Rookie Dalton effective at QB
Seattle Seahawks management and coaches – and the team’s fans – got an up-close look Sunday at the quarterback who could have been the face of the franchise.
After watching Cincinnati signal-caller Andy Dalton, a player Seattle passed on in the 2011 NFL draft, guide the Bengals to a 34-12 win at CenturyLink Field, Seahawks brass might have been left wondering, “What if?”
“He’s going to be a terrific football player,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s really got all the right stuff. And he’s got a good bunch of guys around him. And I think he’s going to be a real factor.”
Dalton was available when Seattle made its first selection – offensive tackle James Carpenter at No. 25 overall – in April’s draft. General manager John Schneider and Carroll have said Dalton impressed them, but they remained true to plan of solidifying the offensive line. Ten picks later, the Bengals snagged Dalton with the 35th overall pick.
Dalton knows the Sea-hawks were interested in him but has no hard feelings about being passed over.
“There are a lot of decisions that go into draft picks, and I know that,” Dalton said, “I’m just trying to do my best.”
He’s doing fine, so far.
Dalton completed 18 of 29 passes against the Seahawks for 168 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Through seven games, the rookie from Texas Christian University has performed well, connecting on 62.4 percent of his passes. More importantly, Dalton’s Bengals are winning games. Cincinnati (5-2) is tied with Baltimore for second place in the AFC North.
Dalton didn’t have to deliver a game-winning touchdown throw or engineer a come-from-behind victory – the Bengals never trailed – but he managed the game well and put together a point-producing drive in the fourth quarter, seizing back momentum from the Seahawks.
Cincinnati had seen its 14-point advantage shaved to 17-12 when Seattle scored a touchdown with nine minutes remaining. On the ensuing possession, Dalton guided the Bengals 32 yards in six plays and kicker Mike Nugent drilled a 48-yard field goal, extending the lead to 20-12 and the Seahawks never threatened again.
“It was big,” Dalton said of the field goal. “It was what we had to do, to get down there.”
Seven weeks into his rookie season, Dalton thinks he’s on the right track to succeed as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
“Being able to play for seven games and get some experience,” he said. “I think things will come a lot quicker to me, and I have to keep getting better every day.”
Doug Pacey: 253-597-8271 email@example.com