CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball upfield during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Andy Dalton's play has garnered attention for offensive rookie of the year, which earlier in the year, seemed Cam Newton's to lose. Dalton has impressed Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who claims, "Right now I think -- and I don’t know how the talk is -- but he’s Rookie of the Year." Roethlisberger, won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award himself in 2004.
The biggest thing going in Dalton's favor is the fact that the Bengals are in playoff contention, whereas the Carolina Panthers are sitting at 3-8. With five games left the play, the Bengals are currently in the playoffs and only one game behind the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Newton counters with his impressive statistics. He has 584 more passing yards, 383 more rushing yards, and nine more rushing touchdowns than Dalton. Dalton counters with four more touchdown passes and a better touchdown - interception ratio. They are almost identical when it comes to completion percentage and passer rating.
The final factor for rookie of the year is hype. Newton won a national championship and Heisman Trophy last year at Auburn. He was also the number one pick in the draft and has embraced the media spotlight. Newton's early season performances have also left a huge impression. In his first game as a pro he passed for 422 yards, followed with 432 yards the very next week against the Green Bay Packers.
Finally, there are also a couple of dark-horse candidates for offensive rookie of the year. A.J. Green, leads all rookies in receptions with 44 and touchdowns with six. Demarco Murray has racked up 834 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per carry.