CINCINNATI -- After Cincinnati's third consecutive loss in the first round of the playoffs, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis made a surprise announcement: He expressed confidence in quarterback Andy Dalton.
Dalton passed for 334 yards and a touchdown Sunday in Cincinnati's 27-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers, but he also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble during the second half.
Through three seasons, Dalton has a 30-18 record as a regular-season starter, but an 0-3 mark in the playoffs. He is 8-10 in regular-season games against the Bengals' AFC North rivals.
Lewis said Monday that Dalton continues to take positive steps forward.
"(As coaches), we need to continue to do things to make his job just easier and easier to do," Lewis added.
When pressed, the coach did not offer specifics on what those things might be.
"We're asking a lot out of him. There's no doubt about it," Lewis said. "I believe in his abilities, I believe in his makeup, I believe in his maturity. And I believe in his ability to let the last play go and move on to the next play. That's probably one of his best attributes of all."
Dalton said, "I think everybody knows what I've been able to do here, what we've been able to do since I've been here as a team. I think I've got a lot of confidence in the stuff Marvin has been telling me. I expect to be here for a long time. I'm hoping that is the case.
"I've got a good relationship with Marvin, he's been telling me a lot of good stuff. Yeah, it's unfortunate that we lost, but we've been able to improve every year that I've been here."
Dalton is entering the last year of his contract, and with a quarterback-rich draft upcoming, the Bengals likely will explore the option of drafting a QB, if nothing else than to upgrade the backup position.
When asked what his offseason plans would be, Dalton said managing different game situations would be at the top of the list along with making sure everyone was on the same page.
"Knowing when I look back at some of the bad plays that I had and how much risk I was taking on certain throws and things like that," he said. "It will be good to reflect on that and also the good stuff. You want to see what you are doing well, what you like, and keep moving forward from there."