Despite an exciting and efficient opening drive, it was all downhill from there for the Bengals offense. For the rest of the day, they would struggle to move the ball. The short passing game that worked so well at first, got shut down - particularly WR Andre Caldwell, who caught a number of passes early, but ended the game catching only 6 of his 12 targets - and Dalton had no answer. Since the 49ers offense was just as bad, the Bengals were able to play conservatively until near the end of the game. Once the Bengals fell behind, Dalton opened things up and threw downfield more. The result? Cincinnati's first turnover of the season. He took a big chance throwing to Caldwell in tight coverage and it was intercepted. He had one more chance to lead his team to victory, however. With just over two minutes on the clock, Dalton found tight end Jermaine Gresham downfield for two big gains (22, 17); and then connects with Caldwell once again. His 2nd interception looked like miscommunication, plain and simple - as the receiver (Gresham) looked the wrong way for the ball. But even if he had looked the right way, Dalton's throw was off as well, so it's hard to blame the receiver on that one.
2011 Week 4 vs BUF (18 / 36 / 298 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / 12 / 1 rush)
After a rough start, Dalton put together a very impressive second half performance in a nice comeback win over the Bills. He threw 2 interceptions in the first half, including one that was returned for a touchdown although it came after a dropped pass and was not his fault. Dalton also had a fumble returned for a touchdown before the replay review changed it to an incomplete pass. Despite seeing some pressure from the Bills defense, he remained very calm and made some great throws, both from inside the pocket and while on the move. One highlight for him came on a 17-yard touchdown pass to TE Jermaine Gresham, who was covered very well but Dalton put the ball in a perfect spot where only he could get it. Dalton later tied the game up on a 3-yard QB draw play late in the fourth quarter when the Bengals went with an empty backfield and caught the Bills completely off guard. He continued to move the ball very well against the Bills and helped lead the team on a game-winning FG drive as time expired. While the Bills defense did not play particularly well, it was a strong finish for Dalton and likely a sign of bigger things to come for this rookie QB.
2011 Week 5 vs JAX (21 / 33 / 179 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
It wasn't pretty at windy EverBank Field, but rookie QB Andy Dalton found a way to lead his team to their third win of the season. Both QBs struggled in this one and spent much of the afternoon backpedaling and dumping the ball off to backs and tight ends near or behind the line of scrimmage. Dalton was harassed all day by the aggressive front of the Jaguars and was sacked twice. One of those sacks, though, helped set up one of Daltons finer plays of the game, as he found fellow rookie AJ Green open near the right sideline for a 37-yard TD to tie the game on a 3rd and 13 play to cap the Bengals' first possession. Later, Dalton tried to hit Green on another deep ball down the left sideline, but the ball sailed on him and he did not see safety Dwight Lowery who intercepted the pass and nearly took it the distance. Luckily for the Bengals, Dalton made the TD-saving tackle and the defense held the Jaguars to a FG. Even with his struggles, Dalton made plays when it counted, extending the play right before the end of the first half. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Dalton scrambled to his right to avoid the rush and found Jermaine Gresham to tie the score with a strong throw across his body. The score should have given the Bengals the lead, but Mike Nugent missed the wind-blown PAT. Throughout the day, Dalton seemed uneasy in the pocket, throwing off his back foot far too often, and throwing a few near INTs, but he settled in and made just enough plays to put his team in position to win the game late.
2011 Week 6 vs IND (25 / 32 / 264 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton looks less and less like a rookie each week and has given the Bengals a legitimate passing game to use as a weapon. Dalton knows to get his WR Green involved in the game and uses his weapons in smart ways. Dalton had a very nice touch pass on a go route to Green for the touchdown with just enough float to get it to his man. Dalton was decisive and great with the pre snap read. He knew where he wanted to go with the ball. Dalton was hardly ever pressured as he released the ball so quickly and never made any big mistake. Dalton came close in the first half though as a pass was thrown too high and might have been intercepted but this was likely rust and he shook it off to have a good game. Dalton lured the defense to sleep with a running game and short passes but tried to catch the Colts napping sometimes with his deep attempts to Simpson, connecting nicely on a play down the sideline. Dalton is very accurate and focuses on the short passing game which is helped by his good pre snap reading ability and decision making.
2011 Week 8 vs SEA (18 / 29 / 168 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Dalton continues to play solid, though not spectacular, football. He still makes some poor throws--his interception in the third quarter is an example of one. On the play, rookie DB Richard Sherman had Bengals rookie wide receiver AJ Green perfectly covered. Dalton thought he could throw it over Sherman but not only was the throw not over Sherman's head where only Green could make a play, but short and perfectly thrown to the Seahawk defensive back. That's the sort of choice Dalton has to learn to avoid making. Dalton's second interception was also a throw meant for Green, but in that case Green could have done more to prevent the pick and it was less about Dalton choosing poorly. Dalton continues to show good accuracy long and great chemistry with Green. The two hooked up for a 43 yard touchdown late in the second quarter. On the play, Dalton faked a handoff, then scrambled for a second to buy some time for Green to get some separation on the coverage. Dalton then fired a beautiful pass to Green over the defender, hitting his receiver in stride as Green crossed the goal line. For all his mistakes, it's plays like that which lead one to believe has the capacity to be a very effective starter in the league.
2011 Week 9 vs TEN (22 / 39 / 217 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
A bit of good fortune, athletic play from his receivers and a timely big throws led to another good day for the rookie QB. He started off with a couple of high throws as he tried to avoid early pressure from the Titans. The second was a terrible throw that fluttered into the flat and could have been intercepted relatively easily. It wasn't the last time that Dalton was fortunate to avoid an INT but it was his worst throw of the day. On the next drive, the Bengals simplified things a little as he hit two targets in the flat and kept the ball mostly on the ground. The third drive of the day is where Dalton really got things going. On second and 17 he hit Jerome Simpson in stride with a bullet between two defenders for a first down. After a couple of shorter passes, he threw a perfectly placed slant to AJ Green where only he could catch it, setting the Bengals up on the 1 yard line. Two plays later he showed his agility in the pocket, scrambling to his right to buy time and then finding TE Colin Cochart in the end zone. Dalton again fell out of rhythm completing just one of his next five of next eleven passes and twice avoiding interceptions only through good fortune. The first was on a ball thrown behind Jerome Simpson across the middle that landed at the feet of a Titan, the second was batted in the air when Dalton tried to fit a ball into too tight of coverage. Ironically, it was another missed throw by Dalton that seemed to turn things around. Green had beat his man deep when Dalton under threw him, resulting in a pass interference call as Green tried to fight back for the ball. Three plays later Dalton hit Simpson in double coverage at the goal line and Simpson fought his way in for the score. The next drive was the game winner, and Dalton's most impressive of the day. With the game on the line, Dalton put his trust in Green and was rewarded with two acrobatic catches, both in double coverage. As instrumental as Green was in moving the ball down the field, Dalton looked a different way in the red zone. On first and goal, Dalton threw a great pass in the back of the end zone but Simpson failed to get two feet in bounds. On third and goal Dalton threw a touchdown to Andre Caldwell, timing the throw perfectly just before the defender could get there. Running backs-
2011 Week 10 vs PIT (15 / 30 / 170 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Dalton had a tough task on Sunday as he battled the wind and the tough Steelers defense. Also, he lost star WR AJ Green due to injury after their impressive touchdown play near the end of the first quarter. All this added up to loss for the rookie QB but understand he played pretty well all things considered. The most impressive pass play of the game was the 36 yard bomb to WR AJ Green. Dalton took the snap, avoided some pressure by rolling to his left and then threw a bomb into double coverage. This showed that he has trust in young WR to make plays even when is covered. Another thing to take away from this game is that the game is not too big for him. Often in critical games like this you see rookie QB's have a hard time staying calm in the pocket. But Dalton was very poised and looked more like a veteran than a rookie. It was unfortunate for him to lose his top target Green, as this really seemed to hamper the offense. Dalton did make a few mistakes down the stretch throwing two interceptions in the second half. The first one was not his fault as the defender made a great play by batting the ball to his teammate. The second one was on their last drive of the game as they were in fairly deep in Steelers territory looking to tie up the game. Dalton forced a ball into his receiver and DB William Gay jumped the route for the interception. Although this was not a great performance by the rookie QB, he showed a lot of promise and is something to build on for the rookie QB.
2011 Week 11 vs BAL (24 / 45 / 373 / 1 / 3 pass, 4 / 32 / 0 rush)
Evaluation of Dalton's performance Sunday is all about expectations. Looking at him as a rookie QB missing his best target against one of the toughest defenses in the league, he looked pretty solid. Looking at him as the QB of a playoff contender in a huge game against a division rival, he was fairly disappointing. Dalton is, of course, all of those things and his day was as well. He started off on target hitting a short out then making a nice throw in traffic to his tight end, who had the ball stripped away. On his second drive, Dalton made a perfect throw over the top of the defense to hit a streaking Jerome Simpson for 47 yards. He followed that throw up with good timing on a slant route to move the Bengals into the red zone. A potential TD pass was dropped and pass interference set the Bengals up to run the ball into the end zone. The second quarter was a struggle for Dalton. He missed a receiver wide open 30 yards down field, telegraphed a hitch route and was fortunate to have the DB drop the pick and then ended the half by leaving too much air under a deep ball giving Ed Reed time to pick it off. Coming back out in the third quarter, Dalton looked more comfortable and used his feet to extend the play long enough to find a wide open Brian Leonard for 37 yards. Another breakdown in coverage led to a 24 yard completion, and set the Bengals up for another rushing TD. Dalton would throw picks on two of his next three drives, both on passes to Andre Caldwell. The first was a slant route that was both jumped by the DB and cut off by Caldwell. The second was an out that was thrown wide by Dalton and picked off on a spectacular diving play by the Ravens defender. The kid showed great moxie though, coming back from the INTs to lead his most impressive drive of the day. Dalton went 5-5 for 80 yards including a 49 yard lob pass down the right sideline to Caldwell who had badly beaten his man. The drive clearly gave Dalton confidence as he led his team right back down the field for another score, this time a field goal due to another dropped TD. He spent a lot more time running on this drive and if anything was a little too eager to scramble. He did, however, pick up 2 first downs with his nimble footwork. On his final drive, with a chance to tie the game, Dalton made another perfect deep throw to Simpson who had a step on 2 defenders. This resulted in a 43 yard gain and put the Bengals in scoring position, but they didn't gain another positive yard. Overall, Dalton made enough good throws to show that he has the ability to be a stud in this league and enough bad decisions to remind you he's a rookie.
2011 Week 12 vs CLE (21 / 31 / 270 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 23 / 0 rush)
Dalton played very well in a critical game for the Bengals' playoff hopes, showing a veteran's calm in the pocket as well as the ability to make plays with his feet when necessary. He didn't really get going, though, until the second half. Dalton nearly gave the ball away with just over a minute to go in the 2nd quarter, but defensive holding was called, wiping out the INT. In defense of Dalton, though, the player being held (TE Jermaine Gresham) was the intended receiver. Two plays later, however, Dalton would give the ball away when DE Jabaal Sheard hit him from behind, forcing a fumble recovered by the Browns. The turnover would lead to a Cleveland TD, giving the Browns a 17-7 lead going into halftime. Dalton had a very nice second half, completing some difficult throws and taking advantage of what the Cleveland defense was giving him. He made a great back-shoulder throw to Jermaine Gresham on the goal line for a 22-yard TD to get the Bengals back into the game. Midway through the 4th quarter, though, Dalton nearly threw a disastrous INT. Trying to force the ball into Gresham on 3rd and long, Dalton's throw was nearly picked off by LB Chris Gocong, who came over under the throw, but could not secure the interception. On the Bengals' next possession, though, Dalton appeared unfazed as he threw a deep completion to WR AJ Green, stepping into the throw in the face of a crushing blow by Cleveland DT Ahtyba Rubin. Green grabbed the throw out of the air with 3 defenders around him and sprinted down field toward the right corner of the end zone, only to be knocked out at the 2 by CB Joe Haden. This proved to be the play of the game as a few plays later, K Mike Nugent would add the game-winning FG.
2011 Week 13 vs PIT (11 / 24 / 135 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
The game got out of hand in the second quarter as Pittsburgh's defense really clamped down. Dalton wasn't particularly bad in this game. He was more let down by his running game, which put him in difficult situations, and his receivers, who dropped passes or had them knocked away by defenders. Dalton opened the game with a fantastic strike to AJ Green off play-action that went for 43 yards and put Cincinnati in the red zone. He also threw an apparent touchdown pass that was negated by a false start penalty. After that drive, Cincinnati was unable to sustain any others for the rest of the game. Dalton ended up leaving the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. It didn't look too serious, and he stayed on the sidelines in full uniform. Not returning was most likely due to the blowout situation than his injury, but it could be something to monitor.
2011 Week 14 vs HOU (16 / 28 / 189 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Houston only recording one sack was a tribute to Dalton's ability to get the ball away in the face of the defensive pressure which was fairly constant throughout the game. He showed fairly good decision making, and trusted his receivers when they drew single coverage. Dalton often hit his receivers in stride, or threw them open such as a back shoulder throw in the heat of a blitz that let his receiver make the catch despite close coverage. One of Dalton's best plays was a 17 yard touchdown to Jerome Simpson, where Houston's defensive end ran a stunt that left him unblocked. Dalton stood tall and took the hit to deliver a perfect strike to his receiver before the safety could close on the route. In the second half the passing game was the only effective part of the Bengals offense. With his passing touchdown, Dalton extended his consecutive game streak to 10, behind Peyton Manning as the second longest such streak by a rookie since 1950.
2011 Week 15 vs STL (15 / 26 / 179 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Dalton was fairly inconsistent against the Rams but did manage to make plays when he had to. He and the Bengals offense also benefited from some timely pass-interference calls. Dalton shows great poise in the pocket and seems to be very knowledgeable of the Cincinnati offense. His incompletions typically come on mid-range and deep throws where the Bengals choose to go after a large gain on first or second down. On third downs, Dalton shows a veterans savvy in looking for the open man most capable of gaining a first down. Dalton's best thrown came on a first quarter deep pass to rookie AJ Green. On the play, Dalton faked a handoff before lofting the ball 55 yards in the air to a diving AJ Green. The ball settled in between two defenders and set up first and goal for the Bengals. Dalton was picked off in the second quarter when he tried to complete a tough pass off of his back foot. The throw would have been hard enough even with his feet planted. Dalton has had a sensational rookie campaign in eclipsing 3,000 passing yards and keeping the Bengals in the playoff race deep in to the season.
2011 Week 16 vs ARI (18 / 31 / 154 / 2 / 0 pass, 5 / 48 / 0 rush)
This was another solid, if not spectacular, performance by Dalton, inching the Bengals ever closer to a playoff berth. Dalton was calm and consistent, taking what the defense gave him and making plays with his feet when the play broke down and nearly leading the team in rushing in the process. He made an excellent throw to TE Jermaine Gresham in the left corner of the end zone where only Gresham could come down with the ball, giving the Bengals an early 10-0 lead. He later found WR Jerome Simpson across the middle and Simpson did the rest, flipping over a defender into the end zone for the score. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Dalton received an early Christmas gift from S Adrian Wilson as Dalton badly under threw WR AJ Green, resulting in an interception by CB Patrick Peterson. On the play, though, Wilson hit Dalton in the head, negating the interception and giving the Bengals a first down. Dalton was very careful with the ball otherwise, electing to protect a big lead rather than take unnecessary chances down field.
2011 Week 17 vs BAL (22 / 44 / 232 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / 17 / 0 rush)
Andy Dalton put on an average display for the Bengals as they fought for a playoff berth on Sunday. Dalton seemed to struggle against the Ravens pass rush, often being flushed from the pocket and having to throw the ball away. He was late on several throws to the outside and missed two of his receivers wide open for touchdowns at points in the contest. Dalton did show a lot of guts and toughness, but demonstrated once again that he may struggle when faced with the better defensive units in the league.
2011 Week 18 vs HOU (27 / 42 / 257 / 0 / 3 pass, 3 / 17 / 0 rush)
Dalton looked like every bit the rookie in his first playoff game. Despite a number of excellent decisions and resulting throws, he simply made too many errors to keep the Bengals in the game in the second half. He threw three interceptions and was sacked four times in the pocket. On at least two of those sacks he likely could have gotten rid of the ball had he not tried to extend the play. Dalton's best throw came on a dump off to Brian Leonard on the Bengal's first drive. On the play, Dalton drew the defense in for a blitz and then calmly found Leonard as his outlet, setting up Cedric Benson's short touchdown plunge. He showed excellent understanding of the defense facing him and deft touch on the throw when many players' nerves would have gotten the best of them. He also had a great throw to Donald Lee that came as he was flushed out of the pocket to his right. Throwing on the run and under intense pressure, Dalton was able to find lee for a 36 yard gain that set up a Mike Nugent field goal. The turning point of the game, however came just before halftime as the Bengals ran their hurry up offense. Dalton was looking for AJ Green on a quick out and the ball ended up in the arms of defensive end JJ Watt, who returned the interception for a 29 yard touchdown. Dalton also had a nice 20 yard completion to Ryan Whalen off of his back foot that resulted in a first down. He was also intercepted by Jonathon Joseph on fourth down in the fourth quarter. This, his final interception, came on a desperation heave in to a crowd of defenders.