Through four games, the Red Rifle has been firing bullets. Many of them deep. Dalton's 10.2 yards per attempt leads the NFL. If he could somehow keep that pace over a full season it would be the highest yards per pass attempt since 1960, beating out Kurt Warner's 2000 average of 9.9 ypa.
It's not as if all of Dalton's deep completions consists merely of tossing it up haphazardly to A.J. Green. The Bengals quarterback has utilized all the various weapons in his quiver, Green, Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones, Rex Burkhead. Heck, Dalton even got Brandon Tate into the fun with a beautiful on-the-run 55-yard bomb last week.
Jones believes this year's Dalton is different because he's trusting his receivers to make plays and not playing scared.
"We're at a point right now where Andy really trusts us to be there, even if we haven't separated from the corner, he knows we're gonna get the separation," Jones said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "That's what it's all about -- just run and homie go get it. That's what it is. That's pretty much all everything is. And that comes with trust, the trust that we're gonna run and we know he's going to put it out there for us and he knows when he puts it out there we're gonna get it."
Bengals receivers have certainly gone and gotten it. Dalton has a passer rating of 146.6 on pass attempts of 15-plus air yards this season (highest in the NFL) after compiling just a 57.2 rating on such attempts last season. He's completing 63.3 percent of those deep passes with a 5-0 touchdowns-to-interception ratio.
"It's something that we practice quite a bit, as well as Andy throwing it either on the money or putting it up where we let our talented receivers go make a play on it," said tight end Tyler Eifert.