After the Cincinnati Bengals surprised many around the NFL and made the playoffs, many felt this was a team on the rise. Unfortunately for Bengals fans, the team led by second year quarterback Andy Dalton and second-year wide receiver A.J. Green has not been able to stay consistent throughout the year, as they head into this week's home contest against the Giants with a 3-5 record.
"It's important to the Cincinnati Bengals," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "We're playing a really good football team, well put together, makes few errors and we have to play better football than what we've been playing."
The Bengals got off to a successful start, opening the year 3-1 looking like a team that could repeat their successes from last year. Since that game though, the team has lost four straight contests. Part of the issue has been Dalton, who after only throwing 13 interceptions last year already has tossed 11 this season. Yet, Lewis still believes in his quarterback.
"As long as he continues to not throw the football into coverage and take care of the ball the way we would like him, he'll be fine," Lewis said. "Even though the numbers seem to be up, they're not necessarily reflective of the quarterback."
The defense Dalton will go against this week for the Giants has dealt with inconsistencies this season, but have had success creating many turnovers, including a key strip-sack last week against the Steelers that got returned for a touchdown.
"Well, they've done a great job with pressure and creating pressure and takeaways," Lewis said. "I think when guys have had the opportunity, generally they've come up with the play and made the catch or the strip-sack, fumble. You want to be in position where you can maintain that and slow them down a little bit by playing with great down and distance and so forth."
While Dalton has had some struggles as of late, he is not the only quarterback who has seemed to struggle as of late. Giants quarterback Eli Manning, to many's surprise, has struggled with inconsistent play the past few weeks, especially last week against the Steelers. Still, coach Lewis, knowing the success Manning has had throughout his career, is not buying into the struggles.
"I know he didn't have the best game that he wanted to have a week ago against Pittsburgh, but I don't think he necessarily threw the ball into coverage," Lewis said. "They have an effective offense with effective players and we have to do a good job of limiting their explosive and vertical plays.The quarterback is a fine, fine player."