- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the Bengals' quarterback play.
Rewind: Take one look at Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's stat line from Sunday's 34-30 win over Green Bay and you become convinced that he had a pretty strong day. Only eight of his 28 passes didn't hit their target. He threw for 235 yards. He had two touchdowns. His passer rating was just above 105.0. Oh yeah, and he notched his 35th career win. The only real problem with Dalton's play was the fact he was on the field during Cincinnati's four straight possessions that ended in turnovers. One of them was his first-half interception that started the turnover avalanche. With his offense barely on the field in the second quarter, Dalton sort of disappeared. He didn't reappear until the end of the third, when the first of his two scores sparked a dramatic comeback.
Fast-forward: This week, Dalton faces a Browns defense that hasn't gotten the respect it might deserve, simply because offensive headlines have dominated the team's storylines to this point. Cleveland's defenders rank sixth in the league in total defense, allowing exactly 300.0 yards per game. The unit also ranks 12th in the NFL in passing defense, allowing an average 215.67 yards. The Browns' sack-per-pass-attempt percentage (10.6 percent) is the third highest in the league.
Dalton's best: Dalton has more wins over Cleveland (three) than any other team he has played during his three-year career. His lone loss to the Browns came in last year's 34-24 Week 6 defeat.
Prediction: Look for Dalton to notch win No. 4 against a Browns team that still appears to be finding its overall identity. As good as Cleveland has been defensively, its offensive struggles may be too much to overcome versus a defense as good as Cincinnati's. Another run-of-the-mill, 28-attempt, 235-yard type of day should be enough for Dalton to move his team to 3-1.