Wednesday, October 23, 2013
QB Watch: Bengals' Andy Dalton
By Coley Harvey
A weekly analysis of the Bengals' quarterback play.
Rewind: Andy Dalton appears to be growing right before our eyes. Less than a month after having his skill challenged during an abysmal showing at Cleveland, the third-year starter has laughed in his critics' faces by posting back-to-back 300-yard passing games and putting the Bengals in position for consecutive game-winning field goals. Against Detroit in Sunday's 27-24 win, he threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. It was the first time since 2010 that a Bengals quarterback had thrown for 300 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a game.
Fast-forward: Just like last week when he squared off with the Lions' Matthew Stafford, Dalton will be part of another unique quarterback battle this weekend when rookie Geno Smith and the New York Jets visit Cincinnati. Dalton hopes to build off last week's 92.8 QBR -- the second-highest single-game QBR of his career -- when he faces his third straight intimidating defensive front.
Accurate passer: Yes, there have been times this season when Dalton has overthrown his receivers. Yes, he has thrown passes to empty air, nowhere in the vicinity of an open pass-catcher. But overall, when it comes to measuring his accuracy, Dalton has proved to be among the best in league this season. Only six quarterbacks -- three of them Super Bowl winners -- have better completion ratings than Dalton's 65.9 percent figure. As the Bengals' short-passing game continues to develop, that number could increase.
Prediction: Dalton has the Bengals rolling offensively right now. His communication with receiver A.J. Green has improved, and playmakers like Marvin Jones, Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard are getting open in space. As long as the running game continues improving and Dalton remains consistent, he should have few difficulties across the next nine games. Another 300-yard outing is possible against the Jets this weekend.