Don't get me wrong, Andy Dalton has had an incredible season. None of us could have asked for more from a rookie quarterback, taking a 4-12 team and making them a winner, positioned for a "win and your in" playoff scenario.
Make sure to read Norway Mike's analysis arguing for Andy Dalton.
He broke Greg Cook's record (327) for most yards passing in a game by a rookie quarterback against the Denver Broncos, later resetting that mark by throwing for 373 yards passing against the Baltimore Ravens. Dalton has became only the fifth rookie since the merger to generate 3,000 yards passing, the first Bengals rookie quarterback to score a passing and rushing touchdown in the same game since Jack Thompson and is only the second quarterback, alongside Dan Marino, to generate a passer rating of over 100 during the first two starts.
No doubt in our mind that Andy Dalton deserves the praise for generating one of the best rookie seasons, not in just franchise history, but in NFL history.
That being said we fully realize that Carolina Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton is having the better season in terms of individual accomplishments. Though Dalton has a better winning percentage, Newton is only 107 yards passing away from reaching 4,000 yards in a season, already surpassing Peyton Manning's record for most yards passing by a rookie quarterback. Already throwing for 20 touchdowns passing, Newton's 14 rushing touchdowns is an NFL record for a quarterback (not just a rookie). Newton is the first rookie with 10 touchdown passes and 10 touchdown runs in a season and the first rookie with consecutive 400-yard passing performances.
While Dalton may have done more in the grande scheme of things, such as winning football games and putting Cincinnati in a "win and you're in" position for the playoffs, Newton is the sexy ESPN story with awe performances that generate dropped jaws to the writers that vote the awards.