Fans love to compare, especially at quarterback. There is no better set of signal-callers to compare in Cincinnati than Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer.
After all, they are both namesakes of different eras of Cincinnati Bengals football. The “Palmer era” began in 2003 when he was the number-one pick in the draft. Dalton shares his namesake with his favorite wide receiver. The “Dalton-Green era” commenced when the pair was drafted in 2011, starting a franchise turnaround that resulted in five consecutive trips to the postseason.
But how does Dalton stack up with Palmer? The two were on different wavelengths when they came into the NFL. Palmer was a Heisman Trophy winner and the consensus first pick. Dalton was rated the fifth-best quarterback by Walter Football, behind current San Francisco backups Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert, Carolina’s Cam Newton and the retired Jake Locker.
Dalton has the most wins from his quarterback class, edging Newton, 56-51. Colin Kaepernick is third with 28.
In 2017, Dalton will have a chance to surpass Palmer in multiple categories on the franchise leaderboard.
Palmer currently sits third on the team’s all-time passing leader’s list with 22,694 yards. Not far behind him is Dalton, who, at 22, 214, needs just 481 passing yards to eclipse Palmer for the no. 3 spot.
This obviously is an easy feat for the Red Rifle to accomplish. It will likely take him the first two games of 2017 to do so. If he can do it in the first three weeks of the season, he would leapfrog Palmer despite playing in fewer games. Palmer currently leads him by four (97-93) in that category.
In 2017, Dalton, barring any injury, will become the second Bengal drafted by Marvin Lewis to play 100-plus games. Andrew Whitworth, who’s questionable to be back next year, is the lone player to do it at 168.
Dalton already has twenty-two 300-yard games under his belt. Palmer, in one more season with the Bengals, had just 17.
Dalton snapped Palmer’s single-season passing touchdown record in 2013. But overall touchdown tosses — advantage Palmer, 154-142.
Another mark that Dalton will (likely) surpass next season. He needs just 13 touchdown passes, his lowest career mark is 18, set last year.
Palmer also has more multi-touchdown pass games (49) as a Bengal than Dalton (44). Dalton needs six such performances next season to pass Carson’s mark. He had a career-low four of those outings in 2016.
One of Dalton’s biggest improvements has been taking care of the ball. In the last two years combined, he’s thrown 949 passes, only 15 of which were intercepted (1.6 percent). Despite the low number of passing scores last year, he was the first quarterback in franchise history to start all 16 games and throw less than 10 picks.
Palmer and Dalton have the same Bengal-high in interceptions at 20. Palmer in ’07, Dalton in ’13, coincidentally the same years they respectively set the single-season record for passing yards.
If Dalton can throw less than 19 interceptions next season — which he’s done five out of six years — he will have fewer total picks than Palmer with more games played in the same number of years (seven).
Goose eggs for both. In playoff appearances, Dalton has Palmer beat, 5-2, counting 2015, when he had the Bengals at 10-2 and was an MVP candidate before a season-ending thumb injury.
They each have two division championships on their resume, too.
But the number the majority of fans care about is zero. As Bengals, Palmer and Dalton are a combined 0-6 in the postseason. Cincinnati continues to own the dubious honor of having the NFL’s longest playoff drought at 26 seasons.
In Palmer’s only full postseason game in stripes, he completed half his throws for 146 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His 58.3 playoff passer rating in that loss to the Jets was eclipsed by Dalton twice, in the 2013 playoff loss to San Diego (67) and his last postseason appearance back in 2014 against Indianapolis (63.4).
Of the 20 quarterbacks to win a regular-season game in Bengals’ history, only two have won in the playoffs. Ken Anderson guided Cincinnati to a conference title in ’81 and Boomer Esiason did the same in ’88, then beat Houston in the first round of the 1990 playoffs.
Dalton, Palmer and Virgil Carter are the other three to make the playoffs, all winless.
Most of Who Dey Nation would take a playoff win over a superb statistical season. Fans have seen plenty of the latter, but prefer the former.