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Lewis: Andy Dalton needs playoff wins to silence critics

Marvin Lewis understands that naysayers will continue to critique Andy Dalton until the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback performs in the playoffs.

"He's been a three-year starter so he's accomplished a lot of things in his career thus far," Lewis told NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Friday. "But until we win playoff games these questions you have ... those will always continue to be there. And that's all we can do is erase them for Andy and myself."

The Bengals have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Houston Texans in each of Dalton's first two seasons. With the AFC North already wrapped up, the Bengals could earn a first round bye this week.

Lewis isn't worried about his quarterback's ability to get them to the next level.

"I keep saying this. He continues to be Andy," Lewis said. "As long as everyone else continues to play at a high level around him he will do his thing week in and week out. We just have to keep pushing and prodding and making sure everybody else gets to the right spots and they're diligent with their responsibilities.

"If we continue to protect our quarterback and we continue to package our plays, run and pass together, that gives us good clean looks down the field all the time."

Dalton, perhaps more than any other playoff quarterback, isn't going to make or break his team. However, at home, he has been a beast this season. This year's home playoff game could be the first stepping stone for Dalton to start silencing his most vocal critics.

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