Andy Dalton is having arguably the greatest rookie season by a Bengals rookie quarterback ever, and one of the best in NFL history. He needs only 139 yards passing to surpass Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco for 5th-most passing yards by a rookie QB in NFL history. Flacco threw for 2,971 yards his rookie year on a team similar to this years’ Bengals that was at its best when relying on their running game and defense to control games. Dalton also needs a mere 167 passing yards to become 5th rookie in NFL history with 3000 passing yards. Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, and Matt Ryan are the other four. The fact that four of the top five rookie passing seasons all-time will have come in the last four seasons shows how much of a pass-happy league the NFL has become. The Bengals are very fortunate to have gotten Dalton in the 2nd round of last years’ NFL Draft. He’s been very efficient, as his 18 touchdowns are also tied for 5th-most ever by NFL rookie, while he has only thrown 12 interceptions. To have a quarterback who can play in today’s league without turning over the ball at a high rate is very difficult. Fellow rookie Cam Newton has thrown 16 interceptions in an offense much more geared toward running the ball, as the Panthers rank 5th in the NFL in rushing offense, compared to the Bengals 19th ranked rushing attack.
Perhaps Dalton’s most impressive stat is not only how much he’s had to throw the ball for the Bengals to succeed, but how many wins he’s managed to lead his team to this year after the Bengals finished with only four wins last year. With two more passing touchdowns and one more win, Dalton will be the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to throw for 20 touchdowns and win eight games. The future of the Bengals franchise appears to be in good hands with Dalton leading the way.