Grading Andy Dalton’s performance from Week 6 loss to Bengals

New Orleans Saints, Andy Dalton
New Orleans Saints, Andy Dalton / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

There goes Andy Dalton's pristine record against the Bengals. Dalton and the Saints lost in agonizingly close fashion in Week 6, and Dalton gets only an average report card.

Prior to Sunday, Dalton has faced his former team twice in his career and won both times, once on the Cowboys and once on the Bears.

On his new NFC team, the New Orleans Saints, Dalton got off to a promising start but nonetheless fizzled out toward the end, displaying his crippling inability to come back late in games.

To begin with the good: in a run-dominated offense, Dalton completed just four passes in the first half, three of which were key plays. One was an 18-yard sniper pass to Tre'Quan Smith for a touchdown, and the other two were crucial third-and-long completions that gave the Saints a new set of downs.

His touchdown pass to Smith was a stunning dart, and he has also established strong chemistry with Marquez Callaway so far this season. His super-quick handoff to Rashid Shaheed for Shaheed's explosive touchdown run was very well executed, too.

If we could grade Dalton for his first half alone, we would give him an A.

Unfortunately, as the game went on, Dalton started to fall off a bit.

Andy Dalton couldn't lead Saints to victory against his old team in Week 6

That brings us to the second half. Dalton was able to drive down the field to the Bengals' end zone twice, yet both those drives ended in field goals.

When Burrow scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, putting the Bengals up by four, the Saints entered desperation mode and needed Dalton to step up his game.

Dalton had 1:57 and three timeouts to go 70 yards for a game-winning touchdown, a feat as easy as eating breakfast for elite quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

For Dalton, however, he only managed to get to half-field before giving up the ball on downs. A few short passes, a few incompletes, and one crushing sack secured the win for Cincinnati; in retrospect, believing Dalton could actually drive down the field was probably overly optimistic.

He finished the game with fewer than 200 passing yards (yet again) and only one passing touchdown.

Dalton has been serviceable as a starter in Jameis Winston's absence, but the Saints will hopefully get Winston back to full health next week.

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All things considered, we'd give Dalton a C+. He was efficient and methodical in the first half, but as much as he tried, he couldn't light a fire in the Saints' passing attack in the second. No bonus points for effort in the NFL.