After a virtually invisible two-tackle performance on Monday Night Football, J.J. Watt felt the need to take a shot at Andy Dalton.
Yes, just minutes after the Texans beat the Bengals 10-6 in Cincinnati, Watt ripped Dalton on national television, saying Houston’s goal was to “make the Red Rifle look like a Red Ryder BB Gun.”
Dalton, who was made aware of Watt’s comments in his post-game presser, fired right back, saying, “I’m disappointed in him because of the integrity of this game. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a really good player. There are a lot of kids and people who look up to him, and for him to make comments like that, he’s just showing that’s acceptable to say that kind of stuff. It’s disappointing for one of the best players in this league to come out and say something like that, so that’s all I’m going to say about that. He’s a good player, but for him to be one of the best in this league and to show that integrity, it shows what he’s about – and that’s disappointing.”
Dalton has been criticized for reacting sensitively to Watt’s jab, but Scott Ferrall thought Dalton handled it well. He came across as a mature professional and maintained composure throughout.
“It is interesting,” Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat writer Jim Owczarski said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “J.J. Watt gets his first sack of Andy Dalton and on the very next play on 3rd-and-18 from his own 11, (Dalton) hits A.J. Green to start what could have been that game-wining drive. People are trying to point out that J.J. Watt said what he said and then kind of followed it up with a compliment of some kind. Well, look, I can insult your mother and then say you’re a nice guy right after it. It doesn’t really matter, right? Andy Dalton clearly was offended and felt the need to say it. I think in town, people are disappointed in the loss, but the sense that I’ve gathered a little bit is, ‘Hey, he was offended, he stood up and said something about it.’ In the previous four years, I don’t know if Andy Dalton does that.
“It kind of plays into this different Dalton – this kind of narrative you’ve heard about this guy who’s kind of stepping into his own to be a leader,” Owczarski continued. “Say whatever you want about it. He felt he got a shot taken so he said something back. I know nationally it hasn’t played very well because JJ. Watt is everything. He’s the insurance-company guy, the commercial guy, the HBO star. Andy Dalton is never going to win that sort of broad PR battle. But I think in town, I appreciated the fact that he said it. He easily could have waved it away and just pretended it didn’t bother him, but it did. He said something. And honestly, I think it’s going to play well in the locker room because those guys love him. And hey, it’s pro sports. Any reason to rally around a guy or feel disrespected, you know these guys love that and will latch right on to it.”