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Andy Dalton throws a pass against Buffalo.
OK, you got me. This is not a match-up like the others.
This is a head-to-head comparison of two quarterbacks who will not be on the field at the same time. However, both Dalton and Gabbert are starting as rookies on rebuilding teams. They will likely be compared on television heading into and during Sunday’s game, and each player’s performance may very well determine the outcome.
Besides, I couldn’t help myself.
In his first three NFL games—two of which were starts—Blaine Gabbert has two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has completed only 47.8 percent of his passes and been sacked six times. The Jaguars have scored no more than 10 points in any of his starts, and he is winless as a starter.
Andy Dalton has started all four games for the Bengals this season. He has thrown four touchdowns and four picks and led Cincinnati to come-from-behind victories, most recently against the Buffalo Bills. The team has scored over 20 points in three of Dalton’s starts, and he has taken five sacks.
In all fairness, Andy Dalton’s receivers are much better than Blaine Gabbert’s. Mike Thomas, the Jaguars top receiver, has similar numbers to A.J. Green (20 catches for 212 yards and one touchdown), but not near the ability. Beyond Thomas, Gabbert’s options are marginal at best. Jacksonville’s second leading receiver is Jason Hill, who has just seven receptions and under 100 receiving yards in 2011. The third leading receiver isn’t a receiver; it is running back Maurice Jones-Drew. That should tell you all you need to know about the Jaguars’ passing attack.
Dalton, on the other hand, has weapons. Besides Green, he can go to tight end Jermaine Gresham, who has 16 receptions, 187 yards and two touchdowns so far in 2011. Dalton could also go to Jerome Simpson, who has snagged a steady 12 receptions for over 200 yards this season, or Andre Caldwell who has eleven receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown in 2011. As far as passing weapons go, advantage Dalton.
The biggest difference between Blaine Gabbert and Andy Dalton is the ever-subjective eyeball test. While Dalton looks like a man in charge of his offense, Gabbert looks like a rookie trying to adjust to the speed of the NFL. Sure, Dalton makes his fair share of mistakes including numerous first-half overthrows against Buffalo, but his ability to respond to adversity and lead the team is miles ahead of Blaine Gabbert.