Welcome to Bad Quarterback Performance Of The Week, a recurring feature in which we celebrate the worst quarterback play the NFL has to offer.
Quick, what is the Bengals’ record? Who is their best player? What kind of season is Andy Dalton having? Your answers are: 5-9, A.J. Green(?), and “not bad, but not great.” But the real answer, the more important answer, is this: Who gives a shit?
It feels like a particular feature of the NFL that so many teams and players end up spending most of the season banished to total inconsequence. I don’t just mean that there are a lot of bad teams and players in the league, but that there are teams and players that can go an entire season without ever once demanding or deserving an ounce of your attention. There’s plenty of mediocrity in other sports, but there’s at least a reason to catch a few Mike Trout at-bats here and there, or even set aside an evening to watch Devin Booker.
Did anyone in the entire world who is not a Bengals fan willingly give a minute of their time to Andy Dalton this season? His season stats—2,860 yards, 21 touchdowns, 60.1-percent completion rate—suggest that anyone who did would have been treated to some generally decent quarterback play. And yet, his prevailing and overarching Andy Dalton-ess suggests that the rest of us didn’t miss out on much.
Those who chose not to watch the 34-7 ass-kicking that Dalton and the Bengals suffered at the hands of the Vikings on Sunday definitely didn’t miss anything. Dalton finished with 113 yards and two interceptions, and for the second week in a row was pulled before the game was over.
His first pick of the day, which was returned for a touchdown, was the result of a throw that is truly hard to understand:
There were three Vikings there! Three of ‘em, right in plain sight! They weren’t even hiding! That pass was so bad it got Dalton put into time out for the entirety of the ensuing Bengals drive, which ended with a turnover on downs after four consecutive runs.
His second pick of the game was a slight improvement, in that it came from a pass that’s better described as “bad” than “stupendously ill-advised”:
Those short routes were a problem all day:
And here’s a nice note to end on:
The Bengals made it through this whole game without ever having a drive of more than seven plays, and with only four drives that went longer than four plays. They’ve been outscored 67-14 in their last two games. It’s okay if you forget all that by tomorrow, or even tonight.