September 30, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-US PRESSWIRE

Red Rifle Stays Red-Hot



The Bengals offense is red-hot right now, having scored 27+ points in three straight games, and the biggest contributor to the NFL’s 5th-ranked passing offense is quarterback Andy Dalton. He finished the day 20/31 for 244 yards, two TDs and one pick for a QB rating of 96.7, a modest day compared to his last two weeks in which he completed 43/58 passes (74.1 percent) for 646 yards passing, six touchdowns and two interceptions for a pass rating of 130.4.

Since getting blown out by the Ravens on opening night, Dalton has emerged into one of the NFL’s best QBs, completing 63/89(71%) of his passes while throwing eight TDs to just three INTs. It’s no surprise the Bengals are 3-0 in that span, as they’ve relied heavily on the arm of Dalton, who’s clearly not in the midst of the dreaded sophomore slump that’s plaguing fellow 2011 draftees Cam Newton and Jake Locker.

As of now, Dalton is on pace to throw for close to 4,500 yards and 30+ TDs, shattering his rookie marks of 3,400 yards and 20 TDs. According to ESPN, Dalton has also boosted his Total Quarterback Rating from 45.8 last season to 73.1 in four games this season. He’s also been very efficient in the clutch. In the 4th-quarter this year when the game is tied or within 7 points, Dalton is 16/17 for 274 yards and four TDs to ZERO picks for a perfect QB rating of 158.3 That included hitting A.J. Green on an 18-yard score today to put the Bengals up 24-10 and essentially end the game.

While a big part of these gaudy number can be attributed to the Bengals receiving unit being one of the best in the NFL in yards after catch(went into the day ranked 2nd in NFL), if Dalton can continue to play at this pace, he’ll not only be a lock for the 2013 Pro Bowl, but may get a couple of MVP votes as well.


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