Andy Dalton Eyes Own Franchise Record In Season Finale

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The Bengals are 3-1 this season when Andy Dalton throws for 300-plus yards. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The Bengals are 3-1 this season when Andy Dalton throws for 300-plus yards. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

What’s At Stake

Dalton has been quietly good in such a down season. His 17 passing touchdowns might throw you away from that hypothesis, but heading into Sunday he needs 314 passing yards against Baltimore to break his own franchise record for most passing yards in a single season.

Dalton set his current record of 4,293 passing yards in 2013, the same year he won the first of his two AFC North championships. That season, he also set a franchise record with 33 touchdowns through the air.

But 2016 has been more impressive. In 2013, he threw 20 interceptions, that has dropped by 12 this year. If he doesn’t throw two picks on Sunday, he will be the only quarterback in Bengals’ history to throw less than 10 interceptions in a season while starting every game.

Also, one has to consider the cast he was working with. Through 15 games, he’s completed passes to four Bengals (Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd, Cody Core, and Alex Erickson) he had never thrown to before and four more with limited experience with him heading into this season. Tight ends Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah each had one reception from Dalton in 2015, James Wright had five catches in ’14, and H-back Ryan Hewitt sprinkled in 16 receptions in two seasons.

Despite the new targets, Dalton has turned LaFell into a quality No. 2 receiver,  Boyd is 4th among rookies in receptions (52) and yards (564), and Core has turned some heads with his ability to stretch the field in recent weeks.

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