When the Cincinnati Bengals struggled against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, the instinctive reaction was to place 23 years of vinegar squarely on Andy Dalton's shoulders. After all, he threw three interceptions which led to ten points, including Brent Grimes 94-yard return for a touchdown.
Obviously your level-headed fan will identify other areas (pass protection, rushing defense, drops by the receivers, etc...) rather than directly blaming Dalton, who still completed over 60 percent of his passes for 338 yards. And offensive coordinator Jay Gruden believed that Dalton had a good game.
Jay Gruden didn't see a step back in Andy Dalton's 3-int night in Miami. "He played very well, w/ two nightmarish throws."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 7, 2013
The first nightmare throws happened with over thirty seconds remaining in the second quarter as the Bengals are trying to chip into Miami's four-point lead as the first half was expiring. Dalton tried hitting A.J. Green near the left sidelines, but the football took its time reaching the receiver. It allowed Dimitri Patterson time to intercept the football and set up Miami's eventual 36-yard field goal. The second was an out pattern to Marvin Jones, but thrown well behind him for Grimes to return the football uncontested into the endzone.
Dalton had a third interception, but that's hardly on our third-year quraterback due to the football bouncing off Sanu and finding a home with a Dolphins defensive back.
Other than that, Dalton played as well as he could, considering that his offensive line struggled against Miami's pass rush and most of Cincinnati's receivers wore brick hands for gloves.