First Quarter: Darren Sproles had a big gain on a pass from Drew Brees to set up his own rushing TD. Miami didn’t show much resistance on defense for the opening drive. Sproles had 57 total yards on the scoring series. The Dolphins came back down the field thanks to a big run by Tannehill on a QB keeper. Lamar Miller helped the Dolphins to a field goal on a few key runs.
New Orleans Defense seemed porous until a big stop in the red zone to keep the lead. Sean Payton won a challenge which forced a punt on a 3 & out, and both teams’ defenses stepped it up for the rest of the 1st quarter after the two opening series.
Second Quarter: On the Dolphins first drive in the 2nd quarter, they were on the move before a Tannehill fumble gave the Saints good field position, and they turned it into a Jimmy Graham TD. The Dolphins were able to respond with a TD of their own on a Lamar Miller run.
Ryan Tannehill had another turnover, throwing an INT that was returned to the Dolphins 23 yard line. Once again, the Tannehill turnover meant a Saints TD, and the Saints went to halftime with a 21-10 lead. The Saints had only 10 rush yards on 8 carries in the first half, compared to 96 for Miami; however, both teams had 1 rushing TD.
Third Quarter: Miami’s offense came out of the locker room starting slow, with a 3 & out. The Saints marched right down the field and scored a TD with TE Benjamin Watson.
After a strong opening series, the New Orleans defense kept their momentum with another 3 & out. Drew Brees threw a bomb to star TE Jimmy Graham for a TD on the first play of the ensuing drive (43 yards).
At this point, Drew Brees was simply putting on a clinic, showing Tannehill what it means to be an elite QB. Miami’s offensive line broke down often, and Tannehill was sacked 3 times through 3 quarters.
The Dolphins ended the quarter on a strong drive. They moved 60 yards, and started the 4th in the red zone.
Fourth Quarter: The Dolphins finally showed some life when TE Charles Clay scored on a 3 yard touchdown pass after Tannehill went 6 out of 7 on passes in the drive. New Orleans responded with strong run plays, something that was missing through the first 3 quarters. The Saints had a long drive that ended with a Garrett Hartley FG, and left Miami down by 21 with just over 7 minutes left.
Ryan Tannehill threw his second INT, and third turnover of the game. This one wasn’t as costly, as the Dolphins forced a Darren Sproles fumble inside the Dolphins 5 yard line.
Once again, Tannehill tosses another pick on the next series to seal the deal. That’s 4 turnovers in the game for the second year QB. The Saints looked like a 4-0 team; the Dolphins were outplayed in every phase of the game, and looked like a team that’s lucky to be 3-1.
Final Score: Saints 38 – Dolphins 17
Game Balls: Darren Sproles Scored 2 TDs, 1 rushing 1 receiving. He also added 44 yards on punt returns and 36 yards on kick returns. One bad fumble late in the game (his first as a Saint, according to ESPN) otherwise a flawless performance.
Drew Brees had nearly a perfect passer rating, and tied two of his own NFL records: 9 straight games with 300+ passing yards and 10 straight games with 25+ completions
Jimmy Graham had another 100 yard receiving game, and added 2 TDs to his season total, which is now 6. He and Wes Welker are tied for the league lead.