What extra pressure? Andy Dalton was better vs. blitz in 2015

CINCINNATI -- With the offseason here for the Cincinnati Bengals, we're taking a daily look at a few statistics that either defined the past season, or went overlooked during it.

Today, we highlight the following number:


Andy Dalton's good play -- which featured more across-the-board consistency than the Bengals quarterback had shown in his previous four seasons -- was the storyline that dominated his 2015 season. Even in the moments when he experienced his greatest adversity of the year, he responded in ways that might have been completely foreign in similar tough situations earlier in his career.

A relative fourth-quarter comeback hero, the onetime MVP candidate engineered come-from-behind wins over Baltimore, Seattle and Pittsburgh before his year came to an end in Week 14 due to a thumb injury.

We could highlight virtually any quarterbacking statistic to showcase just how big a step Dalton took in Year 5. His overall improvements were that noticeable.

For the purposes of this post, though, we're looking specifically at his numbers versus extra pressure this past season. In certain areas, he actually had a better year when opposing teams blitzed him than when they didn't. It was when teams didn't blitz Dalton when he racked up the touchdown passes. With typically solid protection in standard-rush scenarios, Dalton completed 17 touchdown passes. But he also had a knack for putting the football in opposing defenders' hands in those situations. Dalton had seven interceptions when throwing with standard pressure.

When he was blitzed, Dalton didn't have a single interception.

That's different from past years. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Dalton averaged six interceptions in his first four seasons on throws attempted when he was blitzed. He had eight interceptions alone in 2014 when blitzes were sent his way.

Not only were Dalton's interception numbers markedly better when extra pressure was applied, but his Total QBR and passer ratings were higher, too. Per Stats & Information, he had an 82.6 Total QBR when he was blitzed, versus a 78.4 Total QBR when he wasn't. His passer rating of 112.4 with the blitz stood out when compared to the 103.0 that he had without extra pressure.

Much like the interceptions, Dalton's 82.6 with-blitz Total QBR was higher than similar numbers he had in past seasons. Set in 2014, his previous single-season Total QBR high when facing blitzes was 67.8.