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Yes, Blame Andy Dalton For Cincy’s Loss

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Yes, Blame Andy Dalton For Cincy’s Loss

 

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Most people are finding it difficult to blame, fault and/or criticize Andy Dalton for the Bengals loss in Arizona Sunday night.

I’m not.

Dalton played selfishly during Cincinnati’s final offensive possession, and it allowed the Cardinals to win the game, 34-31, in regulation with a short field goal. That’s the cold, hard truth from Sunday Night Football.

The two long throws down the right sideline to A.J. Green during the Bengals’ final drive were more than just bad decisions executed poorly by Dalton. They were desperate attempts by Dalton to play superhero and shake the game-manager label. On the road against a top opponent, Dalton wanted Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to frame his Joe Montana moment. Instead, the pair of deep-ball incompletions stopped the clock and opened the door for former Cincy QB Carson Palmer to author his Tom Brady moment.

We spent all last week debating Cam Newton’s “hey look at me” endzone dance. I had no problem with either side of the discussion. But Dalton’s late-game performance was way more “hey look at me” than anything Newton has done this season. In the final minutes, Dalton looked like an average QB still hurt by and overreacting to J.J. Watt’s “Red Ryder BB Gun” burn from a week ago.

On third and 2 at the Arizona 25 with one minute, 14 seconds to play, the fifth-year quarterback underthrew Green streaking down the sideline against a backup Cardinals corner. The ball bounced off the defender’s shoulder pads and helmet and Green somehow snagged the ball but one foot stepped out of bounds.

“Andy, he’s going to us in the play he feels is best versus the defense,” Cincy head coach Marvin Lewis said. “He took the one-on-one shot to A.J. and we didn’t get our feet in.”

Lewis’ comment is a clear indication that Dalton audibled to the pass. The play-call from the sideline likely had a run-pass option and the pass option more than likely had safer routes than Green tiptoeing the sideline. Green, long and fast, is a big-time deep threat. The problem is, Dalton has traditionally been a poor long-ball thrower. Over the course of his first four seasons, Dalton connected on 34 of 128 passes that traveled 21 to 30 yards. Last season, Pro Football Focus rated Dalton the league’s worst passer in this category.   

This season, he’s improved, hitting 10 of 23. No matter, it’s not his strong suit. Sunday night he targeted Green 12 times, completing four. Set up with first and 10 at the Arizona 33 with 83 seconds on the clock, Dalton threw deep to Green on first and third downs, picked up eight yards with a short throw to Marvin Jones on second down and burned 15 seconds total from the clock. The Cardinals had no timeouts. It’s inexcusable Arizona got the ball back with more than a minute to play.

You can blame Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. That’s a copout. They put the ball in their veteran quarterback’s hands and Dalton selfishly mishandled the situation. Cincy’s defense, particularly its secondary, was decimated by injuries. The Bengals needed their quarterback to take a global view and protect his teammates. The play calls gave Dalton the right tools. You run the football on first or third down and milk the clock. You don’t audible to a low-percentage, greedy hero play.

“You’re trying to win the game,” Dalton told Cincinnati reporters after the game. “There are two ways of thinking of it. Yeah, you don’t want to leave time on the clock but you also want to try and win and we had a chance. It was close. I left it a little short and that would have won the game for us. It’s tough. We left too much time.”

Clueless statement by Dalton (and his defenders). The would-be touchdown pass to Green wouldn’t have won the game. Had he touched his feet in bounds, Palmer would’ve had five extra seconds (Cincy’s field goal burned five seconds) to get the game-winning touchdown against a worn-out, overmatched defense. The Cardinals reached the Cincy 27 and spiked the ball with 20 seconds to play.

There’s a reason Andy Dalton is 4-9 in “primetime” games and 0-4 in the playoffs. The details matter. It takes more than big balls to master the big moments. It takes composure. Dalton lost his.

As it relates to football, we all tend to evaluate selfishness by a player’s postgame comments (Ezekiel Elliott, Keyshawn Johnson “throw me the damn ball”) or demonstrative celebrations (Cam Newton’s dabbing).

Quarterbacks can be selfish in all sorts of subtle, hidden ways. We saw it Sunday night.

http://j.school/post/133801911185/yes-blame-andy-dalton-for-cincys-loss

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We lost the game due to our defense allowing too many points, ...nuff said.

Oh, ...and the dumbest penalties on the face of this planet.

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Jason Whitlock has been a hack for a loooooong time.  When you see him, tell I said, "fuck off".

I agree, ...he had to take his shot downfield if we were to win the game and our D just wasn't getting it done, ...this writer is wrong.

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I agree, he was trying to be a hero and show he is better than Carson (he failed). He made the Bengals lose singlehandedly.

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I agree, he was trying to be a hero and show he is better than Carson (he failed). He made the Bengals lose singlehandedly.

Singlehandedly?  I'd say we lost the game because of our defense.

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Singlehandedly?  I'd say we lost the game because of our defense.

If Dalton wouldn't have tried to be a hero, Bengals would have won. Guaranteed.

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We are in trouble.

No Pac and we lost Dennard, ...the D crapped the bed, ...and this will keep happening if we don't get Pac back soon.

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Oh, ...and somebody in the Bengals please give Pac a long term contract, ...dude's proved his worth a 1000 times over.

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Bruce Arians baited him. He threw out a shiny lure and Dalton bit. Eli Manning bit on the same play. Ariens played the odds. Let Dalton throw the long ball because Daltons percentages of long ball completion are low. As you just mentioned Bruce Arians went after Andy Dalton's ego.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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