Hey, let's give Andy Dalton kudos for withstanding the pressure he has been receiving. Does it mean that this story is settled? Of course not. But we can enjoy an up day, certainly!
For those who read the Conclusions article weekly, sorry that I'm late. Long story. I had a business trip to the west coast and actually didn't get to watch the game. I know that some of you are thinking, "Right, he only wants to bash Dalton." Not true.
I followed some of the game on my cell on ESPN.com and reviewed some tape on NFL.com later. Here are a few things that I noticed that seemed to be different:
* Dalton accepted significant risk on some throws. The TD pass to A.J. Green was a good example where Dalton put the ball up and let Green use his athletic prowess to make a play. We definitely need some of this every game when we're carrying a weapon like Green.
* Dalton managed to use Marvin Jones' speed effectively for the first time this season. Jones had two explosive plays as well as a nice comeback TD grab.
* Dalton did some scrambling and picked up positive yardage in key situations.
* Dalton used a lot of receivers effectively especially including Bernard and Sanu in addition to Green and Jones.
* Dalton's YPA was in the 8+ range
Although I missed the game, it seems from the play-by-play that there still might be some room for improvement for Dalton in avoiding sacks during key moments and connecting on more downfield passes. However, the longer passes will reduce efficiency and increase INT % - it's a trade off that is only worth it at certain points of a game.
Rather than to write a whole column this week, I'm just going to concede the following positives from the Bills game:
* Great win on the road. Sure, we'd like to have beaten them by more or in regulation. Sure the trend continues with us making inexperienced QBs look good. But we'll take the "W"
* Good job to Andy Dalton who managed to stay positive and make positive things happen. The ultimate success of this team in 2013 rides on Dalton's ability to improve each week.
* Special Teams made the plays down the stretch that made the difference. The punt exchanges in OT determined the winner.