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Andy Dalton got booed off the Pro Bowl field

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was not received warmly by the Pro Bowl crowd. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has turned into something of a national punching bag for his repeated struggles not just in the postseason, but in nationally televised games of any kind. And, to a large degree, deservedly so, as Dalton has gone one-and-done in the playoffs all four years of his career (with one touchdown against six interceptions, and a 57.8 rating), and he was absolutely roasted for a Thursday-night debacle in November.

So it’s safe to say that Dalton’s reputation preceded him to Glendale, Ariz., site of Sunday’s Pro Bowl. Add in the Arizona crowd’s apparent interest in letting a number of targets hear its displeasure, unusual for the normally laid-back all-star game, and perhaps it’s not surprising that the quarterback’s desultory performance got him booed off the field.

Dalton completed 9 of 20 passes for 69 yards and zero touchdowns or interceptions. In contrast, the other five quarterbacks in the game (Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan) all performed much better, combining to complete 52 of 78 passes for 745 yards, eight touchdowns and two picks.

What probably pushed the University of Phoenix Stadium crowd past its limits of good will was Dalton’s performance in his team’s final drive, in which it trailed, 32-28, with just over three minutes left. The quarterback drove “Team Carter” to the 19-yard line, mostly by either handing the ball off, or throwing short passes, to running backs Alfred Morris and Justin Forsett.

Once at the 19, with over a minute left, Dalton was able to … well, do nothing. He attempted four passes, including two more to Morris and one to regular-season security blanket A.J. Green, and all four missed their marks, the final one by a laughably large margin.

Dalton failed to pull-out the last-minute victory, and at least some in the crowd let him know that they weren’t happy he came up short in the drama department.

Now, in fairness to Dalton, he wasn’t supposed to have been anywhere near the Pro Bowl. He was originally named the seventh alternate (although even that was arguably too lofty of an honor), but so many other quarterbacks dropped out of the game that he eventually floated to the top of the list.

Also, Dalton played well in his only other Pro Bowl appearance, in 2012, when he completed seven of nine passes for 99 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. In addition, as mentioned, he was playing in front of a bunch of folks who seemed unusually predisposed to negativity:

Okay, that makes some sense, considering that many in attendance would have been Cardinals fans, with little love for the division-rival Seahawks and absolutely none for the mouthy cornerback. But booing mascots and the national anthem singer, that just seems flat-out surly.

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