For all the attention surrounding Tim Tebow and his ability to write storybook endings, Andy Dalton has shown more than a little bit of "Disney" in his right arm as well. The Cincinnati Bengals' rookie quarterback is preparing this week for his first NFL playoff game, one that will take him back to where it all began for him and the scene of some of his greatest gridiron exploits.
As the Bengals prepare to take on the Houston Texans Saturday at Reliant Stadium, there are some eerie similarities that bode well for the Bengals to pick up their first playoff victory in over 20 years.
Dalton is a native of Katy, TX, a suburb just west of Houston where Dalton will lead the Bengals into battle this week in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. As a high school star at Katy High School, Dalton was named the Offensive Player of the Year for the area by the Houston Chronicle. During his amazing career with the Tigers (the irony only gets thicker) Dalton completed and astounding 80 per cent of his passes for over 15,000 yards and 70 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He and the Tigers reached the Texas 5A State Finals Dalton's senior season.
After high school, Dalton decided to attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. After redshirting his first season, Dalton was named the Horned Frogs' starting quarterback in 2007. That season culminated in a trip to the Texas Bowl in Houston played at Reliant Stadium. Dalton's opponent was the hometown Houston Cougars. Dalton out-dueled Houston's own freshman, Case Keenum, guiding TCU to a 20-13 victory. Dalton passed for 249 yards and ran for a touchdown en route to being named the game's MVP. That victory, combined with two other high school games played in Reliant Stadium made Dalton 3-0 at the home of the Houston Texans.
A little over four years later, Dalton is prepared to make another appearance under the dome of Reliant Stadium. He's guiding another group of Tigers, the Cincinnati Bengals to take on the hometown team during his "freshman" season in the NFL. He'll face another rookie in Houston's TJ Yates.
Though Dalton's numbers in his last Reliant Stadium appearance were hardly eye-popping, especially in comparison to Keenum's 335 yards, the Bengals will be more than happy for a similar result.
And by the way, guess who the Bengals beat in their last playoff win. You guessed it, the Houston Oilers, 41-14 on Jan. 6, 1991.
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