Brad's Blog - 12/09/13
Andy Dalton was good. Andrew Luck put up bigger numbers, but it didn't matter.
I've often said I wonder if Dalton can get out of pressure like Luck has early in his career and make plays on the run. Sunday, Dalton outdueled Luck easily because he didn't get touched. It's the 3rd straight game Andy hasn't been sacked. Hmmm. Maybe this new offensive line is the key. Kevin Zeitler is down, Clint Boling is down. So the Bengals have had to figure out how to put a line together to protect Andy and run the ball.
Dalton was 24-for-35 for 3 TDs. Luck threw for 326 yards and 4 TDs, plus he was the Colts leading rusher for 32 yards. The Bengals defense made the bearded one, one dimensional.
As a matter of fact, I'm listening to many on the national front talking about the Bengals as maybe the most complete team in the AFC this morning. Maybe because it's all on the line.
Andrew Whitworth told me yesterday there was concern on the coaching staff he might be giving up on a Pro Bowl year at left tackle to move over to guard. I paraphrase as he told me, he didn't care. "I'm not about Pro Bowls and never will be. If I can help this team win, I will do whatever I'm asked to do."
He's been spectacular at guard, and a powerful pulling guard at that. Mike Pollak has a lot of NFL time under his belt coming over from the Colts. He's not only been steady... he's been great. Anthony Collins takes Whit's spot at left tackle, and no one mentions Andre Smith on the right side as Andy stands upright in three games running.
Giovani Bernard ended one yard short of his first 100 yard game, and BenJarvus added 48 yards and 2 TDs. Two dimensional looks better. Like the commercial says, I like 'and' instead of 'or.'
So when Kevin Zeitler's healthy again (and that could be this week), does he replace one of the guards? Interesting that the biggest moves in crunch time on the playoff drive are with the big uglies and not the pretty boy.
If it all begins up front, the Bengals are looking pretty good in the drive for a bye.