Andy Dalton is one heck of a tease. Where has this “Dalton” been? That is the Dalton, who if he shows up in January, with this defense, is capable of leading this team to a Super Bowl. 24/35, 275 yards, 3 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD and 0 INTs. The first drive was a thing of beauty – 6/7 for 81 yards capped off with a beautifully placed 29 yard TD pass that only Marvin Jones had a chance to make a play on.
That is the Dalton I am ok with signing long term. The biggest key was the goose egg in the turnover category. In his career, the Bengals are 13-4 when Dalton doesn’t throw a pick, and all 4 of those losses were in his rookie year and against playoff teams (Den, Hou, Pit, Balt). Heck, with this defense, the Bengals don’t need 275 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs from Dalton to make a deep playoff run.
If they can get 250 yards, 1-2 TDs, 65%+ completion and no more than 1 turnover, they will be very tough to beat. Unfortunately, as we have seen far too often this season, it is a 50-50 shot at best as far as which Dalton will show up. In their 8 wins, Dalton has 21 TDs to just 7 INTs. In their 4 losses, Dalton has 4 TDs to 9 INTs.
The former I like as my franchise QB. The latter I do not. The key for Dalton is 80.0. When Dalton’s rating is above 80.0 this year, the Bengals are 8-1 (21-5 for his career). When his rating is below 80.0, the Bengals are 1-4 (7-14 for his career). And this isn’t asking a lot, a rating of 80.0 is not good – an 80.0 rating would leave Dalton ranked 28th in the NFL this year.