Game Ball Of The Week: Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks for a receiver during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals had just allowed a depressing 25-yard touchdown to Eric Decker, watching their seven-point deficit balloon into a 17-3 Denver Broncos lead. No hope permeated through the very souls of Bengals fans, willing to subjugate themselves to the Emperor's grip against the football gods, casting endless pain throughout the brethren (and sisteren) of Bengals fans. The snap hiss of a lightsaber glows (let's say Red) that silhouettes a darkened figure in the background.

With 10:57 left in the third quarter and a 14-point deficit, Andy Dalton unleashes a 26-yard pass to A.J. Green, followed by 25-yard gain that began as a hitch and ended with awesome. Eventually the drive stalled and Mike Nugent converted a 37-yard field goal (why not go for it on fourth and five? Kidding). Dalton would go on to engineer four consecutive scoring drives in the second half, reducing Cincinnati's deficit from 14 to two points largely thanks to five passing plays that gained 22 yards or more.

During Monday's press conference, head coach Marvin Lewis said:

Overall, with what he is doing and how we put him in an uncomfortable situation yesterday having to be down two scores like that, I think the thing he was good with was knowing we are only going to score one score at a time. I think he understood that pretty well. He was patient with it. He took the balls underneath when he needed to. He didn’t force the ball into coverage, and when he had opportunities down the field he made those throws.”

At the end of the game, which was a loss (obviously), Dalton posted 332 yards passing and a 107.0 passer rating. Along with rookie A.J. Green, if not for Dalton, the Bengals loss could have been disastrous; rather than talking about whether the team should have gone for it on fourth down, this game could have produced venomous responses. Instead Dalton and the Bengals fell one yard shy of securing the second comeback win of the season.

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