2017 Grade: .461
2017 3rd Down: -.022
Week 1 vs Baltimore: Mis-identifying coverage, throwing off-target, taking unnecessary sacks – these are all bad. But the worst play from Andy Dalton’s no good, very bad day was a throwaway on 4th down. Dalton locked on targets all game and misfired frequently when he did have a man. There were only two negatively graded games for all of the 2016 season; Dalton gets us half way there with his week one showing. I doubt I’ll ever get a grade of negative 10 points on 12 third-down drop backs again. This was just a putrid performance and one that should open the door for AJ McCarron to be seriously considered as the starter.
Week 2 vs. Houston:
Andy Dalton played as poorly as a quarterback can in week one, and because of that, some missed throws in week two were magnified tenfold. He made a few nice plays in this game (dime up the seam to Tyler Eifert, a bomb on a scramble play and touchdown on a broken play called back for illegal touching.) But it’s the misses tend to stand out when the offense is stagnant, however, and Dalton didn’t help his own cause in that sense. His four negative plays were a big improvement from last week’s 10.
Week 3 at Green Bay: Andy Dalton was afforded two luxuries, under new coordinator Bill Lazor, that he didn’t have previously – an improved ground game, and simplified, half field reads. With an abundance of shallow crosses, quick hitters and two-receiver-route-combinations to one side of the field, Dalton had his best game of the year.
Week 4 at Cleveland: Even though it’s mostly Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde shows up under center for the Bengals sometimes. This game was good Andy Dalton. He threw with terrific touch and understanding of the Browns coverages. He got the ball out of his hands quickly, extended plays, and made first downs with his legs. Back-to-back quality games from the Bengals QB.
Week 5 vs. Buffalo: All things considered, Andy Dalton played well enough for the Bengals to their second straight win. He missed a couple of throws, had two interceptions (one was not his fault, the other a tipped high pass) but was otherwise solid. He made more scramble plays, hit the big ball, and was decisive against a tough Buffalo defense.