Andy Dalton had a weird first half on Thursday night.
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.
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.
The shot of the season so far pic.twitter.com/hhijvSxVGW— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) October 21, 2022
And that 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 at least a long time according to CBS. 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.
Andy Dalton is the only player since at least 2000 with multiple pick-6s in the 2-minute drill in the same game. pic.twitter.com/jASuIAXKu5— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 21, 2022
Andy Dalton is the 1st QB to throw a pick-6 on consecutive drives since Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 2 of 2019 against the Patriots. New England beat the Dolphins that day 43-0. Fitzpatrick is calling the game here tonight for @PrimeVideo— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) October 21, 2022
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 led 28-14 at halftime due 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 first half on Thursday night.