Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton knows how to start strong. It's the finishing part that needs improving.
Case in point: Last season. Dalton helped guide the Bengals to a 3-0 start, only to fizzle in yet another first-round playoff bow-out in January.
Another case in point: Dalton's career trajectory. He developed into a bit of a local darling during his second season when he helped lead the Bengals to a second straight playoff berth while passing for 3,669 yards and 27 touchdowns. He got a boost in popularity during his third season with career-high totals of 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns, and another playoff berth. But this summer he was booed at Major League Baseball's celebrity softball game in Cincinnati. This after being pilloried like a pinata in the previous offseason months following a miserable 2014 in which he posted some of the worst numbers of his career and lost again in the first round of the playoffs with another forgettable postseason performance.
The fifth-year quarterback can't win for losing. Now, you can add Dalton's latest preseason trend to the starting-strong statistical heap. Friday's 3-for-3 passing for 31 yards in the 23-10 win against the New York Giants was Dalton's second straight unerring performance through the air in a preseason home opener against a New York team. In last year's preseason opener, a loss to the Jets, Dalton started the game, and finished 8-for-8 passing for 144 yards and a touchdown.
The Bengals' whipping boy hasn't thrown an incomplete pass in a preseason home opener in three years. Dalton completed the last three passes during an 9-for-14 effort in the Bengals' 2013 preseason home opener against the Tennessee Titans, giving him 14 straight completions covering the last three preseason home openers.
As they say, he's got that going for him.