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Twin blitzes test Dalton


Dalton threw for three touchdowns against the Bills last season in Buffalo.

When it comes to playing the Ryan twins, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is no red-headed stepchild.

Heading into Sunday's game against the Bills at Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19), he's 3-1 against them and riding a three-game winning streak with a 118.4 passer rating that includes 12 touchdown passes and just two picks.

And, he's been sacked only seven times in the four games against the blitz happy offspring of Buddy Ryan. But he's never faced them together and they roll into PBS leading the NFL in sacks per pass in a nightmare scenario for a Bengals offensive line ranked next to last allowing sacks per pass.

No Bengals quarterback has ever been sacked 50 times in a season, but that's the pace Dalton is on. He hopes his ability to sort it out at the line against the chaos the Ryans unleash slows them down.

"Being able to see it and understand what they're bringing and getting it protected and picked up is key," Dalton said before Wednesday's practice.

He's done it enough that Bills head coach Rex Ryan heaped enough praise on Dalton for a ticker-tape parade during his Wednesday conference call with the Cincinnati media. That's not unusual coach-speak in those settings, but Ryan is speaking from experience.

Dalton torched his Jets for five touchdown passes back in 2013 and last year in Buffalo he didn't get sacked while sifting three more touchdown passes. That makes him 2-0 with a 126.9 passer rating vs. Rex.

"Dalton is a great quarterback. I think it's time to consider him that way," Ryan said. "Before it was, 'Who is this rookie quarterback?' He's carved me up a little bit through the years. He's got touch. He's got moxie. He's a heck of a quarterback."

Dalton knows exactly what he's going to see Sunday.

"They do it all. He's known for having a bunch of different blitz packages and different things he can throw at you," Dalton said. "They have talented guys over there too. Some go straight up, and others, because of the blitz scheme, are getting to the quarterback."

His only loss to a Ryan came at the hands of Rob Ryan, now Rex's defensive boss and the Dallas defensive coordinator in 2012 when the Cowboys beat the Bengals at the gun at PBS, 20-19. Dalton got sacked five times that day and had a 76..1 passer rating,  but he got his revenge in New Orleans in 2014 when Dalton rung up a 143.9 rating against Rob's Saints with just 16 completions that netted nearly 14 yards per grab and 10 yards per attempt.

That's the thinking behind a Ryan blitz. It giveth and taketh away. In the game against the Jets Dalton found wide receiver A.J. Green for a 56-yarder and his 42-yarder to wide receiver Marvin Jones broke open last year's game against the Bills.

"That's one thing with blitzing; you feel like you're getting guys in different spots," Dalton said. "You make one-on-ones, and if you make them miss, you can have big plays. That's the whole part of an offense; being able to beat a defense and get it to your guys so they can make plays with it."

Of course, Rex couldn't say enough about Green, either. He holds him in high esteem.

Higher than future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona, not to mention the Jets' Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins' Jarvis Landry, and the Seahawks' Doug Baldwin.

"He's the best receiver we've faced this year," Ryan said. "It's not even close."

 Green, second in the NFL in yards with 964 and third in catches with 66, is two catches behind Fitzgerald and three behind Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown. Ryan hopes he can do to Green what he did to Fitzgerald earlier this season when he held him to 60 yards on seven catches in the Bills' 33-18 victory over the Cardinals.

Green scorched Ryan's Jets for 115 yards on just three catches in that 49-9 victory in 2013 with the help of that 56-yarder. In his first season with the Bills last year Ryan's guys held Green to four catches for 36 yards, but Jones killed them with a 95-yard day

"I heard he was hobbled,' said Ryan of Green's leg cramps on Monday night. "My advice to Marvin (Lewis) is to rest him."

With the Jets coming off a 2010 AFC title game appearance, Ryan knew "We weren't going to be able to touch him,' in the 2011 draft.

"That's the year Julio Jones came out and I was saying, 'Please go to the NFC, please go to the NFC,' and Julio did.

"Other than I'd just put him below average," Ryan joked. "A.J. is a ridiculous talent … What an amazing talent."


Cincinnati Bengals travel to take on the New York Giants in week 10 of the regular season.

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