CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton is just the fifth quarterback in NFL history to guide his team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, although he is the first among that elite group to lose his first two postseason games.
Pat Haden and Joe Flacco won their playoff debuts; Dan Marino and Bernie Kosar won their second postseason starts. But there are a couple of things different about Dalton and this year’s playoff run, which the Cincinnati Bengals hope will produce their first postseason victory in 23 seasons.
The first is that the Bengals are AFC North champions after back-to-back wild-card appearances, which means Dalton will get to play a playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium for the first time.
“It’s big,” Dalton said of the chance to play at home, where the Bengals are 7-0 this season. “ It’s the next step for us. That was one of our goals going into this season.”