Wednesday, September 18, 2013
QB Watch: Bengals' Andy Dalton
By Coley Harvey
A weekly analysis of the Bengals' quarterback play.
Rewind: Against Pittsburgh on Monday, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was mostly effective in the short passing game, where he completed 17 of the 20 passes he threw within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, he didn't look as sharp, as the combination of nerves and a hyped-up Steelers secondary took away some of his deep passing options early in the game. Still, Dalton finished with an impressive 280 yards passing, and discovered a new go-to pass-catcher in rookie running back Giovani Bernard.
Fast-forward: This week against Green Bay, Dalton will be facing a front seven that has routinely done one thing over the years: gotten pressure on quarterbacks. Led by linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk and a hulking three-man defensive line, the Packers likely will blitz Dalton mercilessly Sunday afternoon. If that happens, it might play in Cincinnati's favor. Purely from a completion percentage standpoint, Dalton was much more successful in Week 1 when the Bears constantly pressured him, as opposed to how he handled the ample time his offensive line gave him against the Steelers. Dalton completed 78.8 percent of his Week 1 passes, and 55.6 of them on Monday.
Same record: Through his first 34 regular-season games, Dalton has the same record as two former Bengals quarterbacks of note: Boomer Esaison and Carson Palmer. They also were 24-10 at the same stage of their careers.
Prediction: Last week, we predicted Dalton wouldn't put up 282 yards (what he had against Chicago) against Pittsburgh. He had 280. Expect him to hover in the same zone yards-wise this week, and also look for his completion percentage to trend higher as he tries to exploit the short passing game again. This time, it will be to take advantage of Green Bay's anticipated blitz.