On Sunday night in Jacksonville, Andy Dalton led the Bengals to two first half touchdowns before AJ McCarron added another on the first drive of the second half. On the road in a preseason primetime showing, both quarterbacks posted stellar QB ratings, 117.5 for Dalton and 122.6 for McCarron. Each had his fair share of impressive throws, but with injuries now becoming a concern, they did not take many shots downfield, instead leaning heavily on running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill in both the short passing game and in churning out yards on the ground.
For a look at the performances of the Bengals' top two quarterbacks, watch the following video:
Dalton was 6/10 for 77 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. McCarron was 8/12 for 107 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions.
Deconstructing Dalton and McCarron:
For quarterbacks, leadership at the line of scrimmage is almost as important as throwing the ball. Just ask Peyton Manning. In that regard, Dalton had a stellar day. He made critical presnap adjustments, including one that led to a touchdown on a tunnel screen to Bernard. However, Dalton did miss on a few of his throws. Most notably, he misfired on a throw to C.J. Uzomah in the endzone on the play before the Bernard touchdown.
Meanwhile, McCarron provided some fireworks with a 53 yard completion to Cody Core, followed by a quick strike to Alex Erickson for a 21 yard touchdown. But other than that 75 yard drive, the Bengals only managed 26 yards on the remaining five drives with McCarron under center.
The reality is that neither of these issues are cause for concern. McCarron was working with backups for the most part, and Dalton's ball placement was largely an attempt to avoid turnovers.
On Thursday, the Bengals face the Indianapolis Colts in their final preseason game. But Dalton will almost certainly be withheld from the lineup. McCarron may play the first quarter or so, but for the most part, expect to see a lot of Keith Wenning, especially with Joe Licata getting cut on Monday.
Dalton and McCarron's Directions:
No change. The two quarterbacks did what they were supposed to do -- led their team to scores by balancing run and pass and avoiding turnovers. Both are refined passers who are still gaining familiarity with their new weapons, but yet they've manage to score a good amount of points in the process.