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Dalton looking to become Andy Ice for Bengals
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton hopes to build a late-game resume similar to Falcons QB Matt Ryan's.
Ryan, despite coming up 10 yards short of winning the NFC championship last season, has earned the nickname Matty Ice after leading Atlanta to 22 winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime during his five-year career.
Dalton, whose red hair led Cincinnati's radio network to affectionately call him "The Red Rifle", has played well inside opponents' 20-yard line.
He has 35 touchdowns and zero interceptions inside the opponents' 20-yard line, and joined Dan Marino and Peyton Manning as the only QBs to throw at least 43 touchdown passes in their first two seasons.
Dalton's body of work, though, has lacked an abundance of comebacks.
"At the end of the game, you've got to find a way to win," Dalton said. "I know Matt's done a really nice job and he's done a lot of good things since he's been in the league. He's a guy that's fun to watch."
Dalton helped rally the Bengals four times in the fourth quarter of his rookie season two years ago, and last Dec. 23 at Pittsburgh he connected with A.J. Green to set up Josh Brown's winning field goal with 4 seconds left, putting Cincinnati in the postseason and eliminating the Steelers from playoff contention.
But two weeks later at Houston, Dalton looked as if he would overcome a horrible game statistically he finished with a 44.7 passer rating but a potential winning pass to Green sailed over the receiver in the end zone.
Falcons coach Mike Smith and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis liked what they saw Tuesday from their offenses in 1- and 2-minute drills as the teams held a joint practice for the second straight day.
Ryan and Dalton both had some encouraging moments even though players only wore shoulder pads and helmets and quarterbacks were off limits to contact.
In a drill with nine offensive players and seven defensive players, Ryan was 6 for 8 passing and hit Kevin Cone for an 8-yard TD against the Bengals' first-team defense.
Cincinnati's 2-minute drill included a long gain from Dalton to tight end Jermaine Gresham, but the drive stalled at the 15.
"That's an area as a quarterback that you've got to stay calm with everything," Lewis said. "You've got to manage the clock. You've got to manage the ball going out of bounds and so forth. There's a lot."
Ryan's big moment came last January when he needed just 12 seconds to complete a long pass to Harry Douglas and another to Tony Gonzalez that set up Matt Bryant's 49-yard winning field goal against Seattle with 13 seconds remaining.
That moment was Matty Ice's 22nd winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime during his five-year career.
"It's great to have a young quarterback like Matt," Lewis said. "He's been so cool and calm in that situation, and that's great. We've got to hope when Andy gets put in those situations more and more that he can handle it just as effectively."
Ryan was not available to speak with reporters Tuesday, but Douglas said "it's a blast" running last-minute drills with the Atlanta QB, particularly when that work leads to success in a game.
"One thing about no-huddle and two-minute is the slot guy is very active," Douglas said. "You've got to know what everybody's doing because you've got to pass out calls to the other receivers, tight ends and backs if they need it, and you've got to be one accord with the quarterback. It's fun. I love it."
NOTES: The two big star WRs of the 2011 draft, Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Atlanta's Julio Jones, will not play in the preseason game. Green, the No. 5 overall draft pick two years ago, stayed home to get treatment on a bruised knee. Jones, the No. 6 overall pick, is out with sore hamstrings. ... Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon (dislocated left finger) and Bengals LT Andrew Whitworth (knee) are sidelined, too.
FLOWERY BRANCH, GA - AUGUST 6: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals speaks with the media after practicing against the Atlanta Falcons at the Atlanta Falcons Training Complex on August 6 2013 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)