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Week 5 Bengals vs. Seahawks: The Dalton Dispatch

In this weekly column, we keep track of Andy Dalton's progress and setbacks.

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Andy Dalton led Cincinnati to a 27-24 overtime win over the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals overcame a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter thanks to Dalton's refusal to surrender. For highlights and analysis of Dalton's performance, check out the following video:

The Data:

Andy Dalton was 30/44 for 331 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also ran seven times for 18 yards including 1 rushing touchdown. Dalton's QB rating was 95.9 and his QBR was 70.4.

Deconstructing Dalton:

While Dalton's QB rating was the lowest of the season, it might be argued that he turned in his best performance yet. In that epic fourth quarter, Dalton was a near-perfect 10/11 for 105 yards with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert. He also took a courageous plunge into the endzone for a five-yard rushing touchdown with 3:38 left in the final period. Dalton's spike and enthusiasm after that score sent a clear message to his teammates.

Dalton's confidence is through-the-roof right now. Instead of playing cautious against the Legion of Boom (cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas), he took the opposite approach-- he went right after them, particularly Week 4 hero, strong safety Kam Chancellor. Dalton threw in Chancellor's direction 11 times. The result? Nine completions for 102 yards.

How did Dalton pull that off? With great ball placement and by outsmarting his opponent. Let's take one example from the Bengals' final touchdown drive of the game.

1. It was 2nd and 13 on the Cincinnati 41 with 7:28 left in the fourth quarter. After the snap, Dalton noticed that Chancellor was eager to cut to the right sideline, hoping to jump the route of Mohamed Sanu.

2. Dalton played along, and kept his eyes toward the right sideline the entire time.

3. Right before Dalton released his pass with his head still turned to the right (almost a no-look pass), Chancellor cut to the outside.

4. But Dalton's pass was placed perfectly toward the middle of the field and Chancellor found himself in an awkward position, getting burned by Sanu for 25 yards.

On Deck:

The Bengals travel to Buffalo in Week 6 for a matchup with the Bills. The Bills are trying to overcome a number of injuries to key players on offense including Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams. Meanwhile, Buffalo's defense has not lived up to its hype yet this year. Nonetheless, this is a team that made Colts quarterback Andrew Luck miserable in a Week 1 victory and held rookie sensation Marcus Mariota to his fewest yards passing and without a touchdown pass for the first time this season in a road win in Tennessee last week. While the Bills only have nine sacks on the year, they had an NFL-high 54 sacks last year. And you just know they'll throw the kitchen sink at Dalton, because, without generating turnovers, they won't be able to keep up with Cincinnati's offense.

Dalton's Direction:

Upward. Against the Ravens, Dalton also made huge plays in the fourth quarter. But Cincinnati never trailed by more than three points in that game. And Baltimore doesn't even look like a playoff team at this point. Meanwhile, against the Seahawks, a preseason favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl again, Dalton calmly led his team to three fourth-quarter scores. The implications are huge. From now on, no deficit should seem too large for this team and no opponent too intimidating.