Dandy Andy: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has had his share of highlights and lowlights throughout his three-year career. Aside from one second-quarter interception, his performance in Cincinnati's win Sunday was among his career highlights. In his best statistical start since Week 6 of last season, Dalton threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time he had hit the 300-yard passing plateau since the Bengals faced Cleveland this time last year. It also marked the third time since that game that he had thrown three or more touchdown passes. The production earned him his second-highest QBR of the season, a 62.0 rating. Just two weeks ago, he had a season-low 29.7 QBR during a 203-yard passing performance in a 17-6 loss to the Browns.
Yards after the catch by A.J. Green and the Cincinnati receivers played a big role in Sunday's win.
Kings of YAC: One of the reasons Dalton had such a strong day passing the football was that his receivers picked up big yards after their numerous screen, slant and shovel-pass receptions. Of the Bengals' 337 yards receiving, 243 came after the catch. Their average of 9.35 yards after the catch was the highest mark of the season. One example of that style of play came in the first half, when receiver A.J. Green caught a screen pass near the line of scrimmage and sprinted through a hole that formed when a pair of other receivers formed a seal, and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth opened the hole further when he pushed two defenders out of the way. Green picked up 54 of his game-high 103 yards on that play. On that same drive, running back Giovani Bernard caught a short shovel pass from Dalton and juked past a series of defenders for a 20-yard touchdown reception.
Dealing with Thad: All last week the Bengals heard about the unique challenge that Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis potentially posed. Although he had just been signed off the practice squad last Monday, there were reasons they thought they needed to respect him. They had heard from two of their teammates, linebacker Vincent Rey and defensive end Michael Johnson, about Lewis' big arm and shifty, mobile feet. Rey played with Lewis at Duke four years ago, and Johnson had played against both often while he played at Georgia Tech. With Buffalo's offense being heavy on the zone read while EJ Manuel had been behind center, the Bengals were bracing for Lewis to do much of the same. But once Cincinnati's defense determined it could handle Lewis' ground game, it scrapped those plans and focused on taking away other parts of the Bills' game plan. It worked. Still, Lewis threw for 216 yards and had two touchdowns. He ran for only 17 yards and was sacked five times.
Road warriors: Before Sunday, the road hadn't been very kind to the Bengals, who lost their first two games away from Paul Brown Stadium. With a difficult stretch coming up that includes three of the next four games on the road, the Bengals know they will need to keep up the style of play that made them successful against the Bills.