The cold, hard truth is this: If Andy Dalton plays the way he did last night when the team heads to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers next week for the final AFC wild card playoff spot, they’ll get blown out.
Since the Bengals drafted Dalton out of TCU, Cincinnati is 0-6 against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, their next two opponents. In two games on national television this year that were at Baltimore and home against Pittsburgh, Dalton has completed 55% of his passes for 326 yards with one touchdown with two interceptions. Dalton’s two lowest QBR totals of the season came in those two games: 15.7 against the Ravens and 16.9 against the Steelers.
It’s not helping matters that Dalton has been erratic to say the least over the past six games. In three games vs. the Giants, Chiefs, and Raiders, he completed 55/89 passes for 639 yards, nine TDs, and 0 INTs, while averaging 7.18 yards per attempt, and being sacked just four times. However, in his last three games against the Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles, he’s gone just 58/98 for 544 yards (5.55 yards per attempt), three TDs, and three INTs while being sacked 12 ti,es, many of which were a result of holding the ball too long.
The Bengals head to Pittsburgh in seven days. It will prove to be either an opportunity for Cincinnati to overcome their division rival and Dalton to show why he deserves to be called a top-10 QB, or more proof that the Bengals are still a “wait till next year” team.