Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor
Make no mistake—Andy Dalton had a great game and led the Cincinnati Bengals to a win over Buffalo on Sunday, but looking at the statistics alone does not do his performance justice.
Look beyond the stats, and one thing is very apparent—Dalton is the definition of a game-managing quarterback.
Yes, Dalton threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception, giving him an outstanding 105.9 rating by day's end.
The problem is, much of Dalton's production came on passes behind the line of scrimmage or no farther than five yards down the field. Kudos to the coaching staff for realizing the Bills had a weakness to screens but also for recognizing that asking Dalton to throw the ball down the field consistently is just too much.
Dalton's touchdown pass to A.J. Green was a beautiful throw, but as good as that was, it's negated by yet another horrific interception where Dalton simply threw the ball into the gut of the defender after locking on to his first read.
Therein lays the crux of the problem—Dalton does not make many reads, if any on a given play. It's designed that way because of his limitations, which is fine because when it's going good, it's great.
There's nothing wrong with being labeled a game manager. But expecting Dalton to become anything more after four years as a starter in college and three years as a pro is beginning to look alarmingly unrealistic.