Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton has plenty of reasons to lack a little conference heading into his team’s bye week.
After throwing seven interceptions through the first eight games, Dalton has thrown eight picks the last three weeks (two were returned for touchdowns). Dalton’s passer rating was 62.7 in Cincinnati’s recent win against the Cleveland Browns. The offense was booed by Bengals fans after Dalton threw two interceptions within his team’s first five drives (three possessions resulted in punts) on Sunday.
Dalton remains undaunted.
“I’m confident as ever,” Dalton told Cincinnati.com. “We’re in a really good position right now. You have to have confidence. For us, as a team, we feel like we’re in control of everything and that’s where we want to be at this point.”
That is one way to look at it.
Cincinnati (7-4) is the AFC North’s top team, and barring an unlikely collapse, the Bengals will win this division. Dalton’s team is also in the mix for the No.2 seed in the AFC, which is another bright spot.
Of course, Dalton has thrown at least one interception in four straight games, including eight in his last three, but the quarterback believes there is a logical explanation for his struggles.
“We’ve played some good teams and played some good defenses,” Dalton told Cincinnati.com “That’s what it comes down to. Shoot, you look at last week’s game and we got down quick – obviously had two turnovers – but things happen and we’re up 31-13 and the way you go about the rest of the game is going to be different because you have that lead and because of the weather and things like that.”
Dalton, who has thrown 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions this season, has avoided major criticism because of Cincinnati’s success, but the scrutiny will intensify in the postseason. The quarterback has an 0-2 postseason record, and thrown four interceptions and no touchdowns in the playoffs. Dalton’s passer rating was 51.4 against Houston in the 2011 playoffs, and that number dropped to 44.7 against the Texans during another postseason loss last season.
He may have confidence now, but Dalton should be a little apprehensive considering his track record.
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