There’s no scrambling away from it. The Bengals’ chances of finally making a deep playoff run rest largely with Andy Dalton, who has been streaky this season and awful during the postseason.
The third-year quarterback set club records for touchdown passes and yards passing this season, leading Cincinnati (11-5) to the playoffs for an unprecedented third season in a row. He got a lot of the credit for helping the Bengals finish in the top 10 in offense.
Everyone knows the team records will be greatly diminished if he has another bad showing on Sunday against San Diego (9-7). He’ll be in the spotlight more than anyone else at Paul Brown Stadium.
With so much on the line, will it be good Andy? Or the other Andy?
“People can keep saying whatever they want because we haven’t won a playoff game,” Dalton said Wednesday. “You’ve got to win. That’s what it comes down to. And for us to get where we want to go, we need to win. That’s the way it works.
“For me, we need to get a win in this one. There’s always going to be something that’s going to be (considered) wrong, but to get a win would be big.”
The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, tied for the seventh-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history. Dalton has had two chances to break the streak, but instead played a big role in extending it.
He has played two of his worst games in the playoffs. The Bengals lost at Houston in the first round each of the last two seasons. His playoff passer rating is 42.8.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera says defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will interview for the Washington Redskins head coaching position this week. … Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe has been cleared to play in Saturday’s wild-card playoff game against Indianapolis after sustaining a concussion against the Colts two weeks ago. … Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been meeting with his top advisers before deciding whether to fire anyone in the wake of the team’s late-season collapse.