Names mean nothing in a quarterback league filled with fourth-quarter comebacks

Andy Lyons

The title of Monday's bacon compiles three subjects into one sentence; from names being jabbed at me about players that the Bengals should acquire, to Andy Dalton's efficiency and fourth-quarter comebacks.

At the risk of sounding demeaning if not completely insulting, I get a kick out of people that use "I know his name, so he must still be good" argument when considering personnel additions. These are things that we hear in our every day lives, at work, home, social environments, everywhere. It's no more prevalent than it is during free agency, but after Leon Hall's Achilles injury, many people were favoring the idea of trading for a player or signing a well-known free agent. A few of those "suggestions" that hit me on Twitter Sunday were Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Antoine Winfield.

Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis, despite the complete absence of any rumors demanding a trade, comes with a significant draft pick and a $16 million cap hit for each season he's on the roster. Oh, and then you'd have a player that twice caused issues within the front office in New York and Tampa Bay to either make the most money in the NFL at his position, or demand a trade out of town. If individuals are so quick to absorb that much of a cap hit, why not use it on Michael Johnson to keep this monstrous defensive line in-tact?

Former Raiders, Eagles and current 49ers cornerabck Nnamdi Asomugha is another named player that's generating interest among some fans. Let's recall the offseason. On March 12, the Eagles released Asomugha because, for the lack of a better term, he was awful. One month later, he signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers; not because it was a great contract offer; because there were only two teams that showed any interest (the New Orleans Saints are the other). Entering the eighth week into the season, Asomugha has already lost his role as the third cornerback to Tramaine Brock and even undrafted rookie Darryl Morris. In the past two games, a healthy Asomugha has been scratched from the gameday roster. He's done.

What about street free agents, like Antoine Winfield? Setting aside the discussion that he's two months into his announced retirement, Winfield turned 36 years old in June. However, the latest report is that he began working out about three weeks ago due to some team's putting out feelers on his return, and no retirement papers were submitted to the league office. Still, when a non-quarterback is actually older than me, I know that they're getting to the age of no return in the NFL.

We write this, not in the belief that the Bengals are considering these moves; rather the unlikeliness that they'll ever happen; and being right for not doing it.

The Efficient Quarterback.

In many ways, Andy Dalton is having his best season yet; though detractors with unrealistic expectations will veto that perspective (and they're allowed).

Entering this season, Dalton completed at least 70 percent of his passes in four games for his entire career. This year alone, Dalton has doubled that output with nine games remaining. He's only one game-winning drive away from tying last season's three, and two away from a career-high four that he set during his rookie year in 2011.

Additionally, Dalton is on pace to generate 4,398 yards passing this year. If he continues this pace, he'll wipe out Carson Palmer's franchise mark (4,131) by over 250 yards. He's also compiled a passer rating of 100 in three games this season -- all wins.

Based on the league's overall output, Dalton is riding the wave of improved quarterback play. Through week seven, the league-wide quarterback rating is 87.1 and a completion percentage of 61.6; on pace to be the best in NFL history, surprising records set in 2012 (85.6 passer rating) and 2007 (61.2 completion percentage) respectively.

And the league-wide passing average per attempt (7.29) is on pace to be the highest average in the Super Bowl era.

SEASON

YARDS/PASS ATTEMPT

2011

7.20

1983

7.18

1989

7.15

1984

7.14

2012

7.08

2013*

7.29

* Through Week 7

Comeback Mania.

If you consider that the Bengals didn't generate a fourth-quarter comeback against the Buffalo Bills (they didn't), then that gives Cincinnati only one fourth-quarter comeback for the season. That being Cincinnati's week three win over the Green Bay Packers, taking a nine-point deficit into the fourth quarter and scoring two touchdowns to win by four.

Perhaps Cincinnati's 27-24 win over the Detroit Lions could be one, but considering that they never faced a deficit following Marvin Jones' second quarter touchdown, we can't chalk that up as a "comeback".

However, the league is witnessing one of the most prominent comeback seasons in nearly 25 years. Through the first seven weeks into the NFL season, prior to the Monday Night Football game, 29 of 106 games have been decided by a fourth-quarter comeback win.

This season's pace will fall just short of the 70 fourth-quarter comebacks in 1989, when 31.3 percent of the league's wins were based on fourth quarter comebacks.

Amazing.

SEASON

GAMES

FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACKS

PERCENTAGE

1989

224

70

31.3

2001

248

67

27.0

1982

126

33

26.2

2008

256

67

26.2

1999

248

64

25.8

2013

106

29

27.4*

* Through Week 7
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