Andy Dalton played another solid game against the Cleveland Browns, posting his seventh game of the season with a quarterback rating greater than 100 and fifth game with a completion percentage of more than 70%. Dalton was efficient on the afternoon, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions in one of few snowy games the Bengals quarterback has encountered during his NFL career.
“It was obviously cold and snowy, but I don’t think that impacted us too much,” Dalton said after the win. “I thought we came out with the right intensity and the right attitude. We didn’t worry about it.”
Because of the snow, Dalton wore gloves on both of his hands for the first time in live action. He’d been practicing with gloves, preparing for a day like Sunday, but, it wasn’t until the snowy game in Cleveland that Dalton got to see how it would work out.
“I wasn’t too worried with the snow. The wind is a bigger factor. I felt good with the glove on my throwing hand,” he said. “I have been practicing with it for a while just in case we got in a situation like today. This was the first time in a game. It helped with the grip. It worked.”
Tyler Eifert was a key player in the Bengals’ win over the Browns as he caught two touchdown passes in the game (the first multi-touchdown game he’s played this season) and totaled 48 passing yards.
“I think they had a little confusion in their coverage. We were able to take advantage of it. It’s easy when he is open like that,” Dalton said of Eifert’s first touchdown. “I don’t know what they were doing. I don’t think he was matched up on anybody. He’s a big target. He has a great feel near the end zone.”
One of the ways the Bengals utilize Eifert best is on third down, which is where his second touchdown in the game occurred.
“It’s big. Anytime we can do that (score on third down) it’s a big play,” Dalton said. “It’s the difference between 7 points or 3.”
Though, three points from field goals aren’t always guaranteed when your kicker is Mike Nugent, who missed an easy 36-yard attempt on Sunday (as well as an extra point).
Still, that didn’t matter against the winless Browns, especially after the Bengals got off to a hot start, scoring three touchdowns before halftime and keeping the Browns off the scoreboard.
“We wanted to start fast,” Dalton said. “Last week, we started fast, and got up early. We did the same thing this week. We went down and scored a touchdown, the defense got a three-and-out, then we were able to score again. Anytime you start fast, it gets you ahead in the game.”
The other key receiving option on Sunday was rookie Tyler Boyd. Boyd still only has one touchdown catch this season, but he added to his total yardage, both in the air and on the ground on Sunday.
“He’s got a great feel. We are asking a lot him to make plays and he’s making them,” Dalton said of Boyd who had 49 receiving yards and 40 rushing yards on Sunday. “I think he’s really comfortable with what we are doing, and it shows with the production he has had.”
Boyd also had two third down conversions, one which helped lead to Jeremy Hill’s one-yard touchdown run. Dalton is relying on him more now than ever, which is a good sign for their chemistry moving forward.
“He is great on third down,” Dalton said. “He keeps drives alive, which allows us to score points. With A.J. Green going down, we’ve asked a lot of him and he’s been producing.”
This was Boyd’s best game of the season, but his second best effort came against his hometown Steelers back in Week 2. Boyd will have another chance to put on a show against the team for whom he used to root next Sunday in Cincinnati.