The Bengals just benched Andy Dalton . . . on his birthday
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off the field after being stopped on a fourth down play in the second half during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 30, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Do you know what today is? Oct. 29, 2019 AD. An ordinary Tuesday to some. National Frankenstein Day to others. But most important to us and the proud citizens of Buffalo, N.Y., who still have to remember to send him a card every year, it's Andy Dalton's 32nd birthday. Why do we know when The Red Rifle was first fired into this realm of existence? Why do we care? Well, because today is the day, after years of pain, suffering, turnovers and turmoil, that the Cincinnati Bengals finally benched him. If this isn't the most Cincinnati Bengals thing to ever Cincinnati Bengal—even worse than the fan who slipped in puke, destroyed his shoulder, and sued his team—then we don't what is.
It's not that Andy Dalton didn't have it coming, either. That's not really the issue. He did. The Bengals are as bad as the Dolphins and somehow twice as irrelevant. The issue is with the timing. They didn't bench Dalton last year or last week. Nor did they wait until tomorrow. They did it today. D-Day, of all the cold, heartless, bastard days to do it.
For 16 playoff winless years, Mike Brown personally shielded Marvin Lewis from the harsh realities of the outside world before he was finally, under immense public pressure, forced to move. And when they did, the Bengals let Lewis down softly, placing his head to the pillow like a sickly babe. Dalton, meanwhile, got a boot up his ass and his face shoved in his birthday cake like it was a toilet. Zac Taylor, the Bengals' glorified high school coach who has lost the first eight games of his NFL head-coaching career in emphatic fashion, has a slogan. "It's About Us," he says . . . unless, of course, it's your birthday, in which case, eat sh*t and die.
Oh, and if you're wondering what Dalton's numbers look like this year because you have mercifully avoided watching even a single snap of Bengals football, he's tossed nine touchdowns and eight picks while completing 60.4 percent of his passes at a clip of 6.7 yards per completion. That's an anemic stat line to be sure, but its not a dumpster inferno like those that Mayfield, Keenum and Darnold have posted.
Then again, logic has never been the Bengals' strong suit. Logic suggests you sell off your injury-prone talent when you're 0-8 and in complete rebuild mode. Logic suggests you don't can a loyal employee on his 32nd birthday. But nope, not in Cincinnati, where the party in the break room at 3 p.m. has just been canceled and the only thing on the calendar is the beginning of the Ryan Finley era.