CINCINNATI – At home against a warm-climate team as the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton would be exposed as overrated.
Going into the AFC Wild Card matchup against the high-flying Chargers, many experts and analysts had the Bengals pegged as a Super Bowl contender due to their defense and Dalton as a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.
With an offense that features BenJarvis Green-Ellis, two-time Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green, Mohamad Sanu, Marvin Jones and a dynamic 1-2 tight end punch of rookie Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, that Dalton was ready to have his name mentioned among the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees as among the NFL’s best.
With all due respect to fellow Bengals fans who may read this column, but Dalton’s latest disappearing act in the post-season is proof that not only is Dalton NOT an élite quarterback, but is officially a glorified second-tier signal-caller given the luxury of having talented playmakers around him.
While many were playing up the historical significance of the Chargers-Bengals “Freezer Bowl” rematch, Dalton chose the most inopportune time to play like his usual post-season self and not channel the Bengals 1981 NFL MVP Ken Anderson.
While Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers didn’t exact play like Chargers Hall-of-Famer, Dan Fouts, Dalton’s 29-of 51 334-yard self-implosion was the NFL equivalent of Chernobyl.
Sacked three times, two costly interceptions and one fumble in a truly un-epic outing in their 27-10 loss to San Diego, the man known as “The Red Rifle” shot proverbial blanks and added another blotch to an already uninspiring post-season resume that reads one touchdown, seven turnovers—and most importantly a record of 0-3.
Until Dalton can show more consistency and win when it matters, any talk of him—or the Bengals—being elite is null and void.