The general hubbub about the Cincinnati Bengals is that they're growing on people. Not simply for being 6-2; rather winning six of their first eight following an offseason that was at one point viewed as being one of the worst in franchise history. Andy Dalton is slowly becoming the face of those impressions. Even though the truth as we know it is that it's more than just Dalton; this is the most cohesive and complete team that Marvin Lewis has ever fielded.
So what are they saying around the league?
Peter King, ranking the Bengals 13th in his top-15, writes:
I have to say that I'd to switch to Andy Dalton as my offensive rookie of the year, a week after I chose Cam Newton in SI.com's midseason report. The rookie out of TCU is 6-2, Newton's 2-6, and like Newton, Dalton walks into the offensive huddle like he owns the place.
+ One of the things that Clark Judge likes after week nine are the Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals were supposed to be one of the league's bottom feeders, but they're not. Instead, they're tied for first in the AFC North, and I can tell you why: Andy Dalton. He doesn't play like a rookie quarterback. I understand the attention Cam Newton's getting in Carolina and how he's energized the Panthers, but I also understand this: Dalton has more touchdown passes, a higher completion percentage and a 6-2 record.
+ Sports Illustrated's Don Banks reflects on Cincinnati's four-game winning streak, dating back to the Sam Wyche era with a rookie quarterback that could be giving Cam Newton a legitimate run for offensive rookie of the year candidacy.
No development in the NFL this season has been more unexpected than the work of the upstart Bengals, who have won five in a row for the first time since 1988. That dates to the Sam Wyche and Boomer Esiason Super Bowl-season era, and that feels like a half-dozen NFL lifetimes ago, at least.
Despite starting a rookie quarterback, Cincinnati is now 4-1 on the road, and in Sunday's 24-17 win at Tennessee, the Bengals rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit behind three more Andy Dalton touchdown passes. Remarkable. Not only is Dalton going to give Cam Newton a race for the Offensive Rookie of the Year honor, but also Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis has gone from the hot-seat list to being a strong Coach of the Year candidate.
Why doesn't anybody talk about Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton? All he does is something Newton hasn't done much of: Win.
Dalton was calm, poised and accurate against the Titans, showing why this team is a legitimate playoff contender. Dalton now has 12 touchdown passes on the season and seven interceptions.
+ Much like Prisco's post-game review (the second link), Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes:
On Sunday the Bengals rallied on the strength of three Dalton touchdown passes to erase a 10-point deficit and beat the Tennessee Titans 24-17. The victory moved Cincinnati to 6-2, 4-1 on the road and owners of a five-game win streak, the franchise’s longest in 23 years.
"I remember it well when I was 1 year old," Dalton joked. "I think it’s just great. We have a lot of young guys that have the same mentality. It’s worked for us so far."