NFL Cincinnati Bengals

5 Reasons Why Cincinnati Bengals Shouldn’t Give Up On Andy Dalton

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Reasons Why Bengals Shouldn't Give Up On Andy Dalton

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs for the third consecutive year in the Wild Card Round. However, this year was slightly different than the previous two. This year, the Bengals were set up with a home game and a favorable matchup. But after Sunday, this year ended just like the previous two did: with a loss.

Heading into the game versus the San Diego Chargers, the Bengals were faced with challenges and questions. Could the Bengals finally advance in the playoffs for the first time since 1990? Could they continue on with their undefeated home record this season? Cincinnati was facing a team that they already beat earlier this year, and making a run in the postseason seemed likely, but it was not to be for Andy Dalton and company.

Leading up to the game, questions were raised with Dalton's game. Is he capable of winning a playoff game, limiting turnovers, and playing well when it counts? For the third year in a row that was not the case, but that does not mean that the Bengals should give up on their starting quarterback.

In the three playoff games Dalton has played in, his touchdown to interception ratio is 1 to 6. When Dalton is on, he can be really good, but he is becoming prone to the turnover. During games against the Baltimore Ravens, he has turned the ball over multiple times, and that has been the same during the playoffs as well. Still, it is not time to panic in Cincy.

While the Bengals have been one-and-done three straight years, the blame cannot solely rest on the quarterback. For the Bengals to even reach the playoffs in three straight years should be a testament to Dalton. That feat has never been done in Cincinnati history. The Bengals are just one of five teams to play playoff football in each of the last three years since Dalton has been in the league. If you are looking at just the quarterback, Dalton joins only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers has guys to be quarterbacking in the playoffs the last three years.

For Bengal fans, the real culprit should go beyond the quarterback. If a quarterback change is in the works, it would be a costly decision. Here are five reasons why the Bengals should not give up on Andy Dalton.

Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Bengals Are Relevant Again

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The "Bungals" are long gone. There was a time where Cincinnati went a decade and a half without reaching the playoffs. During that time they had more draft pick busts then winning seasons. While they have not made it over the playoff hump, Cincy is at least getting there on a somewhat consistent basis. Would Bengal fans rather see Akili Smith under center again?

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4. Still Young Enough

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Dalton is only 26 years old and just entering his prime. He has completed three years in the league where he has not missed a start. In those three years his win total has increased each season. That is not something you just cut the cord on.

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3. A.J. Green

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A.J. Green is one of the top five wide receivers in the league. He is an awesome player, however, his playoff stats can be put into question as well. In the three games, Green is only averaging 4.3 catches, 53.6 yards, and has yet to reach the end zone. Green dropped a potential big-play touchdown against the Chargers, and if you want to be that big-time player, those catches need to be made.

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2. The Running Game

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In the playoffs, teams need to have a balanced attack to have success. In the Bengals three playoff games under Dalton, that balance has not been there. Cincinnati only averaged 90 yards on the ground in their playoff losses. In the playoffs, you have to be able to run the ball better then that.

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1. Coaching

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Marvin Lewis has done a tremendous job in his tenure with the Bengals. He has been on the verge of possibly being shown the door a few times, but through all of that, he has brought the Bengals back to recognition. Lewis has reached the playoffs five times in Cincinnati since 2005, but has been unable to crack the win column. In those five game, the most points Cincy has scored is just 17.

In the Dalton era, they are only averaging 11 points per game, and have been shutout twice in the second half. The Bengals have a top-10 offense, but in the playoffs, the play-calling and scheme has become much too conservative and complacent. These losses can be pinned to the coaching staff and not the quarterback.