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Preseason Week 3 Bengals vs. Bears: The Dalton Dispatch

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Andy Dalton is the most scrutinized player on the Bengals. In this weekly column, we keep track of his progress and setbacks so as to make for more informed discussions about his play.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, we analyze the performance of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. On Saturday, against the Chicago Bears, Dalton and the Bengals won 21-10. For highlights and analysis of that game, watch the following video:

The Data:

Andy Dalton was a perfect 6/6 for 52 yards, with 0 passing touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He added 16-yards on the ground including a 1-yard rushing touchdown. Dalton played only one series, leaving with a minor neck injury on his touchdown run.

Deconstructing Dalton:

Dalton and backup AJ McCarron led a Bengals offense that was quick to take what the defense gave them. The two combined to complete 18/23 passes, good for 78 percent. Dalton found running back Rex Burkhead twice for a total of 35-yards and had three rushing attempts in his only series. In other words, he made things happen in a variety of ways. Had he not gotten injured, Dalton seemed primed to open up the passing game in future series against the Chicago defense, much the way McCarron was able to complete a couple of big plays to tight end Tyler Eifert and receiver Marvin Jones.

On Deck:

Next, Dalton and the Bengals head to Indianapolis to play the Colts. As it is the last preseason game and Dalton aggravated his neck, don't expect to see him out there. If he does play, it will be in a very limited capacity, so as to give him rest before the regular season opener in Oakland September 13.

Dalton's Direction:

Slightly upward. This is because last week his direction was pointed slightly downward after a poor performance in a meaningless game. Against the Bears, Dalton looked as sharp as he did against the Giants in Week 1 of the preseason. Overall, he seems to have added new dimensions to his game after years of being criticized for not showing signs of progress following his Pro Bowl rookie year. Dalton is well-aware of the great weapons he has healthy this season and he has not forced the ball to Green in his three preseason performances. Thus, you can expect Dalton to spread the ball around and cut down his interception total in 2015.