Andy Dalton had a weird first half on Thursday night. At least it provided a screen shot that should go in the Louvre.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback had a couple touchdowns, and also a pick into the end zone. Despite the interception, the Saints were tied 14-14 against the Arizona Cardinals with two minutes left before halftime. Then he had a historic two-minute drill. Not the good kind of history.
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Dalton threw a pick-six that deflected off Marquez Callaway and returned for a touchdown by Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson. Wilson flipped into the end zone and led to a camera shot that is practically fine art.
With it came some jokes.
It would have been a really weird half if it ended there. Two touchdowns, two interceptions. But the Saints still had time and another two-minute drill.
And Dalton threw another pick-six.
This one went to linebacker Isaiah Simmons. He returned it 56 yards for a score. That led to some folks digging into the history of Dalton throwing two pick-sixes in a two-minute drill, and it was the first of its kind in a long time. It was also the first time in a few years that a quarterback had thrown back-to-back pick-sixes at any point of a game.
Here’s Dalton’s line for the first half: 9-of-15, 177 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions, 101.2 passer rating. It is really, really hard to throw three interceptions in a half and still have a passer rating above 100. The Cardinals won the game 42-34 in large part to Dalton’s three errors.
The Saints are going with Dalton because Jameis Winston is still working back from injuries. Dalton was considered a safer option because he won’t turn it over as often as Winston. Dalton had a Winston-esque game on Thursday night.