The Cincinnati Bengals fell to 0-2 on the season as they suffered a home loss on Thursday night to the Houston Texans. The score was close as the Texans won 13-9, however the bottom line for Cincinnati fans is that the Bengals are winless and not scoring much. Both of those realities should increase the negative attention being paid to quarterback Andy Dalton and his role with the team. There were those that felt that he should have been benched heading into the game and a nine-point performance for his offense won't do a thing to quieten his critics.

In fact they may get a little louder on Friday.

Critics comment on Dalton

Steven Ruiz, writing his pregame analysis on Thursday afternoon at USA Today, headlined that the Bengals should "consider benching" Dalton in favor of A.J. McCarron. The writer for USA Today referenced the 2015 season, stating that heading into December of that year the Bengals were "sitting at 10-2 and atop the NFC North standings." According to Ruiz for "the first since the late 1980s, the team looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders." The 2015/16 season wouldn't go so well after the 10-2 start and 2016/17 was forgettable as well. With the Bengals 0-2 in the short NFL season some have to be feeling pessimistic about their chances this season, especially with prospects of going 0-3 against Green Bay looming.

In a fresh article after the Thursday-night game, Jacob Feldman wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated's website. One of his takeaways from the game was that Dalton failed to rise the occasion in the key moments. "Andy Dalton," Feldman wrote regarding a late-game play, "had a chance to silence his critics....Instead, he threw a ball too low for Brandon LaFell, invigorating the home crowd’s boos."

Stats tell part of the story

Sticking to numbers, instead of opinions, Dalton has the following stats after two games.

He has thrown for no touchdowns, he has been intercepted four times, and he has been sacked eight times. For what it's worth, his rating is just 47.2 and he also has a fumble. One of his highlights might be a touchdown-saving tackle after another player fumbled. Dalton also connected down field on multiple occasions on Thursday night, however nothing ever materialized in the red zone except for field goals.

A couple of years ago Dalton was on the shortlist of NFL MVP favorites. Now, at the age of 29, it's not clear where his career direction is going. A.J. McCarron isn't exactly an up-and-comer at the age of 27. That all being the case, the situation looks pretty grim for Cincinnati with Baltimore and Pittsburgh looking more relevant in the AFC North as the Bengals fall to 0-2.