Quarterbacks are supposed to do a lot of things. Namely, they should be able to throw the ball well, avoid excessive mental mistakes, and lead their team, both vocally and through their play.
If those three staples reign true for signal-callers, then Andy Dalton is a pathetic excuse for an NFL quarterback. At least it seems so when it matters most.
The Bengals beat the Chargers earlier in the season, 17-10, in San Diego. They were undefeated at home all season long. Yet, none of that mattered in a performance that saw Dalton commit three turnovers.
The first was a 3rd and 14 play in which Dalton scrambled out of the pocket on a run. After picking up close to ten yards, he dove head first as he reached for the first down marker. Without being touched, he fumbled the football on the ground. Following that, Dalton threw two interceptions.
And these weren’t interceptions where blame could be placed on the receiver, or where the defender made an exceptional play. The first of these two throws was a terrible decision in the face of a San Diego blitz. The second of the two was an atrocious read on a crossing route.
At the beginning of the season, I set three, reachable standards I wanted Dalton to make in his third year as the Bengals quarterback.
The first was to throw for 4,000 yards, which he did. The second was to maintain a 2:1 touchdown-interception ratio, or at least get close to it. And most importantly, the third was to win a playoff game.
All of those standards were things I expected of him based on the talent surrounding him, along with the idea that a QB’s third year in the NFL is a benchmark year. It’s the year where a team has to make a decision on whether to keep investing in the talent they have, or start over.
And after all of the support, and all that Dalton has done, I just can’t bring myself to back him any longer.