Andy Dalton is entering his 5th season in the NFL, all with the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s contributed to their consecutive playoff appearance streak in each of his first 4 seasons, and (more or less), their first round exits.
It’s no secret that Dalton is a roller coaster QB. He has his ups, downs, and a medium in between. But perhaps the most roller coaster-esque moment of his career is his play against the 3 other teams in his own division; the AFC North.
Thanks to Pro-Football-Reference.com, I compiled a large number of stats of his play against the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. As you can expect with Dalton’s game, there’s good, average, bad, and ugly.
Proceed to the hypnotic looking chart below with caution, Bengals fans.
I’ve got a few. To say Andy Dalton hasn’t had his great moments would be incorrect. Throughout his career, he’s made enough quality throws and bucket dimes to continue staying as the Bengals starter. His 2011 rookie season was quite impressive, especially considering the Bengals came off a nightmare 2010 with Carson Palmer.
But ultimately, Dalton is entering a season which could be his last. His lack of progression, despite having one of the best supporting casts in recent memory, are extremely astonishing. It’s not just his playoff performances that underwhelm me. At times, it seems as if Cincinnati is winning in spite of him (and yes, I’ve said this a lot). Last year, despite depending on a short passing game and a more running-based offense, Dalton still failed to progress as a quarterback.
People like to talk about how the Bengals receivers weren’t healthy, but how can we offer empathy to that when Dalton’s receivers constantly bail him out? Sure, Dalton’s better than whoever’s currently on the market, but when you get right down to it, that shouldn’t be good enough for Cincinnati.
And that all starts with how he can play against AFC North teams. Games like the Thursday Night Football disaster against the Browns cost the Bengals games that would have given them a better seed in the playoffs. I can’t say it’s all his fault, as the Marvin Lewis era Bengals look unprepared whenever they reach the postseason. But there’s no denying a better QB would be able to take the Bengals further than the 5-year signal caller has.
There must be signs of progression from Andy Dalton in 2015, something to let the Bengals know that he’s here to stay. Otherwise, it’s a possibility the Red Rifle will pack his bags and aim for somewhere else.