Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton goes on the road this Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) against one of the only three quarterbacks in NFL history that started a playoff game in each of his first three seasons.
Baltimore's Joe Flacco joined Miami's Dan Marino and Cleveland's Bernie Kosar when he did it last season. More Flaccomania for which Dalton can shoot: In his first three seasons, from 2008-2010, Flacco won 36 games to tie Marino for the most wins by a quarterback in his first three seasons.
After nine games, Dalton's Bengals are 6-3. In Flacco's first nine games in 2008, the Ravens were also 6-3. Dalton is 173-287 for 1,866 yards (6.5 yards per throw), 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a passer rating of 82.6. Flacco was 151-243 for 1,649 yards (6.8 per throw), seven touchdowns and seven interceptions for a rating of 79.7.
The Cincinnati media asked Flacco during his Wednesday conference call what was the key to success his rookie year.
"He's got a good team. He's had his stamp on why they're a good team and that's the same around here," Flacco said. "We have a bunch of confident guys who play well every week who give us the best shot at winning. When you do that your odds of winning go up. He plays smart football and he's come right in and got that confidence from guys and put that confidence in other guys."
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis believes that '08 Ravens team that Flacco took to the AFC title game before it lost to Pittsburgh had more skins on the wall than this youthful Bengals team. And there are other differences.
"At the point when Joe took over, the rest of their football team was a little bit more established," Lewis said. "Unfortunately, I am sure for Joe, he didn't know he was going to be the starting quarterback. And so, until two weeks before (the start of the season), one week before, it was a little bit different scenario."
HALL SURGERY: Bengals cornerback Leon Hall had his left Achilles reattached Wednesday during surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital and his agent says the goal remains for him to return by the first practice of training camp.
"I'm told the tear was in a spot that should help along the healing process, but everyone is different when it comes to coming back," the California-based Doug Hendrickson said Wednesday night. "The surgery went well, there were no complications, and we're still looking at six to nine months. There's no need to rush it with the hope he'll be ready for camp."
Renowned Cincinnati foot surgeon James Amis, the man who operated on Lewis's damaged ankle a few years back, performed the surgery.