CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Starting quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals calls a play from the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns in the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
When Andy Dalton took the field in his first regular season game last Sunday against the Browns, nobody really knew what was going to happen. However, in the first three possessions of the game, the Bengals scored. First on a Mike Nugent Field goal, then on a touchdown pass from Dalton (his first) to Jermaine Gresham) and then on another field goal.
Dalton took the field six times with the offense before he came out of the game. The Bengals scored on three of those drives and punted the other three. They didn't turn the ball over once. You can't ask for much more from a rookie quarterback starting the first game of the season.
"I thought I played well. I thought as an offense, we played well. Just to start off and get the lead like we did. It helps when you have really good field position, too. In the first quarter, we feel like we were getting the ball on the plus-side of the 50 every time. So I think that we came out and had the right attitude going into the game, and I thought we executed well."
On top of scoring on the first three drives of the season and not turning the ball over, Dalton and the offense didn't have many miscues at all. Yes, Dalton was sacked three times and A.J. Green was called for an offensive pass interference penalty and there were two fumbles (once recovered by Andre Smith and one that went out of bounds), but there weren't any false starts or issues with the play clock. Those were problems that plagued many teams around the league largely thanks to the lockout.... teams like the Browns (11 penalties for 72 yards).
And speaking of scoring on the first three drives of the season, that is a franchise record. Dalton doesn't think that's a terrible way to start his career.
"Not at all. That's what you try to do; every time you get the ball you try to get points. We were able to do that."
Of course Dalton hurt his wrist at the end of the first half after being hit by Browns defensive tackle Phillip Taylor. He never came back in the game but he was a limited participant in practice today. Hopefully he's back on Sunday in Denver to face the Broncos.