“One and Done.” That has been the story of the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs under head coach Marvin Lewis. The team gets into the playoffs and that is it. They just cannot win the big game.
Since the team is labeled that and the head coach is labeled that, then it automatically means that the starting quarterback is labeled that as well. This season, Andy Dalton and the Bengals are hoping to end that talk of them being a “One and Done” football team. Is it possible for the 2013 AFC North Champions to win a playoff game this season? Yes, the team plays excellent at home and will be favored against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. However, if the Bengals win that game, the big question is still left: Can Andy Dalton take his Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl?
Let’s examine the players around Dalton first.
The defense of the Bengals is a good one. The team cannot only shut you down when you try to run the ball, but the team also knows how to make you turn the ball over in big situations. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens, especially after their loss to the Bengals in Week 17.
The weapons that the Bengals’ organization has surrounded Dalton with are some of the best in the NFL. The team went out last season and drafted an electric multi-threat running back in Giovani Bernard to compliment their veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The receiving corps on this team is excellent. Marvin Jones is a monster when he is in the red-zone. Then, there is one of the best wide receivers in the game today, A.J. Green. Green can make any quarterback look like the next Joe Montana with his combination of skill, height and hands. These guys make the Bengals an offense that teams just do not want to go up against in the playoffs. They can just beat you in so many ways.
That comes back to the quarterback, Andy Dalton. Yes, he has the weapons around him to get the job done, but does he have what it takes to get Cincinnati to the Super Bowl? I just have not seen it come out of him yet during his career.
Dalton is 0-2 in the playoffs since becoming the starting quarterback of the Bengals. Dalton has thrown for four interceptions combined in his two playoff games and has yet to throw a postseason touchdown. These are not numbers that you want to see from your starting quarterback.
Then you have the game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. Dalton threw for three interceptions against the Ravens, but still hung on to win the game. Are these the numbers of a quarterback that could win the Super Bowl? Yes, he won the game against a struggling Baltimore Ravens. Would it be the same result against the likes of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?
The one silver lining in 2013 is that Dalton was 4-0 against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks at home this season, beating the likes of Ben Roethlisberger , Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Joe Flacco. Those are some pretty impressive guys to beat, but that was at his home field. Can he do the same on the road, in the playoffs?
The answers to these questions are still to be determined, but so far in his young career, Andy Dalton has done nothing to show me that he will take his team to Super Bowl XLVIII this season. I believe that this is the year he wins his first playoff game, but I do not believe that this is the year that he will raise the Lombardi Trophy.