This was originally published in The Athletic...
Andy Dalton had his worst season last year by almost any measurement. But even as he posted career lows in completion percentage, yards-per-game, and QBR, he played a 10-game stretch from weeks three through 12 in which he completed just over 63 percent of his passes, had a passer rating of 103.2, threw 20 touchdowns and had just four interceptions. Those numbers aren’t eye-popping, and they weren’t accompanied by more Bengals wins than losses – they went just 5-5 during that stretch – but they illustrate that even in an otherwise down season, Dalton was still capable of playing, well, capably.
Consider the context of the season. The Bengals had the lowest-ranked offense in the NFL in 2017, with a porous offensive line, no consistent running game to speak of and aside from A.J. Green, no real playmakers among his passing targets. There was a change in offensive coordinator after two games as the team switched from the in-over-his-head Ken Zampese to Bill Lazor, who lacked the time to install a completely new offense.
And yet for a pretty sizable stretch, Dalton kept the Bengals offense at least marginally functional, helping his team’s record from completely cratering in what was an otherwise miserable season.
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic.
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