Since the Bengals drafted him, Tyler Eifert has always been an x-factor on the field.
He moves too quickly for linebackers to match up against him, and he is too big for cornerbacks to defend him. He’s strong and he has soft hands. Eifert is the the perfect target for Andy Dalton.
That’s why it is always devastating when he has to miss playing time because of injury. There is just no one else that can replicate that type of production.
Pro Football Focus posted a graphic detailing the importance of Eifert in a Dalton offense.
As you can see, Dalton and Eifert make up the group of the best quarterback-receiver tandems in the NFL.
Eifert is only one of two tight ends in this group, and for good reason. He and Dalton lead the pack in receiving yards and touchdowns over their 138 attempts. In fact, despite Eifert’s numerous injuries, his targets and receptions are second only to Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett.
Andy Dalton and Tyler Eifert rank among the top active QB-receiver tandems in the NFL!— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) July 4, 2019
The #Bengals duo has combined for 138 receptions, 20 TDs and 1,665 yards on just 183 attempts. pic.twitter.com/0Q6jPOP1Ac
Why is A.J. Green not on this list instead of Eifert? While Green is certainly Dalton’s favorite target by volume, the quarterback is a more efficient passer to Eifert.
In his career, Green has 1,074 targets, 591 receptions, 8,775 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns with Dalton. His touchdown rate is about half of Eifert’s, hovering below 6%. Green’s 8.2 yards per target are below Eifert’s 9.1. Green catch rate is only 55.0%, compared to Eifert’s 75.4%.
Dalton tends to take more chances with Green than he does with Eifert. The Red Rifle likes to throw to Green when he is under pressure or if he has no other options, so Green sees a lot more uncatchable passes. However, when Dalton throws to Eifert, it is usually because there is a matchup they are exploiting.
That’s what makes Eifert so valuable to this Bengal’s offense. He can create such problems for defenses that he makes Dalton an incredibly efficient passer.