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Week 8 Redskins vs Bengals: The Dalton Dispatch

Andy Dalton was simply off target against Washington. It’s as simple as that. It hasn’t been an issue for the large majority of the season, so what went wrong in London?

NFL: International Series-Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the overall struggles of the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton has looked sharp this year. Even in losses, it was clear that he was on target, but simply didn’t have enough time to get the ball to A.J. Green and company due to the lackluster offensive line play. But that was not the case in London, where Dalton missed on a number of potential big plays and the Bengals tied the Washington Redskins 27-27.

The Data

Dalton was 27/42 for 284 yards, with 1 touchdown pass and 1 interception. His QB rating was 81.8. He also ran 4 times for 21 yards and 1 touchdown and lost a fumble in overtime on a QB sneak. Dalton was sacked 3 times for 21 yards.

For an analysis of Dalton’s performance, watch the following video:

Deconstructing Dalton

Time and time again, Green got the better of Josh Norman, an outspoken cornerback who received a $75 million contract in the offseason. And while Green ended up with 121 yards receiving, he should have had about twice that. Dalton missed him on a number of throws that could have changed the game. Some of the inaccurate throws were simply Dalton’s fault, while others were because he didn’t have sufficient time to throw.

On second-and-9 with 3:35 left in the fourth quarter and the Bengals clinging to a 27-24 lead, Dalton misfired on a slant to Green that could have potentially iced the game. Then then with 32 seconds left, Dalton had Green wide open for what would have been the game winning touchdown, but under-threw him severely. In this example, though, the quarterback was not really at fault; Dalton was about to get leveled by defensive end Chris Baker and was fortunate to even get the pass off.

In addition to Dalton missing opportunities down the field, there are his turnovers and the costly sack in overtime on third-and-8 that spoiled any chance of a game winning field goal. If we factor in offensive line play and the quality of the opponent, this was probably Dalton’s worst game of the season. Sure his stats against the Denver Broncos were worse, but he had far more opportunities to succeed in London.

On Deck

Dalton faces the retooled New York Giants defense after the bye week on Monday Night Football. The Giants have allowed the sixth fewest touchdown passes, but have only nine sacks all year (31st in the NFL). New York shouldn’t pose any major problems for the Bengals’ offense, especially with Tyler Eifert back to form.

Dalton’s Direction

Downward. This game came out of nowhere. Dalton’s play had been one of the few positives this year. His accuracy was a thing of beauty. But that changed Sunday in London. The game against Washington was likely a fluke, and you can expect Dalton to be on target after two weeks of rest.