Andy Dalton and the Bengals' passing game were sizzling on Sunday. They torched the Detroit Lions in a 27-24 victory at Detroit -- their first notable road win of the season -- and Dalton finished with obscene numbers. The red-haired quarterback finished with 175 DYAR, one behind first-place Aaron Rodgers in our weekly roundup, while throwing for 372 yards and three touchdowns. (DYAR is an aggregate compilation of DVOA, Football Outsiders' defense-adjusted value over average metric, explained here.)
John Clayton raised the idea that this was a win that brought the Bengals into the "elite" of the AFC. Other than the fact that "elite" has been thrown around so much in NFL circles that it has completely lost any meaning, the idea of the Bengals joining a higher tier isn't laughable. This was a breakout game for the skill position weapons that Cincinnati has been accumulating over the past couple of years. Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert made their presence felt, and A.J. Green did what A.J. Green has been known to do: devastate entire secondaries.
More importantly, there is every reason to believe that Cincinnati's success as a team is real and sustainable.