Last Wednesday, sports analyst Colin Cowherd, on his show “The Herd,” decided to sum up every NFL team’s season in just three words. In the “3-word game,” Cowherd tossed a splash of criticism at Andy Dalton.
“Yeah, he’s still running the show.”
For the most part, Cowherd nailed it. The Cleveland Browns were tagged as “One-win wonders” and the Baltimore Ravens garnered the phrase, “Our kicker’s awesome.” Both are undeniably true as Cleveland did win just one game under former Bengals’ coordinator Hue Jackson and the Ravens had just one offensive skilled player in the Pro Bowl, fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
But then came the Bengals. Sitting at the number-nine spot in the NFL Draft after a 6-9-1 season, Cowherd gave Cincinnati these three words: Playmakers on three.
The phrase is referring to Dalton, who included those three words in a pre-game speech before the 2015 regular-season opener against Oakland. Yes, Cowherd dug back an entire year — even though the segment was for the 2016 season — to find the quote that best sums up the Bengals.
Besides the New England Patriots, Cowherd spent the most time on the Bengals, playing the entire speech Dalton gave his team in the Oakland Coliseum tunnel that day.
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"“Hey, it’s week one, now, first chance to show who we are. Let’s play smart, let’s play fast, let’s play physical. That’s what they always preach. Let’s go do this together. Playmakers on three. 1, 2, 3, (all) playmakers.”"
Worth noting that day Dalton threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Bengals get their first-ever win in Oakland.
Yes, it’s long been discovered that Dalton is not the best speech giver. He has the casual, nice-guy tone that isn’t suited for passionate presentations similar to Aaron Rodgers‘ “Not here, not ever!” commercial.
But the way Cowherd ended the portion on the Bengals is the mind-boggling part — “Yeah, he’s still running the show.”
The segment aimed at summing up each team’s 2016 season. If you hadn’t watched one team all year, just three words were supposed to give you an idea of how the season went for said club.
“Yeah, he’s still running the show,” implies that the Bengals’ first losing season since 2010 was somehow Dalton’s fault. If anything is true from Cowherd’s analysis, it’s that he didn’t watch a single Bengals’ game in 2016.
To make Dalton liable for last season is moronic. Without some of his…. playmakers — A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill — he posted the second 4,000-yard season of his career, set a career-high in completions (364) and went to his third Pro Bowl, all the while getting sacked 41 times, the second-highest total of his career.
Dalton also posted a 91.8 passer rating. It’s the highest for any of the five years he’s played an entire season. The Rifle was the only quarterback in team history to start all 16 games and throw single-digit interceptions (8). Did I mention he was throwing to first-year Bengal Brandon LaFell and other receivers — James Wright, Cody Core, Tyler Boyd — with little to no NFL experience?
Since he uttered the quote that Cowherd so elegantly played on his show, Dalton is 16-12-1 as a starter. He owns a 65.4 completion percentage, 7,456 yards, 43 passing touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Yes, Colin, he is still running the show.