CINCINNATI -- You’re midway through the third quarter. Your team is clinging to a 14-12 lead. You’re facing third down, 11 yards to go on your own 45-yard line.
An errant pass, or a throw for short yardage, meant the Bengals would be punting on fourth down. An interception could have changed the course of the game.
But on this third-down play, rolling to his right in mid-stride, he threw a bullet pass to wide receiver Brandon Tate. Tate made a diving catch, twisted away from a defender after hitting the turf, and rambled into the end zone for a touchdown.
Dalton came through – just as he has on nearly every third-down pass so far this season.
The Bengals went on to beat the Chiefs 36-21 at Paul Brown Stadium.
Dalton’s brilliant start to the 2015 NFL season, and the Bengals’ perfect 4-0 record, have come in part because the fifth-year veteran is connecting on key third-down passes.
Those passes have kept the Bengals’ offense on the field, and, in many cases, put them in position to score points.
Through the Bengals’ first four games, Dalton has completed 20 of 27 passes on third down.
Those completions have resulted In 373 yards and three touchdowns – both career highs for Dalton on third down.
Another career-high total is the number of third-down passes he’s completed for big yardage this year: Thirteen of his passes have gone for seven or more yards.
Dalton is eight-for-10 on third-down passes of 10 yards or more – and four of those completions have gained enough yardage for a first down.
Check out Dalton’s stats on third down, and in other game scenarios, with WCPO’s interactive database that details every NFL regular season and playoff pass he’s thrown.