In a battle of unbeaten NFL teams, the Saints took the opening kickoff, hit the Miami Dolphins in the mouth and rolled to a 38-17 victory. The Saints are now 4-0, and one of only 5 unbeaten teams left in the entire league.
The Saints relied on Darren Sproles in their opening drive. On the second play, the swing pass to Sproles baffled the Dolphins' defense, and allowed Sproles to pick up a gain of 48 yards on second down, all the way down to the Miami 31-yard line. Sproles would finish off the 6-play, 82-yard drive with a perfect draw play - untouched on the 5-yard run. The Saints taking the lead at 7-0.
The Dolphins, on the ensuing drive, called upon the poise of their second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who would gain 26 yards to drive down the field, and be rewarded by with a Sturgis 38 yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game.
In the 2nd quarter, Miami had something going until Tannehill had the ball poked free by linebacker Curtis Lofton after an 8-yard gain. It was Tannehill's sixth fumble of the young season. The Saints took over at their own 38, and proceeded to make Miami pay the price.
On the ensuing drive, the Saints found themselves in a 3rd and 20 situation, but moved the chains on a short pass from Brees to Sproles for a 21-yard gain. The Saints would close the drive with Brees hooking up with tight end Jimmy Graham for the touchdown. Graham's 1st catch of the game, a 27-yard reception, made it a 14-3 game in favor of the Saints. Brees passed for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns in the game.
The Dolphins showed plenty of spunk in their next drive. They caught the Saints in a blitz situation, screened to Marcus Thigpen who picked up 50-yards down to the Saints 5 yard line. Lamar Miller finished it off from there, cutting the Saints' lead to 14-10.
Miami would threaten again near the end of the half, but the turnover battle was once again won by the Saints. Tannehill tried to squeeze one into a tight window to Brian Hartline, but it was picked off by Jabari Greer at the Dolphins' 45.
And, to ring the red zone bell, it was Brees hooking up on a 13 yard scoring play with Sproles, and just like that, it was 21-10 Saints at the half.
The Saints came out in the 2nd half, and put the pedal to the metal. A pair of Miami three-and-outs yielded a pair of Saints touchdowns. The first capping a 10 play, 59 yard drive. Brees with a 4-yard pass to tight end Ben Watson. The second, on the first play of the next possession. This time, it was Brees to Graham again on the 43-yard play. And, just like that, it was a 35-10 Saints lead. Brees surpassed the 300 yards passing mark for the 9th straight game, building on his own NFL record.
The Dolphins showed some fight, finishing off a 9 play drive in which Tannehill was 6-for-6 passing. Charles Clay hauled in the strike, and it was 35-17 Saints.
The Saints added a Garret Hartley field goal to make it 38-17, and were knocking on the door for another touchdown. But, Darren Sproles had the ball stripped en route to the end zone. Sproles first fumble in 33 games as a Saints' player.
That was about the only bad news as the Saints improve to 4-0 with a road game in Chicago coming up Sunday.
The Saints want to establish playoff position in the NFC South, redeem themselves from the embarrassment of Monday night's debacle in Seattle and prove that Who Dat fans are the loudest.more>>
The Saints want to establish playoff position in the NFC South, redeem themselves from the embarrassment of Monday night's debacle in Seattle and prove that Who Dat fans are the loudest in the sporting world in an indoor stadium.more>>