Was Andy Dalton’s recent three game tear of 300+ yards per game and a touchdown/interception ratio of 11:2 just a mishap?
I say no, that was not just a mistake. You don’t accidentally have the best year of your professional career to date. Dalton has finally clicked with his weapons on offense and they will be hard to stop for the rest of the year despite losing Thursday night 22-20 in overtime to the Dolphins.
Dalton threw for 336 yards Thursday night, but that was overshadowed by the three interceptions he threw, including a costly pick six in the red zone. He would have had a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, but it was called back on a Jermaine Gresham holding penalty. Dalton can only do so much to help the team and he can not control his teammates to not hold.
Clearly AJ Green is the staple in the Bengals’ offense but Dalton and Jones have been clicking more and more as the weeks go by. This has helped Dalton develop the mindset that the success of the offense does not just depend on Green. Having trust in his other receivers has led Dalton to being able to spread the ball around more, leading to more yards and offensive success.
Obviously Dalton is still young, so he is going to make mistakes. You cannot expect someone in only their third season to come out and play like Peyton Manning on a consistent basis. However, the past month he has shown he has the potential to play to a Pro Bowl level and I think he will be able to keep it up. Football is a mental game, and if Andy Dalton has the confidence in himself and believes he can play all the time like he did in the month of October, he will be able to turn the corner in his career.
The critics always say that the performance of Andy Dalton will be what makes or breaks the Bengals. So far, Dalton has had a pretty good season, leading the team to a 4-1 record in their last five games. The four straight games of 300+ yards were definitely not a mistake for Dalton, and I believe he has taken the next step in his career and shown that he is capable of being the leader that the Bengals have been looking for to take their team to the playoffs and make it out of the first round. Dalton’s bad day in Miami may have ended his hot streak but it will not stunt the growth of his playing ability.