Who’s the better QB? Andy Dalton or Blake Bortles?


First off, like any self-respecting journalism school graduate, I abhor clickbait.  

But sometimes when you just know a topic is gonna get click-baited somewhere, you might as well do the click-baitin yourself, right? 

That's how we got to this admittedly questionable moment in my sports journalism career when I just have to ask: 

Would you rather have Andy Dalton or Blake Bortles as a quarterback for you NFL team? 

I find it inevitable someone out there with a website is going to pose this question after Bortles’ team did something over the weekend Dalton’s has not (win a playoff game), so let’s just get it out of the way. 

RELATED: Who were the best Bengals this season?

As a service to you, fair readers, I won’t belabor the point: It’s still Dalton at this point... but the gap has closed, which should probably be distressing for fans of the Cincinnati Bengals but maybe football in general.  

Dalton, who got a head start of three seasons, still has better career numbers, and it's not really close.  

The Bengals signal-caller has his Jacksonville counterpart by eight points in quarterback rating and more than three points in completion percentage. He also has a higher average yards per attempt and touchdown percentage whlie posting a lower interception percentage, too.  

Dalton is 19 games over .500 for his career, but I am one of those who thinks quarterback record is an overrated stat.  

He's unquestionably played on better teams -- at least until this year.  

Compare this season's numbers and Dalton is still ahead -- but not in every category. His rating is less than two full points better while his completion percentage is actually worse, but Dalton maintains an advantage in both touchdown percentage and interception percentage.  

Advanced stats favor Bortles, though, at least this year. 

He ranks 15th in the league in Football Outsiders’ Defensive-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (which is basically their equivalent to WAR in baseball) while Dalton checks in at No. 25. 

Pro Football Focus  graded Bortles higher than Dalton, too

So, what does it all mean?  

Well, there is an argument to be made for Bortles, but it's not a very good one. 

  

Bortles' performance in that aforementioned playoff win over the Bills was far from a work of art, but he is younger, bigger, faster and stronger than Dalton. 

Bortles also got to play behind a better offensive line this season, but Dalton has far more impressive weapons at his disposal when he’s standing upright. 

Dalton’s best season, 2015, was far better than anything Bortles has done in the league, but the Red Rifle hasn’t really come close to replicating that, either, as the cast and his offensive coordinators have changed. 

The future is admittedly murky for both, which compared to a year or two ago is an improvement for Bortles but not so much for Dalton. 

So if, “Bortles or Dalton?” is a dumb question now (it is), it might be naive to say for certain that will continue to be the case. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Plenty of reasons to believe Michigan QB Shea Patterson will be a touchdown machine
Plenty of reasons to believe Michigan QB Shea Patterson will be a touchdown machine

If Michigan quarterbacks manage to scrape together only 9 touchdown passes again this fall, we’ll eat your iPhone. Shea Patterson — assuming he wins the starting job — figures to elevate the Wolverines passing game in a big way in 2018. Which begs the question: Just how big, and will it be big enough? Former...
UCLA dominates Arizona in softball super regional opener in Los Angeles
UCLA dominates Arizona in softball super regional opener in Los Angeles

For their first super regional meeting in history, that was quite a statement. UCLA dominated Arizona in a 7-1 win, holding the Wildcats to just 3 hits and an essentially meaningless seventh-inning run in the series-opening victory. The Bruins built a decent lead early, scoring a run in each of the first three innings. The second of that...
Kentucky stuns Oregon 9-6 in softball super regional opener
Kentucky stuns Oregon 9-6 in softball super regional opener

WATCH: Stanford’s Christian Robinson makes ‘catch of the year’
WATCH: Stanford’s Christian Robinson makes ‘catch of the year’

No joke: Northwestern goes 1-3 in D-II regional discus
No joke: Northwestern goes 1-3 in D-II regional discus

Korbin Spencer wasn’t himself. Things like that happen to unsuspecting sophomores in track and field meets the magnitude of a regional. And as always, Northwestern High School junior teammate Adam Riedinger was there to offer comforting words. How did that go? “He said, don’t be nervous and he started telling me jokes,” Spencer...
More Stories