CINCINNATI -- The Andy Dalton era in Cincinnati appears to be over.
Rookie Ryan Finley will replace Dalton as the Bengals' starting quarterback, the team announced Tuesday. The news came two days after the winless team matched the franchise's worst start since 2008. With Cincinnati off this week, Finley's debut will have to wait until the Nov. 10 home game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Coach Zac Taylor didn't single out Dalton as the primary reason for the team's 0-8 start, saying that was "the furthest thing from the truth." However, the first-year coach said it was time to see what Finley can do.
"It takes more than one game to figure out what you've got there," Taylor said. "We're going to give him a chance to prove that."
Dalton had been the Bengals' starter since they selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft. He is tied with Ken Anderson for the most touchdown passes in franchise history (197) and is second in career passing yards (30,352).
The ninth-year player from TCU was informed of the decision on Tuesday morning, two days after the Bengals' 27-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London. Dalton, whose contract expires in 2020, was not present when the locker room opened to reporters in the afternoon.
Through eight games, Dalton is ranked 28th among 33 qualifying quarterbacks in Total QBR. His rating of 38.8 is currently the lowest of his career. Dalton has completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,252 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's also been sacked 29 times, the third-highest total in the league.
Dalton was 32-of-52 passing for 329 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers against the Rams.
Taylor went from room to room to inform the players while they were watching film during position meetings. Taylor said he wanted to make the switch before Wednesday, the team's lone practice during the off week.
Veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap said the move took the locker room by surprise. The 10th-year player also said the move signaled a desire for the front office to win games this season.
"There's a short-term opportunity, a window for opportunity in this league and it seems like they have a sense of urgency upstairs and they're sending a message to the locker room," Dunlap said.
In April, Cincinnati drafted Finley with a fourth-round pick. It was the highest pick the franchise has used on a quarterback since it took Dalton in 2011. In the preseason, Finley completed 47 of 64 passes for 414 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
"It's a hard decision at the end of the day because this is a business, and nobody knows when things are going to change and however it works," Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd said. "But at the end of the day, I trust Finley, and I feel like we can do good with him."