'World just catching up' as NFL honors Dalton

Updated: 2:50 p.m.

The NFL named quarterback Andy Dalton the Offensive Rookie of the Month on Thursday for helping lead the Bengals to their first perfect October in 35 years, but right guard Bobbie Williams didn't understand the fuss.

"Awesome, well deserved. He's leading the troops. Nothing has changed. The world is just catching up," Williams said before practice. "It's something we already know in Cincinnati."

Dalton's numbers weren't overwhelming in the month with six touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 83.1, but he became the first Bengals rookie to quarterback a four-game winning streak that included two fourth-quarter comebacks.

In the 23-20 win over the undefeated Bills on Oct. 2 at Paul Brown Stadium his team trailed, 17-3 at halftime before Dalton threw a touchdown pass, ran for another and led a 56-yard drive for Mike Nugent's winning 43-yard field goal as time expired. The next week in Jacksonville the Bengals trailed 20-16 before Dalton led a late touchdown drive that featured a nine-yard completion to tight end Jermaine Gresham to the Jaguars 10 on a fourth-and-six play.

In an Oct. 16 win over Indianapolis at PBS, Dalton's 78.1 completion percentage was a Bengals best in their last 30 games. He threw for six TDs and five INTs in October and had a passer rating of 83.1.

Dalton threw for a pair of TDs last week as the Bengals completed October with a 34-12 win at Seattle, posting their largest winning margin in the last 38 road games.

The award is going to be added to a box in Dalton's Cincinnati home that already has the Most Valuable Offensive Player from the last Rose Bowl and the two Offensive Player of the Year awards from the Mountain West Conference.

"I've never really put them out," Dalton said. "We'll see what happens. I didn't do any of it myself. There are a lot of guys on this team that are making big plays. We just have to keep it going."

Asked if he was surprised that Carolina quarterback Cam Newton didn't win it again, Dalton seemed to be thinking more of his No. 1 target rookie. Bengals rookie receiver A.J. Green caught 18 balls for 322 yards and has a touchdown in the last three games during October while leading all rookie receivers this season in yardage.

"I'm not the only rookie on his team," Dalton said. "I've seen highlights of Cam and he's doing a lot of good things. He's a fun player to watch. There are a lot of guys doing good things … I'm honored."

Maybe no play summed up Dalton's season more than the third-and-10 from the Seattle 34 he faced in a raucous CenturyLink Field last Sunday with the Seahawks scrambling back into the game, down just 17-12 with 5:39 left. The play broke down with the receivers covered, but Dalton scrambled to his left long enough to throw a short pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell breaking off his original route. It only picked up four yards and it was not a highlight-film-Cam-Newton-firework. But it helped win the game because it turned Mike Nugent's 52-yard field-goal attempt into a 48-yarder and he hit it for the 20-12 lead.

Dalton agrees he's become more comfortable as the season has gone to get out of the pocket more and more and make a play.

"Maybe the pocket breaks down a little bit or guys are covered, just move around and give them a chance to uncover themselves," Dalton said. "They covered it well. I felt a little pressure. I got out, he got a little separation from his guy and it went for a big completion.

"I feel like I'm seeing things a lot better. I've been going out and been able to get us in the right play and do a lot of that. And I feel like I've been able to make some more plays with my feet. Moving around a little bit more. I definitely missed some throws. I've got to better at making quick decisions and letting the ball out of my hands. Just a little bit of accuracy on some of those things. A lot of that has to do with footwork. I've definitely noticed it and I'm trying to clean it up."

But Dalton's accuracy has been his strength so far. His 62.4 completion percentage (136-for-218) is 13th in the NFL, his highest ranking in any category, which ranges from accuracy to 24th for percentage of balls intercepted with seven picked. He's 18th in passer rating, five slots behind Newton.

"For a guy to come in and learn a brand new offense and keep his mistakes to a minimum shows a lot of want-to, character and poise," middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said. "He deserves it as far as the other rookies that have done a good job. You hear a lot of about Cam Newton. You don't hardly hear anything about Andy and being 5-2.

"He deserves it. I just hope he continues to build on that and hopefully he'll win the rookie of the year."

Williams, though, likes this Bengals bandwagon off the radar.

"I'm glad he won it," he said. "I just wish they would have told our team and not the whole world."

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