Dec 6, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) calls a play during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
1. Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton was a top-five quarterback all season long, until he sustained a thumb injury while Russell Wilson went on a scorching hot streak. Dalton finished third among quarterbacks in fan voting, so it’s safe to say that his peers and NFL coaches still don’t give him the respect he deserves.
However, Andy Dalton is the first alternate at quarterback. Still, he deserves the nod.
Among NFL passers, Dalton ranks third in passer rating (106.3), fourth in yards per attempt (8.42) and eighth in completion percentage (66.1). Before missing the final four games of the season (minus the first drive of the Steelers game), Dalton threw for 3,250 yards and 25 touchdowns. He was only picked off seven times and sacked 20 times.
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The Red Rifle passed for over 300 yards in four of his 12 games (13 if you count the second Steelers game), he tossed multiple touchdown passes in nine of those 12 games and he went interception-free in seven of those games, as well. He also scored at least three touchdowns (either passing or rushing) in seven games.
Statistically speaking, Dalton only had two bad games.
Dalton’s first bad game came in the Bengals’ 16-10 victory over the Steelers. He threw two picks and only one touchdown, although the touchdown was a game-winner coming in the fourth quarter. Dalton went 23-for-38 with 231 passing yards in Cincinnati’s win.
His second bad game came in the Bengals’ first loss of the season. When Cincinnati lost to the Houston Texans, Dalton passed for 197 yards, only completing 22 of his 39 passes. The Bengals needed just a touchdown in the second half to win the game, but Dalton couldn’t deliver.
That being said, Dalton had only two bad games in the entire 2015 season–three if you count his one bad drive against the Steelers in Week 14 as a bad game.
For perspective, 2015 Pro Bowlers Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers had three games with a passer rating under 90.0 each. Dalton had just one–two, if you count the second Steelers game where he only played in one drive.
Next: 2. Adam Jones