Katherine Terrell, ESPN Staff Writer 333d

Andy Dalton's struggles go beyond the offensive line, date to 2016

CINCINNATI -- Andy Dalton hasn't exactly had the benefit of a clean pocket this season. He's been sacked eight times, and on 40 percent of his dropbacks under duress. That's the third-worst percentage in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

But that's not entirely why he and the Bengals have struggled this season. The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2 and have yet to score a touchdown, but Dalton has actually handled pressure fairly well. He ranks among the top 10 quarterbacks in passing yards and completion percentage under pressure.

Oddly enough, he's been at his worst with a clean pocket.

Dalton ranks last in the NFL in completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio when not under duress, completing only 56.4 percent of his passes and throwing four interceptions to no touchdowns.

His 5.9 yards per attempt when not under duress ranks 26th in the league.

Two games might be a small sample size, especially considering all four of his interceptions came in Week 1. But it does show that the problems aren't isolated to a struggling offensive line.

Dalton simply hasn't played well, and he hasn't for a while.

The Bengals are 1-4 in their past five games, dating to a 24-20 loss to the Steelers on Dec. 18, 2016. Dalton has thrown only two touchdowns to six interceptions in those games. The offense has averaged 13.2 points per game during that period.

It didn't help that Dalton was missing a significant number of weapons by that point, with A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard both out. Tight end Tyler Eifert missed the final two games of the season as well. However, Dalton had all three of them healthy in the first two weeks of this season.

Eifert won't play this week after being ruled out on Friday with a back injury.

The Bengals have never been without a touchdown through the first three games in their history. Their last 0-3 start was in 2008, before Dalton was drafted. Dalton is going to have to elevate his play significantly against the Packers' 10th-ranked passing defense to avoid both of those scenarios.

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