Grading Andy Dalton's performance in Week 13 loss vs Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

A lot can be said of Andy Dalton's performance as the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints this season but one thing should be made perfectly clear -- He was not to blame for the asinine 17-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Saints held a 16-3 lead with 5:31 remaining in the fourth quarter but went on to lose by one point. The defense held strong for pretty much the entire game except for when it mattered the most and the offense -- despite scoring 16 points and looking far and away the better unit in the game -- continued to stall in the big moments.

Dalton finished this game with just eight incompletions (20-of-28) for 229 yards and a touchdown. He didn't throw an interception and furthermore, three "playmakers" dropped what would have been crucial first downs or in Jarvis Landry's case, a touchdown. Dalton did what he could to give the Saints a win and shed that "poor in primetime" label that's been attached to him. It was everything else that let him down.

Andy Dalton's Week 13 report card is in

Dalton wasn't perfect but he did enough to help the team win the game. As I mentioned before, it was his weapons that let him down time and time again. He does have a tendency to take bad sacks when he could just throw the ball away and that's why I'll give him a B+ for his efforts in this game.

Dalton certainly isn't the long-term answer at quarterback for the Saints but after a not-so-great outing in San Francisco, not many people expected him to perform well on the road in primetime. He ended up playing well and had arguably one of his best performances of the season.

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What grade do you think the Red Rifle deserves for his Week 13 performance?