For the second week in a row, the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Andy Dalton didn’t have a turnover in a convincing victory for his side. The Bengals added the Kansas City Chiefs‘ name to the New York Giants‘ in order to create their second winning streak of the season. Victory over the Chiefs brought the Bengals back into the playoff hunt, as they now stand at 5-5 for the season, but it also officially brought Dalton out of his second season funk.
Through eight games of the season, Dalton had at least one turnover in every single game of the season. A total of 13 turnovers had come from the quarterback. Against the Giants and Chiefs, Dalton has thrown six touchdown passes with no interceptions or fumbles. Improved play from his offensive line has given the Dalton more time to work with in the pocket, while his own composure has allowed him to take advantage of it.
Furthermore, the development of his receivers has helped Dalton get into rhythm during games and that has resulted in a completion percentage hovering around 70 percent over the last two games. Completing passes hasn’t been an issue for Dalton during his second season, but getting the best out of his weapons has been.
AJ Green has produced consistently all season, but even when he was having good games, Dalton was still consistently missing big play opportunities for Green because of his accuracy. That hasn’t been as big of an issue over the past two games, as Dalton has consistently linked up with all of his receivers, not just Green. That said, Green has remained the focal point of the offense with 13 receptions for 176 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are not season highs by any means, but the limitations on his production are now a result of Dalton spreading the ball around rather than him missing Green.
Tight End Jermaine Gresham has come up with nine receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Mohamed Sanu has added six receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns. The development of those two receivers as consistent difference-makers for Dalton has pulled some of the attention away from Green, while also giving Dalton the confidence that he can go elsewhere with the football if Green is covered, on those rare occasions at least.
Sanu and Gresham must continue to produce in order to keep Dalton’s good run going. Defeating the Giants and Chiefs’ defenses doesn’t exactly scream playoff caliber, but the Bengals’ easy schedule should allow him to continue his rich form for the rest of the season.