Andy Dalton may be stunning some doubters with his recent hot streak, but no one should be surprised by today’s announcement that the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Month.
In addition to leading the Bengals to four consecutive wins, Dalton has posted a passer rating of 116.8 while completing 89 of 131 passes for 1,246 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in four October games (the league will count tonight’s contest in Miami toward November stats because it is the only Week 9 game being played in October).
All 11 of Dalton’s touchdown passes this month – including a career-high five in Sunday’s 49-9 victory against the New York Jets – have come in the last three weeks, making him the first quarterback in franchise history to throw more than nine in a three-game span.
He also has topped the 300-yard mark in each of his last three games, becoming just the second quarterback in franchise history to achieve that feat.
“I’ve got a lot of great teammates to work with, and I’ll take this award on behalf of all of them,” Dalton said. “Everybody deserves a piece of it, including the coaches who are putting everything together for us.”
Dalton hardly seemed destined for the award following his first game of the month. Despite leading the Bengals to a 13-6 victory against New England on Oct. 6, he threw for just 212 yards no touchdowns and the first red-zone interception of his career.
But the following week in Buffalo he began his three-week by completing 26 of 40 passes for 337 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in a 27-24 overtime victory against the Bills, a performance that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Dalton was even better the following week in Detroit, connecting on 24 of 34 passes for 372 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 27-24 victory against the Lions.
And his award-winning month culminated Sunday when he went 19 of 30 for 325 yards with five TDs and one interception, with four of the scoring strikes going to Marvin Jones, resulting in the wide receiver winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week accolades.
Dalton and Jones have combined for three AFC awards this season, putting them on pace to match last year’s season total of six, which tied a franchise record also set in 1988 and 1989.
Dalton is the first Bengals player to win AFC Player of the Month honors since A.J. Green did it in September last year. And he’s the first Cincinnati quarterback to earn the honor since Carson Palmer in September 2005.