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Andy Dalton throws first postseason TD pass despite heavy pass rush

Andy Dalton impressed with his first postseason touchdown pass. Andy Dalton impressed with his first postseason touchdown pass.

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.

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