The Bengals made it to the playoffs in each of quarterback Andy Dalton’s first two seasons and they’re heading back there again this season as the AFC North champions.
That means a home game with a first round bye still in play, but coach Marvin Lewis knows those accomplishments won’t do much to quiet the quarterback’s critics. To borrow a line from Al Davis, Dalton just has to win, baby.
“He’s been a three-year starter so he’s accomplished a lot of things in his career thus far,” Lewis said during an appearance on NFL Network. “But until we win playoff games these questions you have … those will always continue to be there. And that’s all we can do is erase them for Andy and myself.”
Dalton has had his best season in 2013, reaching career highs in yards, touchdowns and net yards per attempt with one game left to play. He’s played particularly well in Cincinnati, which bodes well for the team’s chances of advancing in the postseason for the first time in more than 20 years. All his critics won’t go away with just one win, but it would give his supporters more ammunition to support their man in 2014 and beyond.