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Has Andy Dalton hit rock bottom?
Dalton’s 2017 debut was as bad as he’s ever been. He finished his day against the Ravens 16-of-31 passing for 170 yards and no touchdowns, four interceptions and a lost fumble. Multiple red zone turnovers. Sacked five times. Oh, and the Bengals were blanked by the Ravens.
All that being said, there’s nowhere to go but up for the Red Rifle. And it helps that the last time he was this bad, he bounced back nicely.
For a Dalton start this bad, we’re going back to the 2014 season against the Browns. Dalton finished with 86 yards on 33 attempts and three picks in a 24-3 loss to the Browns, so this is probably the previous marker for rock bottom. The following week, Dalton threw for 220 yards and three scores on the road against New Orleans.
Dalton goes on the road to face the Texans this week, a team that is very capable of keeping up the pressure. Some of the blame for last week goes on the Bengals line, which is down two starters from last year. If a team rushes four and blankets A.J. Green, is that enough to shut down the Bengals?
After Green’s five catches, Brandon LaFell was the only receiver to have more than one catch (3). Dalton has a talented stable of backs to work with, but needs to spread the ball around to keep the defense guessing.
Look, when a team gets down early, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s no surprise Dalton played as badly as he did last week, but he did lead them down to the redzone three times. It didn’t equal any points, but it speaks to the fact that Cincinnati was in fact able to move the ball last week.
Bad games will happen. Andy Dalton gets a bad rep as it is, and he’ll bounce back as long as A.J. Green is healthy.
Projection: 19-31, 213 yards 1 touchdown
Recommendation: Low end QB1