Andy Dalton Has come of age as a signal-caller. But, that also means the blame is on him when things go wrong. Many times it’s not fair.
As the Cincinnati Bengals head into the Bye Week, there are tons of things that need to be corrected. But, the one thing they can be confident about is Andy Dalton. The Red Rifle is on pace to do some damage in the league. But, no matter how well Dalton plays, there are always the whispers of how he should be better. Even though the Bengals’ signal-caller has matured, he needs help. He can’t do it alone.
We had so many opportunities.
After putting up more than decent numbers in London, fans are getting restless. Stats look good but don’t necessarily convert to wins. With Dalton having a great year statistically, the subtle cries are going out for A.J. McCarron. Sorry, it ain’t happenin’. This is Andy’s squad.
The tie with Washington wasn’t his fault. The last time I watched a football game (which happened to be the London brawl), there were 11 guys on offense and another 11 on defense. If one unit isn’t carrying the other, there’s going to be cause for alarm.
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Focus Under Fire
Dalton has been able to keep the Bengals in all of their games. Behind an offensive line that isn’t as steady as designed to be on paper, The Ginger has been able to stay focused and create something from nothing. Cedric Ogbuehi has been on a steady diet of pass rushers. So far, he’s a slow learner. Lewis and Co. have decided to put him on a rotation with Eric Winston. Hopefully, things will start to click.
Meanwhile, Dalton is running for his life. The Bengals’ O-line provided spectacular protection for Dalton, during the 2015 campaign. He was sacked only 20 times in the regular season games he played. So far, this year, he’s been dumped 19 times through eight games. Without much time to throw, Andy’s precision has been more than adequate. When things break down, he has to react quickly.
He’s acquired the ability to make something out of nothing.
Offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is well aware of the situation and praised his quarterback. Per The Cincinnati Enquirer, Zampese explained what Dalton’s experiencing.
"“He’s getting more out of each play. He’s milking each play for more than he did before. And in that, we’ve seen the creativity. Those kinds of things, not that they didn’t happen before – just more things like that happen more often.”"
The Blame Game
Blaming Dalton for fumbling away the Bengals’ chance at beating the Redskins is ludicrous (not the rapper, that’s Ludacris). Yes, he lost the ball. But, that’s not the issue. This is where the “team” concept comes into play. Mike Nugent left a grand total of four points on the turf of Wembley Stadium. But, in the grand scheme of the battle, it wasn’t ultimately Nugent’s fault either.
Kirk Cousins shredded the Bengals secondary for 458 yards. That, my dear readers, is a defensive breakdown.
Oh. About that fumble?
“We had so many opportunities in this one that could allow us to win the game,” Dalton explained in London. “We weren’t able to make the play. I had a big part in that. Obviously the fumble at the end. The last drive of the fourth quarter that we had. Again, opportunities, but just let it slip away.”
It’s nice to hear the word “we” in the explanation. The Bengals didn’t get it done against the Skins. But, it wasn’t all on Andy. He can’t do it alone.