Wednesday, October 16, 2013
QB Watch: Bengals' Andy Dalton
By Coley Harvey
A weekly analysis of the Bengals' quarterback play.
Rewind: For only the fourth time in his career, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for more than 300 yards and passed for three touchdowns, when he led his team to a 27-24 overtime win at Buffalo. The outing drew praise from Dalton's coaches, teammates and most parts of the fan base. Running back Giovani Bernard, who weaved past a pair of defenders at the end of one Dalton shovel pass for a 20-yard touchdown, called Dalton's performance "amazing."
Fast-forward: This weekend, Dalton and the Bengals travel to Detroit for the first time since a preseason game there in his rookie season. The most memorable highlight from a 34-3 Lions rout was when Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh drew a personal foul for picking up a helmet-less Dalton and slamming him to the turf after the quarterback already had gotten rid of a pass. It was an ugly penalty for any game, let alone Dalton's first preseason contest. Cincinnati's offensive line will want to ensure nothing like that happens this time.
Drought ended: With his first-quarter touchdown pass to A.J. Green on Sunday, Dalton ended a passing touchdown drought that spanned nearly three weeks. In all, 140 minutes, 32 seconds of game action had passed between the time Dalton completed a fourth-quarter, 11-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones in a Week 3 win over Green Bay and his 18-yard completion to Green.
Prediction: Against Buffalo, Dalton faced a blitz-heavy unit. To counter that, the Bengals dumped off numerous short passes in space to avoid the rush and get their pass-catchers to use their athleticism to pick up big yards. While not quite as good as the Bills when sending pressure, the Lions are still one of the league's toughest teams with five or more rushers. Expect a similar scheme and look for big yard-after-catch production again Sunday.