In perhaps the most impressive win of the Andy Dalton era, the Cincinnati Bengals overcame a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit against the Seahawks to stun Seattle, 27-24, on Sunday. Dalton looked like an MVP candidate, going 30-of-44 for 331 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He even ran for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to bring Cincinnati within 24-21.
How did the Bengals do what they did?
“They did it by doing something that no one can do, which is just shredding the Seahawks’ defense,” CBSSports.com NFL writer John Breech said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The Bengals were horrible in the second and third quarters. They started off hot with that touchdown drive in the first series and just fell apart. And then I don’t know if it’s Andy Dalton with his daytime powers where he just dominated, but I think on four of their last five offensive drives, they drove at least 60 yards and put points on the board, and then obviously in overtime they also did it. So it was just Dalton using all of his weapons.”
Five Bengals had at least five receptions. Four had at least 60 yards.
“You saw Tyler Eifert had a big game, Marvin Jones had a good game, (and so did) A.J. Green,” Breech said. “If the Seahawks can’t cover all those people, there’s not many teams that are going to be able to.”
The Bengals, who in the past have fallen apart in big games, are 5-0 for the first time since 1988.
What’s different about this team this season?
“I think Andy Dalton leading that comeback there in the fourth quarter is a great example of what’s different,” Breech said. “When you watch Andy Dalton, you kind of expect him to either fall apart – whether it’s a playoff game or prime-time game or in a clutch situation – as he’s done in the past. And already two times this year we’ve seen him just totally take over the offense and actually win the game for his Bengals. In the past, the team’s kind of been winning in spite of him, but this year he led an 80-yard touchdown drive against the Ravens in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter and then he did it against the Seahawks. Andy Dalton has totally become the absolute leader of the offense, which, he necessarily wasn’t that during his first four seasons.”
Seattle, meanwhile, fell to 0-3 on the road. The Seahawks ran for 200 yards – with Thomas Rawls going off for 169 – but the passing game wasn’t sharp and the defense collapsed.
“They don’t have an offensive identity,” Breech said. “Thomas Rawls had a huge game today, and that helped that they got the running game going, but it just seems like they’re not sure what they want to do. Are they forcing themselves to get Jimmy Graham involved? Maybe they’re not comfortable. I think the defense will get better as the season wears on. Kam Chancellor is basically the captain and leader of that defense. Obviously he’s only been there for a couple weeks. So I think the defense will get better as the season wears on, and if I’m the Seahawks or a Seahawks fan, I’m not too worried about that 2-3 record just yet.”