On Oct. 29, the Cincinnati Bengals celebrated quarterback Andy Dalton's birthday by benching him in favor of rookie Ryan Finley. The belief at the time was that this move was made in order to evaluate the youngster and see if he is the future of the franchise. After three starts, the team has seen enough and is bringing Dalton back into the starting lineup.
Monday afternoon, the Bengals announced that the former second-round pick in Dalton would indeed be the starting quarterback for Sunday's battle with the New York Jets. Gang Green is currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak while the Bengals have yet to win a single game. As head coach Zac Taylor explained, his goal is to get this team a much-needed victory.
“Right now this is the decision to help us beat New York,” Taylor said to gathered reporters during his Monday press conference. The first-year coach believes that the veteran in Dalton gives them the best chance to win.
Andy Dalton is the starting QB again in Cincinnati. Zac Taylor says the “big decision” gives the #Bengals the best chance to win a game. Says he’s not worried about the No. 1 draft pick. pic.twitter.com/tP9K4Q76Ol— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) November 25, 2019
While remaining winless would give the Bengals the best possible option to secure the number one pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Taylor says that he is not concerned about this prime spot. Right now, he just wants to see Dalton take this team and make them better in his return to the lineup.
"Just win," Taylor said. "We just want to win. We just want to win. Just get us some wins."
With Dalton no longer in the starting lineup, the Cincinnati Bengals struggled in games against the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The defense kept the latter two of these matchups close and provided opportunities for Finley to lead scoring drives, but the fourth-round pick out of NC State was unable to do so when needed.
In his three starts, Finley tallied 474 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He completed a mere 47.1 percent of his throws. Dalton, on the other hand, completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,252 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Both quarterbacks dealt with a hampered rotation of receivers based on injuries, but the veteran in Dalton found more success in his playing time.
After three weeks of watching from the bench, Dalton will now return to the starting lineup and try to get his team some wins. He will also look to showcase his abilities considering that he is reportedly "eager" for an offseason trade to another team.
(Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty)