The Cincinnati Bengals made their biggest statement of the season as they knocked off the undefeated New England Patriots 13-6 in a rainy environment that is suited for a defense to take over, and the Bengals’ defense certainly did that as Tom Brady and his streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass came to an end.
What does this win mean going forward? It means the Bengals took a step in the right direction, but many questions remain about quarterback Andy Dalton.
As mentioned, it was a very rainy day Bengals land, but Dalton and the Bengals’ offense has had only one touchdown in the last two weeks with all the talent the Bengals have on that side of the ball. On the year, Dalton has five touchdowns and five interceptions with 1,215 yards passing, which is ranked 16th in the NFL.
Dalton has no excuses. He has more talent around him than any other quarterback in the AFC North. A lot of people expect the Bengals to take this division this year with the roster turnover the Baltimore Ravens have had and the struggles the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently going through.
Having a talent in wide receiver A.J. Green, and one of the best pair of tight ends in the NFL in Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert should be more than enough for Dalton lead the Bengals deep into the playoffs.
Adding to that, the most underrated aspect of the Bengals’ offense might be their offensive line. According to ProFootballFocus, they ranked the Bengals’ offensive line at no. 1 with 37.1 positive points to their credit. Dalton certainly can’t complain about not having time in the pocket.
Despite Dalton’s issues, give credit to the Patriots’ defense and the Cleveland Browns‘ defense over the last two weeks as they both have proven to be stout early this season. But at the end of the day, it isn’t how you win, but the fact that you won. This is the AFC North. Wins are not pretty in this division. You take what you can get and move on.
But in the long run, the questions surrounding Dalton will remain. If the Bengals can’t take care of the Buffalo Bills this week when the Bills just brought up their practice squad quarterback to start, it will be a huge setback for Dalton and the Bengals’ organization.