There are times when a loss can be accredited to a team effort, a bad call, or just because the other team was better. Then there are times when a player is responsible of a loss because he can’t deliver right when his team needs him the most.
The latter is exactly what happened to Andy Dalton in the AFC Wild Card Round; the Cincinnati Bengals had a three-point lead at halftime against the San Diego Chargers, but an awful performance from the signal-caller in the second half allowed San Diego to comeback, and the visitors eventually won the game 27-10, advancing to the Divisional Round of the AFC.
Dalton was just dreadful, but his second half performance was, by far, his worst outing of the season. The Bengals couldn’t put points on the board in the last 30 minutes of the contest and Dalton was unable to even move the chains on a consistent basis.
The third-year QB couldn’t involve A.J. Green in the passing game, as much as he should have done it – Green only had three receptions and 34 yards – and his overall stats showed his inability to perform right when the Bengals needed it. Dalton did surpass the 300-yards mark, but he only threw one TD pass and completed 29-of-51 passes to go along with two interceptions and a lost fumble. The picks and the loose ball all occurred in the second half when the Bengals were already trailing.
The loss ends the Bengals’ season, and maybe they should start questioning if really want to build their team around Dalton. It’s the third straight year he is unable to win a playoff game; maybe Cincinnati needs to re-think in which direction the franchise will go from here. Clearly Dalton seems unable to perform under pressure and once again, he proved that right now, he is not capable of leading a team into a deep title run.