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Will Bengals fans see Good or Bad Andy against Steelers?

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PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 22: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass in the first half during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 22, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 22: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass in the first half during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 22, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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There’s no doubt about it. Andy Dalton will be an important cog in Monday night’s Bengals and Steelers primetime matchup.

In four days, the Cincinnati Bengals will be fighting for their playoff lives. A Monday night brawl with the Steelers will help prove if they’re worthy of postseason play or if they need to concentrate on building for the future. A huge part of that decision will rest on the shoulders of quarterback Andy Dalton. Love him or hate him, he’s the face of the franchise and it all goes through The Rifle.

For all the good that Dalton has had happened and brought to the shores of the ‘Nati, He’s woefully inadequate against the Steelers. In the forgettable meetings, Dalton is 3-10 career against the dudes from the Northeast. And he isn’t setting the rivalry on fire with 15 TDs and 13 INTs.

But, since the earlier meeting with the Steelers, Dalton hasn’t tossed a single interception (140 passes). In four of the five games, Dalton has posted a QBR of 100 or better. He’s been able to toss 18 touchdowns to four picks, under the watchful gaze of Bill Lazor. But, there’s a downside to the fuzzy feelings. Dalton’s accuracy has fluctuated. Thus, the concern over who shows up for Monday Night Football.

Good Andy 

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This is the QB that the Bengals have given the keys to the kingdom. He is the quick-triggered Ginger who almost led the Bengals to the Promised Land in 2015. He is the Dalton of legend who threw 25 touchdowns, had a completion percentage of 66.1 and first triple-digit QBR of 106.3.

Good Andy Dalton is the athlete who makes good decisions with the football and doesn’t hesitate. He’s ready to tuck the ball away and run for the yardage if receivers are covered and he sees the Red Sea parting in front of him.

He’s the vocal and emotional leader who lets his actions and body mechanics show he’s in the flow of the game. Essentially, Dalton plays like Ken Anderson on steroids when he’s in this persona.

Bad Andy

He’s terrible (insert Charles Barkley voice) and more. Holds the ball way too long and looks like he’s never been in an NFL game. Bad Andy Dalton tends to panic and search for the quickest dump-off for the football. Yes, he’s accurate when pressured. But, it’s just the opposite with Bad Andy. He throws into double and triple coverage, makes his targets jump for the ball or throws behind them.

When he has a drive going, he throws interceptions to quickly silence any chance of a comeback. Bad Dalton will bring a slouched posture to the huddle and walk off the field looking as if it’s everyone else to blame. He’ll throw anyone under the bus in an indirect manner, instead of addressing the issue with himself.

So far, the preliminary outlook is for Dalton to don the former persona.

"“We want to win. For us to get to where we want to be at the end of the year, this one is really important for us. We’re playing a good team. To win this one would obviously mean a lot, just for where we are trying to go, but also to show what kind of team we are. We’re facing a really good team.”"

Dalton is awake and focused, during press conferences. But, talk is cheap. The real answer comes on the field. And, hopefully, Good Andy will be delivering the postgame messages.

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