Marvin Lewis’ Quarterbacks In Primetime


Nov 25, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) congratulates Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after the Bengals defeated the Raiders 34-10 at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

With one of the worst Bengals’ losses in recent years, the blame game has been going on amongst fans. Andy Dalton has gotten a fair amount of criticism along with the defense that now ranks 30th. Both new coordinators have gotten their fair share of blame; heck, this entire team has received it. After this debacle on Thursday night, there came a question: just how have Marvin Lewis’ quarterbacks faired in primetime? Once putting together the stats for Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Andy Dalton, the numbers are extremely underwhelming.

Since Marvin Lewis became head coach, the Bengals are 6-19 in primetime games (including playoffs). Owning a .260 winning percentage, there had to be something that remains constant. Looking into numbers, they become quite eye popping. In 15 out of 25 games, Lewis’ quarterbacks possess a quarterback rating less than 70 and it doesn’t stop there,  In 10 of those games, the quarterback has had a rating of 60 or lower. So since 2003, Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterbacks have had a quarterback rating of 60 or lower in nearly half of the Bengals’ primetime and playoff games. Only three times has a Bengals quarterback had a 100+ rating, and Andy Dalton actually has the highest rating of any quarterback under Marvin Lewis in primetime.

When it comes to the playoffs, in four out of five playoff games, the quarterback has had a rating of less than 60. Only once has a quarterback surpassed 60 and that was Andy Dalton in last year’s playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers.  So clearly the Bengals’ quarterbacks have been extremely poor based on quarterback ratings, but let’s take a deeper look at these performances.

While Carson Palmer was at the helm, he completed 224 passes out of 404 attempts (55.5%) for 2,385 yards, 12 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Carson Palmer had a quarterback rating of 74.5 in primetime (excluding the Steelers and Jets playoff games); nothing extraordinary by any means.

While quarterbacking Oakland in primetime games, Palmer went 2-2 while completing 81 of 122 pass attempts (66.4%) for 1,081 yards, nine touchdowns, and four interceptions. This gives Palmer a quarterback rating of 105.3 with the Oakland Raiders. He only had a rating of less than 100 in two games, and only once did he have a rating below 90.

In Arizona, Palmer is 1-1 in primetime games. He has completed 54 of 82 pass attempts (65.9%) for 562 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. This equates to a rating of 87.6. He had another game with a better than 100 QB rating, but one with a 70 rating.

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In half of Palmer’s games since he left, he has had a rating of over 100, one game of better than 90, and just two games below that. Overall, Palmer is 3-3 in primetime games since leaving the Bengals. He’s completed 135 of 204 pass attempts (66.2%) for 1643 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions giving Palmer a rating of 98.1. Some may try to say the Bengals had inferior teams during his tenure, yet Palmer had a 105.3 quarterback rating with the Oakland Raiders.

Even Ryan Fitzpatrick has done better since he left the Bengals. He is 2-4 in primetime games (nothing earth shattering), though he has completed 99 of 160 passes (61.9%) for 1158 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. This gives him a rating of 86.9. Fitzpatrick has two primetime games with a 109+ QB rating and one game with a 98.7 QB rating. In two of these games, he has a rating of below 80.

Since both Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick have left, they have done significantly better in primetime games; numbers don’t lie and Bengals fans can no longer ignore these stats. This is by no means a way to disregard Dalton’s terrible play on Thursday night, but rather a way to look at the full picture. Every quarterback under Marvin Lewis has struggled in primetime and playoff games, and the stats show how ugly it is. Displeasure within Bengals fans is echoing more and more, and this adds more fuel to the fire.