After shredding the Cleveland Browns, Andy Dalton is looking like the 2015 MVP candidate. The Bengals’ season could turn around quickly.
It took two weeks and the firing of an offensive coordinator, but the Andy Dalton of 2015 seems to be back. With a Week 4 dismantling of the Cleveland Browns, Dalton showed why he gets the big cash. It was a game that had to be won and there was a serious need to prove that the offense was trending upwards. The Bengals were able to accomplish both tasks, as they stomped the Browns 31-7.
Before you decide to get that “stank face” attitude about the 0-4 Browns, take a look at what had been happening before they played the Bengals. Prior to losing their fourth straight game, the Brownies played well against Pittsburgh (21-18) and Indianapolis (31-28). They were putting points on the board before the Bengals realized Ken Zampese had to go. So, there’s an element of competition there whether it’s acknowledged or not. The team is capable of scoring. Even their loss to the Ravens was a decent effort.
No, this is not a rah-rah testimonial for Dalton. But, it’s funny how changing the flavor of the OC can have such a tremendous bearing on his play.
If you want the dirty little numbers, take a look at what’s next. Under Zampese, Dalton went 36-of-66 for a 54.5 percent completion ratio and a QB rating of 44. Bill Lazor takes the reins and Dalton soars to 46-of-57 under his tutelage. His completion percentage shoots to 80.7 and his rating is an astronomical 138.2 with six touchdowns. Yeah, there was a disconnect with Ken.
Two Weeks Better
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The average Bengals fan will have a slew of excuses to toss into the mix. It was the Browns, Gregg Williams’ defense came out flat and it was a rookie quarterback. In Week 2, rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson beat Cincinnati with a long third-down scramble. Using DeShone Kizer as an excuse isn’t sound reasoning.
Dalton stepped up and got the job done. It was almost as if he channeled himself from the 2015 season and dared the Browns to stop him. It was a must-win game that could have easily gone the other way. Just think back to Dalton’s Thursday Night Football meltdown three years ago. In that nightmare, Andy had a QBR of 2.0. Let that sink in.
This two-game stretch doesn’t mean the Bengals are going to the Super Bowl. But, it does signal a turnaround for the team. With Dalton coming to life and the defense playing like crazed studs, there’s a good chance this team can make a run for the postseason. Both units are peaking and poised to do some damage.
"“We’ve got a lot of guys in here with a lot of talent. A lot,” cornerback Adam Jones offered. “Offense. Defense. Whatever it is. At the end of the day we didn’t end up in the right column after three games. But there’s a lot of positives offense and defense. I think we’re in a great position.”"
Keep It Going
With the Buffalo Bills coming into the Jungle for a Week 5 matchup, it doesn’t get any easier. The Bills’ defense held the high-flying Atlanta Falcons in check. Through four weeks, Buffalo has given up one TD through the air. The Dirty Birds didn’t have the services of Mohamed Sanu or Julio Jones, but the Bills held on.
Lazor and Dalton will have to get the ball out just as quickly against a solid defense. Wasn’t it nice seeing Dalton scramble when things broke down? If the last two weeks have been a fluke, the next home game will be the telling factor.
Finally, if the offense and defense come together for another combined Browns-like domination, Dalton and the Bengals should be fine. For now, this is the Good Andy fans have been waiting on.