Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton Must Take The Next Step in 2014 for Bengals to Rise


With the conclusion of this past NFL season, Bengals fans were left with a familiar sour taste in their mouths. Another promising season brought to an abrupt end. Another one and done in the playoffs.

And once again, Bengals fans are asking themselves the same question for the third straight year. Is Andy Dalton really the quarterback that can get this team over the hump?

The easy answer would be to say no. Of course it would. One touchdown and six interceptions in three career playoff starts is not going to help your cause by any means. The only way Andy Dalton is going to silence his critics is to get back to the playoffs this next season and advance past the first round.

I, for one, believe in Dalton’s regular season stats. I believe the aberration is his playoff numbers. Dalton’s regular season numbers have consistently gone up in each of his first three seasons. Here are a few of his statistics from his first three years:

2011 2012 2013
TD- 20 TD- 27 TD- 33
YDS- 3,398 YDS- 3,669 YDS- 4,293
INT- 13 INT- 16 INT- 20
QB Rating- 80.4 QB Rating- 87.4 QB Rating- 88.8

While looking at his numbers, the only problem I see is the interceptions. They have also consistently gone up along with his other statistics. If Dalton can cut down on the turnovers, then I see no reason why he can’t be the quarterback that can take us deep into the playoffs.

Of course that is not going to be as easy as it sounds. But with new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson implementing more of a run first offense, Dalton shouldn’t have to shoulder as much pressure on a game to game basis as he has in past seasons.

Maybe I’m holding out false hope. Maybe Dalton isn’t that guy. But I urge Bengals fans to practice patience, even if for only one more year. Because as long as Dalton continues to improve on his numbers, and can manage to cut down on his mistakes, he will have every opportunity to take that next step in next year’s playoffs.

Let’s all just hope that he does so successfully.

 

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