Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has enjoyed a solid 2018 campaign despite injuries around him, but he suffered an injury of his own in the team’s embarrassing Week 12 performance against the Cleveland Browns.
Coming into Week 12, the Cincinnati Bengals likely hoped that hiring former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson as a special assistant to Marvin Lewis would help them against Cleveland, but all it did was provide even more incentive for Baker Mayfield, Damarious Randall, and the Browns to dominate the Bengals on both sides of the ball.
Down 28-0 at the half, it didn’t get much better for the Bengals in the third quarter, because while they were able to get on the board with a touchdown of their own, courtesy of a pass from Andy Dalton to second-year wideout John Ross, they were still down by four touchdowns.
Worse yet, Dalton, the Bengals most important player, suffered a thumb injury in the third quarter and was immediately labeled as questionable to return by the Bengals.
It was a disastrous afternoon for Dalton, as injury was simply added to insult. Prior to leaving the game, Dalton had a 70.7 QB Rating, completing just 10 of his 17 pass attempts for 100 yards for an average of 5.9 yards per pass attempt. He also threw an interception to free safety Randall, who gave the ball to Jackson as a “gift.”
That interception succinctly summed up Cincinnati’s ineptitude on Sunday, and Dalton’s injury merely added an exclamation point to it, in addition to concern for this team going forward. Lewis is on the hot seat, again, and the Bengals are among a handful of teams in the race for just one Wild Card spot. Set to go down to 5-6, the Bengals can ill-afford any missed time from their franchise quarterback, especially with A.J. Green nursing a toe injury.
Green will likely return soon, and he has been sorely missed by this Bengals offense. Even with Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, and Ross, the Bengals offense isn’t quite the same without Green, but even his return might not matter if Dalton can’t play. Every game matters greatly to the mediocre Bengals, so Dalton’s status will be worth monitoring extremely closely going forward.