It was a rough day for the Bengals, an even tougher one for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.
Praised in all corners for his consistency and low-key demeanour, Dalton received a schooling at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 24-17 victory.
Dalton’s day ended in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter when attempting to move his team downfield for the game-tying touchdown, he instead was picked off by William Gay, the second interception thrown by the Texas Christian University graduate.
On the day, Dalton completed just 15 of 30 passes for 170 yards and tossed two touchdowns against the two fourth-quarter picks. His quarterback rating was a mediocre 61.8
“The guy made a good play, he jumped the route big time,” he said of Gay’s interception. “My eyes were on the flat defender and when I let go of it he jumped it, he made a great play.”
“They take chances and they bite on things and try to jump routes and that play, they did, it worked for them.”
The game was the biggest one of the season for the Bengals who entered with a 6-2 record and a five-game winning streak. The knock against them was that they hadn’t beaten a quality opponent and facing the Steelers would be their biggest challenge of the season.
“I missed some things, I’ve got to play better,” he said of his performance. “Those two interceptions, especially when we had good field position coming down, had a chance to win, it’s not acceptable.”
He said the result left him more frustrated than anything else.
“Yeah, the opportunities that we had, we were so close, so close,” he said. “A few things here and there and this game could be different. That’s how tough football is, you’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity.”
He said he didn’t see anything from the Steelers that he wasn’t prepared for.
“I thought I saw things well and had a good understanding of what was going on,” Dalton said. “It’s just a few little breaks, a few things here and there.”
Although disappointed with the result, he was asked if it was a good learning experience?
“For sure,” he replied. “We’re going to see how we respond after a loss. We haven’t lost in a while. We have a big week this week again. We’ll come in and prepare like we have been and see how we respond from this game.”
It won’t get any easier for Dalton next week as the Bengals travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.