Andy Dalton fit a sideline throw between two defenders, dropping it just over the one in front for a completion. He made a pump-fake and hit A.J. Green for a 45-yard touchdown.
Virtually everything he did was right on the mark in the Cincinnati Bengals' season opener, an impressive showing that got overlooked in how it ended.
The third-year quarterback completed a career-best 78.7 percent of his passes during a 24-21 loss at Chicago on Sunday, one that came down to turnovers and defensive gaffes. Dalton was 26 of 33 for 282 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which went off Green's hands.
It was as flawless a game as Dalton has played in the NFL.
''He threw the ball well,'' offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. ''He had a great game. This was one of his better games here. There's still room for improvement.''
If Dalton plays near the level he did in the opener, the Bengals (0-1) will have a good chance of reaching the playoffs for the third season in a row,...