Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton may have thrown three interceptions in the first half, despite throwing up 20 times and having two IVs punctured into his body. For some reason, with all of the horrible that encapsulated his first half performance, Dalton redeemed himself enough in the second half to help Cincinnati avoid a major upset. With all due respect to Tampa Bay, a loss would have been a major upset. Dalton completed 12 of 16 passes in the second half, for 114 yards passing and a 13-yard touchdown to A.J. Green, which would become the game-winner.
And don't get me wrong... the interceptions were awful.
"I just think it was missed timing on our part," said Dalton on the first interception of the game. "We had the look that we wanted, but I got to do a better job of getting it to [A.J. Green]. The timing just wasn't the same for us on that play."
"I was just trying to throw it away," said Dalton on his third interception of the first half. "I've got to do whatever I can to get that ball out of bounds. I’ll have to look at it but that was just a bad play. I was just trying to throw the ball away. Obviously, that one sucks."
Fair enough. For as bad as Dalton was in the first half, the Bengals were only down 3, losing 10-7.
And if we're looking at non-scoring plays that helped to define an eventual win, Dalton's 30-yard pass to James Wright with 2:37 remaining in the game was impressive. Cincinnati needed 11 yards to convert a third down. Dalton took the shotgun snap, pump faked and rainbowed the football down the right sidelines.
"We felt as the game went on [if] we got that look, we were going to be able to get it to [Wright]," said Dalton after the game. "He made a heck of a play at a big time and it was exactly what we needed to have happened to help us chew the clock. He made a big play at the right moment."
The pass moved Cincinnati to their own 49-yard line, flipping the field in the hopes of eventually giving Kevin Huber an opportunity to sandwedge a punt inside the five-yard line (he would knock it into the endzone). Following Wright's reception, Jeremy Hill added a 12-yard gain on first down, forcing Tampa Bay to expire all of their timeouts.
Entering Sunday's game, Wright had posted two receptions for 32 yards receiving. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wright generated three catches for 59 yards receiving.