Andy Dalton is a Top-10 Quarterback

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Oct 4, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 36-21. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton is a top-10 quarterback. It feels weird hearing myself say it, but it’s true. Dalton is playing out of his mind in 2015.

Dalton has significantly improved over the course of his career, but his improvement from 2014 to 2015 has been spectacular. Dalton has a significantly stronger arm; he is calm in the pocket; he plays relaxed and he is confident. Dalton has yet to put up a “Bad Dalton” game, so the question going forward will be if he is a changed quarterback. But for now, Dalton is a top-10 quarterback for the first time in his NFL career.

Dalton is among the league’s best in several statistical categories. Here’s a table comparing 10 of the league’s premiere quarterbacks in 2015:

[table id=104 /]

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Some notes regarding this table:

Peyton Manning is no longer a top-10 quarterback. He’s clearly a league-average quarterback, so his stats were not included in this table.

-I used yards-per-game rather than total yards because Marcus Mariota and Tom Brady have only played in three games. Ben Roethlisberger has also only played three games, although his injury will likely move him out of the top 10 in the near future until he fully recovers.

Cam Newton is clearly a top-10 quarterback, but his passing stats are down since his top receiving target is out for the season. This list isn’t a definitive statement on who I believe to be the league’s top-10 quarterbacks; it is just a list of 10 guys who have been performing well in the passing game.

Oct 4, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) looks to pass in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton, as of now, is clearly a top-10 NFL quarterback. He ranks among the top three quarterbacks in total passing yards (1,187), yards-per-attempt (10.23), touchdowns (nine), interceptions (only one), sacks (only two taken) and passer rating (123.0). Dalton’s 80-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to A.J. Green in Cincinnati’s Week 3 win over the Ravens also ties Drew Brees’ 80-yard overtime touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller for the longest pass thrown this season.

It’s weird seeing Andy Dalton here, but he belongs. The Red Rifle has been balling out in 2015, helping the Cincinnati Bengals become a legit AFC contender, but despite this, Dalton critics still want to bring up his playoff record. Continued success could finally help Dalton shed the “Dalton is mediocre” mantra that has so long dominated the conversation whenever the Cincinnati Bengals are involved. Here’s to hoping Dalton’s success will continue.

Next: NFL Power Rankings and Awards: Week 4

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