Andy Dalton finished his pro debut 10 of 15 for 81 yards and a touchdown before an injury ended his day early. (Andrew Weber/US Presswire)
Cam Newton put up some eye-popping numbers in Arizona, but he wasn't the only rookie quarterback who turned in an impressive Sunday. Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, taken 34 picks after Newton in April, also delivered a promising opening -- at least, before a wrist injury ended his day.
Dalton connected on 10 of his 15 passes before leaving at halftime, finishing with 81 yards. Included in that total is a 2-yard first-quarter scoring toss to Jermain Gresham that put the Bengals up 10-0.
Cleveland rallied after that to take a 14-13 lead at the half, then backup Cincinnati QB Bruce Gradkowski brought the Bengals back for a 27-17 win.
Gradkowski may have to stay at the helm next week when Cincinnati visits Denver, depending on the severity of Dalton's injury. Just before halftime, Dalton was buried by rookie Cleveland DT Phil Taylor and immediately came to the sideline with his right arm dangling.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that X-rays on Dalton's wrist were negative, but Dalton was expected to undergo an MRI Sunday night.
"The plan is I'm going to play (in Week 2); that's the hope," Dalton said. "We'll see. I lost a little bit of feeling in my hand and I couldn't grip the ball the way I wanted to."
Cincinnati dressed only two quarterbacks Sunday, so it would have been a major problem if Gradkowksi had dropped with an injury too. The Bengals recently signed Zac Robinson, who was released by the Lions this preseason, and may have to promote him from the practice squad if Dalton cannot go in Week 2. The wild card in any Cincinnati QB discussion remains Carson Palmer, who theoretically could decide to return at any time. But the Bengals would prefer that Dalton suit up again in Week 2, especially given that his Week 1 effort was definitely something to build on.