Andy Dalton's Consistency:
There were questions about Dalton's leadership after two consecutive games without a touchdown(and an interception) as young, talented Cincinnati Bengals' offense did not look explosive at it should have.
With many playmakers, such as Giovani Bernard, Tyler Eifert, Jermaine Gresham, A.J. Green, and Mohamed Sanu surrounding the young third-year quarterback on offense, there's no excuse for not easily winning more games as the Bengals progress throughout the season. Dalton is coming off of an spectacular performance against the New York Jets, throwing for five touchdowns and one interception.
It's now safe to say Andy "The Red Rifle" Dalton is now on a hot streak:
- First 4 games(2-2): 5 TDS, 4 INT, 1003 YDS, 65.15%
- Last 4 games(4-0): 11 TDS, 3 INT, 1246 YDS, 68.25%
After two consecutive games without a touchdown, and an interception. Dalton has strung together three game streak with three touchdowns or more(11 touchdowns in three games), and only two interceptions.
If Andy Dalton can continue to spread the ball around like he did against the Jets, the Bengals will be a force to reckon with as they progress to the playoffs, and hopefully beyond the first round -- the Bengals could possibly be a Super Bowl contender if Dalton continues to play at this level.
There's a reason the Bengals' overall defense is ranked No. 8 in the NFL, with possibly the NFL's best defensive tackle in Geno Atkins(5.0 sacks), a deadly double-threat combination of outside linebackers in Vontaze Burfict and James Harrison(3.0 sacks, 1 INT combined) , and two dynamic defense ends in Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson(5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles combined), with these players stacking up in the box, the Bengals are able to provide a vigorous pass rush, and limiting opposing offenses to 97.2 rushing yards per game.
The Bengals' vigorous pass rush helps the struggling secondary as quarterbacks are forced to make quick decisions that often lead to interceptions, without Leon Hall(ACL injury), the Bengals have cornerbacks Terence Newman(1 INT), Dre Kirkpatrick, and Adam "Pacman" Jones (2 INTs) who have been mediocre this season.
As long as the Bengals' passing offense can stay consistent with Andy Dalton, now would be a good time to establish their running game. The Bengals have done a good job splitting carries between Benjarvus Green-Ellis, and Giovani Bernard, as Bernard looks to take over majority of the carries in the next season or two.
Bernard has no question been the most productive back of the two:
- 72 attempts, 282 yards, 3.9 AVG
- 26 receptions, 242 yards, 9.3 AVG
- 110 attempts, 352 yards, 3.2 AVG
- 2 receptions, 9 yards, 4.5 AVG
The Bengals have done a great job of utilizing Giovani Bernard's speed as they work him into taking carries, and as they use him as a receiving-running back, opposing defenses have also been confused by the daul-threat at the running back position, as Bernard brings versatility of catching and running.
-If the Bengals can continue to utilize these three factors, success will come their way.