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Andy Dalton’s drop off in passer rating between halves is worst in the NFL

From a 108 passer rating in the first 30 minutes to a 68.1 rating after halftime, Dalton’s passer rating goes from top five in the league to Drew Stanton’s level from one half to another.

Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Bengals’ offense has only scored 40 points during the second half of the nine games they’ve played so far in 2017. They’re one of the worst offenses in the entire league, and somehow they’re even worse after halftime. That is why it’s not surprising to learn that quarterback, Andy Dalton has the biggest drop in passer rating from one half to the other.

In the first 30 minutes, the former Texas Christian standout actually has one of the better ratings in the NFL, with 108, only surpassed by Dak Prescott, Alex Smith and Tom Brady. As Tony Romo said during the broadcast of the Bengals’ Week 3 game in Green Bay against the Packers, the Bengals have been doing a good job with their scripted plays, but are unable to muster anything at all once they ran out of those, usually after the first three or four drives.

Dalton’s 108 rating goes down all the way to 68.1 in the second half (on average in games), which is only above guys like C.J. Beathard, DeShone Kizer, Tom Savage and Joe Flacco. That’s definitely not the company you’d like for your franchise quarterback. That number is the equivalent to an entire season of Drew Stanton, who’s doing a decent job replacing the injured Carson Palmer, but has something around the 36th highest rating among quarterbacks that have thrown more than a handful passes.

The Bengals offense, despite firing Ken Zampese after their Week 2 loss to the Texans at home, and after only scoring nine points and not a single touchdown in the first two games of the season, has been really underwhelming. Their offensive line is a complete disaster and the running game has struggled to gain any traction despite the addition of Joe Mixon in the summer. Somehow, the running game is on pace for the worst ground game in the Bengals’ 50 year history.

John Ross, the guy supposed to be the missing part, is in Marvin Lewis’ doghouse and there’s no reason to believe the coaching staff knows how to use him or if they’re willing to use him. Tyler Eifert, the team’s best red zone target, played in two games before going down with an injury. Jeremy Hill somehow started seven games, despite being ill-fit for the scheme the Bengals should be running. In spite of all this, Dalton deserves a lot of blame for the team’s failures.

The seventh-year veteran has taken a few steps back. If his first read isn’t open he is either getting sacked, running for his life or throwing out of bounds, including on fourth down, twice. Ever since Hue Jackson left Cincinnati to become the Browns’ head coach, Dalton and the entire offense haven’t had any identity and the revamped offensive line has added more pressure, just two years removed from being one of the best offenses in the league.

The Bengals have the third fewest points in the NFL, only above the Browns (a cursed franchise) and the Dolphins (a team that is starting quarterback who didn’t work out all season). The Bengals also have the fewest yards, the fourth-most turnovers, the fewest first downs, the second-fewest passing first downs, the second-fewest yards per carry and the second-worst score percentage, which is defined by Pro-Football Reference as the percentage of drives ending with an offensive score.

And for the most part, the production the offense does muster up comes during first halves. For example, against the Steelers, the Bengals gained 165 yards and scored two touchdowns in the first 30 minutes. After the break they only added 19 yards in seven drives - including the game-ending kneel by Dalton. In their win over Indianapolis, Cincinnati gained 168 yards and 10 points in the first half, only getting 102 yards and seven points in the second.

This was even more frustrating when the Bengals first switched to Bill Lazor as coordinator, in their road game against the Packers. The Bengals looked fantastic for 20 minutes and then things went south pretty quickly. In the first half they got 204 yards and 14 points. During the second half, including overtime, they could only muster 120 yards and three points, effectively losing a game they could’ve won.

With a 3-6 record the Bengals have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL, and their offense is the biggest reason why. Dalton, who looked like an MVP contender just two years ago, looks lost out there and the offensive line can’t always be to blame. The coaching staff, their philosophy and their scheme are wasting the talent of many outstanding players. The coaches have yet to prove they’re willing to adapt to try and fix this broken offense. A.J. Green, the team’s best player, seems tired of this, and Mixon has also spoken out. Dalton’s drop in passing rate from the first half to the second half is just one of the many signals that this team—under Lewis—has run its course.