Andrew Gregory Dalton (born October 29, 1987) is an American football quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. He played college football at Texas Christian University. In his final college game, the 2011 Rose Bowl versus the Wisconsin Badgers, Dalton led the Horned Frogs to a 21-19 win over the three point underdog Badgers. He left the TCU program as its all-time leader in wins and many statistical passing categories.
Some draft experts felt that while Dalton’s accuracy as a passer, his above-average mobility, and his ability to throw on the run were his high points, his lack of a strong throwing arm was a detriment. He was selected by the Bengals in the second round (thirty-fifth overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft and signed a four-year, $5.2 million contract. New Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden instituted a west coast-style offensive scheme to help maximize Dalton’s talents, and he and rookiereceiver A.J. Green, the Bengals 2011 first round selection from the University of Georgia, have become a prolific quarterback/receiver combination. Dalton and Green broke NFL records for completions and yards for a rookie quarterback/receiver combination, even without the benefit of an offseason.
Due to his red hair, Dalton has been nicknamed The Red Rifle by Bengals fans. Other nicknames include 007 (shared surname with James Bond actor Timothy Dalton), Roadhouse (the main character in the movie is named Dalton), andShawshank (the two protagonists in The Shawshank Redemption are named Andy and Red).
High school career
Andy Dalton attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas. He led the Tigers to the state finals his senior year in 2005. That year, he was named the Greater Houston Area offensive player of the year by the Houston Chronicle. During his high school career, Dalton completed 80 percent of his passes for 15,550 yards with 70 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Andy Dalton committed to Texas Christian University. He was redshirted his freshman year, but he traveled with the team to every road game and was listed as the Horned Frogs’ third-string quarterback behind senior Jeff Ballard and redshirt freshman Marcus Jackson.
Entering the 2007 season, Dalton was in competition with Jackson to be the starting quarterback. Two weeks before the season opener against Baylor, TCU head coach Gary Patterson named Dalton the starter. Dalton was named the 2007 Texas Bowl MVP in TCU’s 20-13 victory over Houston. After going 8-5 as a freshman, he accumulated a record of 34-3 as a starter for the rest of his career at TCU.
In the 2008 season, Dalton led TCU to an 11-2 record, finishing in second place in the Mountain West Conference and seventh in the national AP Poll. He was named the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl MVP in the Horned Frogs’ 17-16 win over Boise State.
In the 2009 season, Dalton led the Horned Frogs to a perfect 12-0 regular season, a Mountain West Conference Championship, a #6 ranking in the AP Poll, and a BCS berth. The Horned Frogs lost 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl toBoise State.
On September 4, 2010, Andy Dalton recorded his thirtieth victory as the Horned Frogs starting quarterback, passing Sammy Baugh as TCU’s all-time wins leader. Against Baylor, Dalton completed 21 of 23 pass attempts (a career-best 91.3%) for 267 yards and two touchdowns. His team won a second consecutive Mountain West Conference Championship. On January 1, 2011, Dalton, who completed 194 of 293 passes for 2638 yards for 26 touchdowns during his senior season, led his team to a 21-19 victory in theRose Bowl in Pasadena, California. His TCU football team finished the season with a perfect 13-0 record and #2 ranking in the AP Poll, just one of two teams with a perfect record along with Auburn.
Dalton holds school career records for wins (42), touchdown passes (71), passing yards (10,314), pass attempts (1,317), completions (812), and completion percentage (61.6). He also holds single-season records for touchdown passes (27), set in the 2010 season; and attempts (371), set in the 2007 season. He also holds the single game record for highest completion percentage, 91.3 percent, which was set against Baylor in 2010. Dalton is also the MWC career leader in total offense (11,925 yards) and plays from scrimmage (1,730).
After being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, there was much speculation over who would be the Bengals’ starting quarterback, Dalton or veteran Bruce Gradkowski. Carson Palmer, the first overall draft pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, demanded to be traded or released, and was eventually traded. On August 8, 2011, before their first pre-season game versus the Detroit Lions, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis released his first depth chart per NFL rules, but noted that it meant little. The depth chart had Dalton listed as the first-string quarterback, followed by Gradkowski.
Dalton’s first ever NFL regular season start came on September 11, 2011, on the road against the Cleveland Browns. Dalton completed 10 of his 15 pass attempts for 81 yards and 1 touchdown, posting a passer rating of 102.4. The Bengals won the game, 27-17.
Dalton’s second game on was also on the road, against the Denver Broncos. Despite a 24-22 loss, Dalton led a comeback, completing 19 of 29 pass attempts for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half alone, and achieving a passer rating of 107.0 for the game. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis later noted that it was during the Denver game when he realized that the Bengals had their quarterback of the future.
In a 27-17 victory against the Indianapolis Colts on October 16, 2011, Dalton completed 25 of 32 passes for 264 yards and 1 touchdown, despite 5 dropped passes by Bengals receivers. In that game, Dalton had a season-high 78.1 completion percentage and 111.5 quarterback rating.
On November 3, 2011, Dalton was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October. Dalton led the Bengals to a 4-0 record with 909 yards passing and 6 touchdowns in the month. Dalton then threw for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions against the Tennessee Titans in a comeback 24-17 victory on November 6, earning him Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors. On November 27, Dalton passed for 270 yards and a touchdown in a comeback 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns, again winning Rookie of the Week. By the end of the season, Dalton had led the Bengals to the NFL playoffs.
On January 7, 2012, the Bengals faced the T.J. Yates-led Houston Texans in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. This game marked the first time in NFL playoff history that two rookie quarterbacks started in the same game against each other.Dalton completed over 64% of his passes but also had three turnovers as the Texans won the game, 31-10.
During his rookie season, Dalton had four wins featuring fourth-quarter comebacks (vs. Buffalo, at Jacksonville, at Tennessee, and vs. Cleveland). He is the only quarterback in NFL history not drafted in the first round to start all 16 games of his rookie season, much less start his team’s playoff game as well. Dalton became just one of five rookie quarterbacks with over 3,000 passing yards and at least 20 touchdown passes, joining fellow rookie Cam Newton and also Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, andCharlie Conerly. Among this group, Dalton is the only one to have at least 8 wins as a rookie.
At the conclusion of the season, Dalton received the Emerging Player Award from the NFL Players Association during the NFLPA PULSE Awards. The other nominees for the award were Newton, New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham, New England TE Rob Gronkowski, and Detroit DT Ndamukong Suh.
Dalton was named initially as a Pro Bowl Alternate in his first year, and was added to the AFC Pro Bowl roster after the New England Patriots won the AFC Championship, forcing Tom Brady to withdraw. Dalton and Newton became the first pair of rookie quarterbacks to make the Pro Bowl in the same season. During the 2012 Pro Bowl, Dalton threw for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 152.1.
In the second game of the season on September 16, 2012, Dalton guided the Bengals to a 34-27 victory at home over the Cleveland Browns. He completed 24 of 31 passes for 318 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception, for a 128.2 quarterback rating. In the following game at the Washington Redskins, Dalton completed 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception, for a 132.9 quarterback rating, in leading the Bengals to a 38-31 win. Furthermore, Dalton lined up as a wide receiver on the first play from scrimmage of the game, acting as a decoy while wildcat quarterback Mohamed Sanu threw a 73-yard TD pass to AJ Green, then again flanked as a receiver whileBenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a touchdown via a direct snap. The following week at the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dalton threw for 244 yards and had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in leading the Bengals to a 27-10 victory.