Dec 1, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes for a first down during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Bengals won 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Dalton of the first-half will get this team bounced in the first round of the playoffs again. The Dalton of the second-half might (emphasis on might) be good enough to win a game in the playoffs. Neither Dalton is good enough to advance more than a game in January. All season long I have defended Dalton. I can’t continue to do so.
Yes, he is 1 of 3 QBs in the history of the NFL to have 20+ TDs in his first two years (Dan Marino and Peyton Manning). Yes, he became only the second QB in NFL history to throw for 3,000+ in each of his first 3 seasons (Peyton). Yes, he has an impressive 27-17 record. But watch him.
He doesn’t seem to be getting better. In fact, he seems to be regressing. He looks confused. He has issues coming off his primary target and getting through his progressions. He has very little pocket presence. He has issues with accuracy. His deep ball is brutal. And his ball protection is regressing as well. I want Dalton to succeed, but that interception (er, punt?) was the worst interception I can remember.
At this point, I think the Bengals have to give serious thought to picking up a QB in the 1st or 2nd round in the 2014 draft to start grooming if Dalton does not work out, because at this point, I see a championship caliber defense (even without Atkins and Hall) and a QB that seems incapable of cashing in on the talent around him.