Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was happy with quarterback Andy Dalton's continued solid play Sunday in the win over the Chiefs that put Cincinnati at 4-0 and two games ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC North Division.
Specifically, the long touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Tate got Lewis' attention. The 55-yard play helped give the Bengals a 21-12 lead with 8:43 to go in the third quarter. Cincinnati outscored the Chiefs, 15-3 in the third for a 29-15 fourth-quarter lead after leading by just two at halftime.
The Bengals won, 36-21.
“It was a good job by the guys on the big play moving out of the pocket on the scramble and finding (Brandon) Tate, and Tate doing a nice job with the scramble and turning it up the field like he’s supposed to do," Lewis said of the completion to Tate at the end of a Dalton scramble.
It's a type of long throw on the run that Dalton rarely makes. He passed for 321 yards.
"It was a good throw, good catch, and Tate put it in the end zone. So it was a good job," said Lewis. "He (Dalton) executed and ran the offense well today. The runs he got us in and out of were great. They were stacking in there, and we did a good job.”
It was Tate's lone catch of the day.
“He’s got a role," Lewis said of the receiver-return man, who has a penchant for making big plays. "When he gets an opportunity, he always takes advantage of it. It was a nice job by him.”
But Lewis has a short memory. When asked about the Bengals averaging nearly 10 yards per play on offense Sunday, and how big of a role offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is playing right now, the coach said. “Well, today is over. It was a good job by us today, but today is over.”
Dalton was happy to elaborate, while showing a sense of humor.
“They were trying to find different ways to take (A.J. Green) away from our game plan. They used double-coverage and adjusted their defensive looks," Dalton said of the Chiefs' defense. "That is what teams are going to have to do. A.J. is very talented, and we connected for some big plays early. Those factors contributed to them changing what they were doing.”
Green mentioned that it had been some time since he had seen bracket coverage.
“I told A.J. that they knew, at some point, I was going to be placed out at receiver, and they’d have to make adjustments," Dalton said with a laugh. "I’m just kidding. Teams have to respect A.J., and they’re going to continue to focus on finding packages to take him out of the game plan. Situations like that will put other players in single-coverage situations, and we’ll take advantage of those mismatches."
On the Tate play, Dalton said: "The way it happened, I was able to escape to my right. Brandon made an unbelievable catch. What great field-awareness he had to get up immediately and score. That play made an impact at that point in the game.”
The red-hot red-head explained how it feels in the huddle for a hot team with a smoking offense. The Bengals are averaging 30.2 points per game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays. We hit some big runs. Gio (Bernard) and Jeremy (Hill) both carried the ball well," Dalton said. "Our passing game was a nice complement to the running attack. Different things happened, and different guys made plays. That is what we expect from this offense. We still left some plays out there. A couple of them I’d like to have back. We will keep working, and hopefully get to 5-0.”
They are 4-0 in part because the offensive line handled Chiefs pass-rush specialist, Justin Houston.
“The Chiefs have one of the best pass-rushers in the league in Justin Houston," Dalton said. "Our offensive line answered. They contained him well. The result was that I didn’t get hit much today.”
And his demonstrative, almost out of character, first-down signal that got everybody's attention after a scramble?
“I got a first-down," he said, laughing. "That’s all it was. This was a game, that when we needed a first-down, we were able to get it.”