Problem isn't attempted passes with Andy Dalton, it's the interceptions

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

One conjectured conclusion that the Bengals may pass the football less isn't rocket science. It's a foregone conclusion. But the problem wasn't the overall number of attempts -- it's the interceptions.

Reports have been surfacing this weekend that Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will (likely) do two things: 1) reduce the number of attempts that Andy Dalton throws the football and 2) maybe even reduce his overall role to more of a game-manager. Most of these "reports" surfaced from a four-day article at Bengals.com that wrote, in part:

Jackson sounds like he is out of the less is more school and he’s talking like he’s not going to put as much pressure on Dalton to win games with his arm.

Not to sound completely narcissistic, but... duh?

Along Hue Jackson's record of applying physical offenses with an established running game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton tied Carson Palmer's franchise record for most passing attempts in a single-season. Twice Dalton surpassed the 50-attempt benchmark this year -- both during losses. When he attempted 40 passes or more, the Bengals were 2-4.

You really don't have to call it news that the Bengals may reduce the number of attempts for Dalton -- to us it's an obvious conclusion that slaps you across the face.

Regardless, the number of attempts isn't the problem -- and if you trace most of these games, you'll actually realize that, in some circumstances, they were unavoidable due to the deficits that they faced: Such as the 14-point disadvantage against Miami in the third quarter, or the 17-point deficit in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens -- both losses with Dalton attempting 50 passes or more.

No. The problem isn't attempts -- this offense applied a West Coast approach that utilizes quick/short passes that could be classified as extensions of the running game. You have to ask, how many passes were screens, five-yard slants, etc...

The problem is the level of interceptions that were being thrown.

Why did the Dolphins have a 14-point advantage over the Bengals midway through the third quarter? You have an interception towards the end of the first half that led to a field goal and a 10-3 Dolphins lead. Then a 94-yard Brent Grimes interception returned for a touchdown that extended their lead to 17-3. Despite the three interceptions against the Dolphins in regulation, the Bengals ended up forcing the game into overtime and a piss-poor block led to a quarterback sack and game-ending safety.

Why did the Ravens have a 17-point advantage over the Bengals midway through the second quarter? It began with a turnover on downs on a failed quarterback sneak (plus a Reggie Nelson pass interference) that led to a one-yard touchdown. Then a second quarter interception led to another score and eventual 17-point led. Again, despite the three interceptions in regulation, the Bengals fired back and sent the game into overtime -- thanks to an unlikely hail mary as the clock expired.

Stop. When we say "interceptions", don't apply that as a generic penalty point against Andy Dalton. Obviously, the more you pass, the more likely interceptions will occur -- many of which were from poor passes, a horrible effort from wide receivers, a collapsing pocket, or simple miscommunication.

While the indirect nature of passes attempts could coincide with the overall number interceptions, the reality is that Cincinnati's issues weren't the number of passes. It was the turnovers. It's always been the turnovers.

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