8. Andy Dalton
For a time, there wasn’t a secondary in the NFL that could stop Andy Dalton from connecting with A.J. Green. Since the moment the dynamic duo entered the league in 2011 they have become something quite the successful pair hooking up over 300 times for 29 touchdowns. In each season, their stats have continually improved making them the most fearful thing that opposing team’s recognize on the Bengals’ scouting report.
But what isn’t mentioned above is Dalton’s increase in interceptions since joining the NFL and his inability to win in the playoffs. Dalton has thrown more interceptions in each consecutive year from 2011-2013. He limited this number in 2014, but also posted his worst QBR since his rookie season.
Also, Dalton has been just awful in the playoffs losing each game he has been a part of. This is most likley due to Dalton’s inability to complete a pass. He has completed just 55.7 percent of his passes in the post-season. His only touchdown came in the 2013 playoffs, a game in which the San Diego Chargers blew the Bengals out 27-10. His touchdown to interception ration currently stands at 1:6. Hardly an acceptable stat if the Bengals plan on winning a playoff game anytime soon.
But just because a young quarterback struggles early in his career in the playoffs does not mean you should completely give up on him. Peyton Manning’s first three playoff games saw a 47.6 completion percentage and a 1:2 touchdown to interception ratio. If the Colts gave up on Manning after his third year of a win-less playoff career, it could have ended in one of the worst moves in franchise history.
Obviously if Dalton continues to struggle in the postseason, Cincinnati may have to make other arrangements in the future. But he is just 27 years old with his best football years ahead of him. If they Bengals keep A.J. Green around, there is no reason to think that Andy Dalton can’t shake himself out of his playoff slump and win Cincinnati their first Super Bowl.
Next: Robert Griffin III