Since being drafted by the Bengals in 2011, the roughest precipitation Andy Dalton has faced was a downpour of rain. Rain has certainly impacted a couple of Bengals matchups in the quarterback’s tenure, but for the most part, he and his team have avoided any serious field conditions. On Sunday, that could change.
Cleveland.com’s Kelly Reardon reports there’s an 80 percent chance of snow in Cleveland on Sunday, which would be the first real snow game Dalton has played in during his entire football career.
“I think it snowed a little bit during a game, but never one that has been snowing the whole time,” Dalton said in his Wednesday press conference when asked whether he’s previously played a game in the snow. “We definitely didn’t have any of those in Texas.”
The snow factor won’t just be one-sided, as opposing quarterback Robert Griffin III went to Baylor, the rival school of Dalton’s alma mater, TCU. Nonetheless, throwing a football in the snow is by all means a difficult task, especially for a quarterback who hasn’t garnered much experience in the area.
“I think it would be fun,” Dalton said on the chance of playing in the snow. “There’s always a chance up here. We may get to experience that on Sunday.”
The game could see some wind gusts, too.
“[Wind] does affect you,” Marvin Lewis said in his press conference earlier this week. “I think of all our division opponents, on most days this time of the year, they may have the most differential, with their stadium off the lake. It’s a factor, depending on which way the wind is blowing and how strong it is. It’s also a natural grass field, which is not very natural at this time of the year. It all plays a big part there when you play on the road like this later in the year against Cleveland.”
Like Dalton, however, Lewis hasn’t had dealt with snowfall very often in his NFL career, which spans more than a decade as a head coach alone.
“I haven’t had much experience [dealing with snowfall in games]. It depends on what kind of snow it will be. It could be that cold damp snow that will slow everything down, or it will just be flurries. It depends. It will be great Bengal weather on Sunday regardless.”
Potential snowfall could provide yet another obstacle for a Bengals offense already down two of its top weapons in A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, and shifting players around the offensive line in experimental mode.
Fortunately, there are two sides to every coin. Facing Griffin, who is coming off injury, the Bengals’ defense is hot. With wind and precipitation potentially taking away Cleveland’s deep ball, Cincinnati’s defense can afford to be even more aggressive than usual against a suspect Browns offense. Facing Griffin, a quarterback who has played in one game over the past two seasons, the Bengals’ defense has to be licking its chops.