In the past two weeks, Andy Dalton has thrown no picks, thrown six touchdowns and run one in.
For the second week in a row, the Cincinnati Bengals dominated their opponents and pulled out a big victory, nudging them ever closer to entering the playoff picture. This week, the Bengals took down the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-6, a team they were expected to beat, just seven days after pulling out the upset over the New York Giants.
The majority of all scoring came in the first half of the game—three touchdowns for Cincinnati and two field goals for Kansas City—but for the second week in a row, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was good for multiple touchdowns and no turnovers and the defense more than did its part.
Dalton completed 18 of his 29 passes for 230 yards and two passing scores and was sacked just twice. He hit seven different receivers on the day, with A.J. Green his most productive target, pulling down six of the 12 passes thrown to him for 91 yards and a score. Tight end Jermaine Gresham added six catches of his own for 69 yards, and rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu had his second touchdown in as many weeks.
The most surprising occurrence in this game just may have been the success the Bengals had on the ground. All season long, Cincinnati has struggled to run the ball with any authority, but this week it put up 189 total rushing yards.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the day with his best performance all season, carrying the ball 25 times for 101 yards and a touchdown; Cedric Peerman also added 75 yards on just eight carries and Dalton had a one-yard rushing touchdown of his own.
The Chiefs offense could not boast similar success. They converted just one of their 11 third-down attempts, had just 284 total yards and 24:30 in time of possession. Matt Cassel completed only eight of his 16 passes, for 93 yards and a sack before being replaced by Brady Quinn, who fared no better—he went nine-of-14 for 95 yards and two sacks.
The only Chiefs players to put up meaningful yards were running back Jamaal Charles, with 17 carries for 87 yards; and tight end Tony Moeaki, with four catches for 73 yards. However, none of this led to a single touchdown—nor any second-half points.
Good teams not only beat their most challenging foes but also the seemingly easy outs. With a .500 record, it's hard to proclaim the Bengals one of the best teams in the league, but their back-to-back wins certainly seem to indicate they've turned their backs on the four-game losing streak that preceded those victories and have become a legitimately improved and well-balanced team.
The Bengals played up to their opponents last week and didn't play down to the Chiefs this Sunday—it's a good sign for a team that needs to be on the rise with 11 weeks of the season spoken for.