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The Bengals were in shambles, coming off a 4-12 season with Carson Palmer holding out for a trade.
To substitute Palmer, the Bengals drafted Andy Dalton in the second round as their quarterback for the future, but the 2011 season looked to be a waste.
The preseason wasn’t kind to Dalton, as an 8-19 performance against the Jets made him appear a long way from ready for the regular season. He improved in the last two weeks of the preseason, but it still didn’t appear he was ready.
Former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason chimed in and said about Dalton before the season, "If they force-feed him and put him in games right away, he will get killed. He will get eaten alive.''
Dalton didn’t exactly get that memo.
He started off with a pretty good performance against the Browns, throwing 10-of-15 for 81 yards and a touchdown which led the Bengals to a win.
The next week, Dalton shut plenty of people up against the Broncos with a 332-yard passing performance with two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to close out the game, and the Bengals were stalled twice near midfield to lose the game.
With the help of rookie star A.J. Green, Dalton has led the Bengals to a 7-5 record in the Wild-Card chase.
He currently has thrown for 17 touchdowns with 12 interceptions for 2,644 yards and a 81.4 rating.
The Bengals have hope again, and we have yet to see Dalton get eaten alive.