Bengals’ Winners and Losers vs. Ravens

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Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Winner: Andy Dalton

Quarterback Andy Dalton had to be the biggest winner from yesterday’s game.  The team’s most polarizing figure, Dalton has been under pressure from fans to perform better while the organization continues its steadfast support of the young quarterback.  After giving Dalton a potentially lucrative, yet team-friendly, extension over the off-season, Dalton is now able to better focus on the task at hand: getting this team to the next level.  Yesterday proved to be an excellent start.

Dalton seems to benefit greatly from Hue Jackson’s influence over the offense.  He utilized all of the offense’s weapons (including several appearances by Brandon Tate) and kept the Ravens defense guessing because of it.  Jackson did not abandon the run, but Dalton did still attempt 38 passes compared to 26 rushes by the team.  But Jackson’s runs were timely and forced the Ravens to stay honest.  This allowed Dalton more space to throw the ball.  And because Jackson called such a dynamic game, his reads seemed easier as well.

Dalton himself has put in the work too.  Over the off-season he sought the council of quarterback guru Tom House and it looked like it paid off based on yesterday.  Dalton’s release was notably quicker while he had real “zip” on his throws.  Dalton also had his receivers visit him at his home over the off-season to work out.

It’s this kind of work that’s paid off for Dalton, along with some help from the coaching staff and organization.  Hopefully Dalton can continue on this path and prove the doubters wrong while the Bengals benefit from the results.