In Andy Dalton's third season, he set the Cincinnati Bengals' franchise record for touchdown passes in a season with 33. He enjoyed career-highs in passing attempts, completions, passing yards and passer rating while helping the Bengals take the AFC North crown. Dalton's three seasons have aligned with Cincinnati's first-ever stretch of three straight postseason trips, and though Dalton can be a streaky player, that's not a coincidence.
Dalton's performances in his first two playoff games, though -- that's been a topic filled with consternation, and for good reason. In two wild-card losses to the Houston Texans, Dalton completed 41-of-72 passes for 384 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. When the Bengals prepared to take on the San Diego Chargers in this season's wild-card round, many wondered if Dalton would turn that around and lead the Bengals to their first postseason win since 1990.
With 6:05 left in the first half, Dalton finally threw his first playoff touchdown, and he did so in fine fashion.
(GIF courtesy Bleacher Report) Cincinnati had 2nd-and-goal at the San Diego 4-yard line, and he was targeting tight end Jermaine Gresham as Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram careened off the blind-side edge to take Dalton down. Just as that happened, Dalton threw a nifty pass to Gresham over the head of a defender. It was a pro throw -- take the huge hit, and make the play anyway. The touchdown and extra point tied the game, 7-7.