Poor Andy Dalton, who inspired so many memes Thursday night. His job as a second-string quarterback is to not make it worse in case he needs to start a game. And on NFL prime time, the “Red Rifle” failed in spectacular fashion.
Dalton started for the New Orleans Saints in the team’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Saints QB1 Jameis Winston still was sidelined because of an injury. And Dalton, who has three Pro Bowls on his NFL resume, was a more than capable back up.
Need proof? Here’s his first touchdown. Dalton threw a perfect pass to Rashid Shaheed who split two defenders as he ran a post route. As the NFL described it: “Andy Dalton drops a DIME to Rashid Shaheed and we’ve got points early on Thursday Night Football.”
Then it turned bleak for Andy Dalton, but oh-so-bright for those who love NFL memes. In the second quarter, Dalton threw interceptions on consecutive drives. Nope, it was worse than that. Dalton’s two interceptions each were returned for touchdowns. Ouch and ouch.
Let’s find the first one, which should live forever on social media. Your grandchildren may still be making jokes about this play decades from now. The Cardinals had just tied the game at 14-14. Dalton threw for Marquez Callaway, who broke free on a slant route. Don’t blame this play on Dalton, but it still counts in his stats. Rather, this was on Callaway, who tipped the ball. Arizona’s Marco Wilson turned his first career interception into a memorable pick. After all, as a defensive back, it’s not every day you get a pick and take it to the house. Or ‘partment, as the Cardinals social media account called it.
Extra points for the flip and roll into the end zone. Forgive Wilson for the theatrics. He couldn’t act like he’d been there before because he literally has never been there before, at least not in the NFL.
Now remember that Wilson flip and roll. It’s at the genesis of this Andy Dalton meme. Clever internet people saw it. Boy, did they. But there also was another ingredient to this spicy dish of mockery. Bring on the Dalton reaction. Let’s check in on Cardinals’ social media. They didn’t disappoint.
“Frame it, give it to your mom for Christmas or put it on the fridge. we don’t care, as long as you have it.”
frame it, give it to your mom for Christmas or put it on the fridge.— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 21, 2022
we don't care, as long as you have it. pic.twitter.com/Y4yuqPkMLC
While it made for a terrific snapshot, the video is so much better. Admit it, as Wilson looks like a cornerback Ninja, you kind of feel sorry for Andy Dalton, ’cause surely he’s not your starting QB on your fantasy team. This video has more than 4 million views since Thursday night. Y’all, that’s called going viral.
Then came the second Andy Dalton miscue. (Saints fans, put that paper bag back over your face. You don’t want to see this play). Dalton didn’t notice Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons sitting back in a zone. Simmons also had his first-ever pick six. And suddenly, Dalton became a defensive player’s BFF.
Overall, Andy Dalton threw for 361 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. But it’s all about the meme, so this game lives on forever.