New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins
The New Orleans Saints (5-0) look to maintain their sizzling start on the road against the physical Miami Dolphins (2-3). Follow our blog on all of the action at Landshark Stadium:
Jeremy Shockey catches 4 passes for 108 yards. Mike Bell rushes 12 times for 80 yards, all in the second half. The Saints outscore Miami 36-10 in the second half, overcoming a 24-3 deficit to win. Injuries to Sedrick Ellis and Heath Evans may be a concern. Think there are still any doubters? The Saints now lead the division by two games after Atlanta lost to Dallas.
Saints win 46-34. Tremendous comeback win. 6-0.
Tracy Porter picks off a Chad Henne pass and returns it 53 yards for a touchdown. Payton goes for 2 and it fails. The Saints lead 46-34 with 1:53 left to play in the game. That's two pick-six interceptions in the game for New Orleans. The Saints have scored 36 points in the second half. This is one of the most incredible games I have ever witnessed. Who could have conceived of this?
The Saints come close to putting it away--but they do not. Their drive stalls at the Miami 2-yard line. On third and goal, Brees goes back-shoulder to Colston. It hits him in the hands, outstretched, but he cannot catch it. Carney kicks a 20-yard field goal. It's 40-34 New Orleans with 3:23 to play. Miami has a chance to win it with a TD and extra point. Up to the defense now. Miami ball at their own 20.
And the Saints defense gets another thee-and-out. Good punt, Bush returns it to the Saints' 34-yard line. 8:15 left to play and the Saints have the ball and a 34-31 lead. Time to step on the gas and lengthen the lead.
Amazing stuff! The Saints have their first lead of the game, 37-34 with 8:35 to play in the game. The bad news is that John Carney missed the extra point. The snap was good but Mark Brunell bobbled the ball and the hold was not clean. Carney hooked it. That is HUGE! The Saints took the lead, driving 60 yards in 8 plays with Brees scoring on a clever 2-yard quarterback sneak out of a shifted formation with two tight ends that confused Miami. Heath Evans was injured on the drive. Brees hit Jeremy Shockey for 16 and 14 yards on the drive. Mike Bell ran 4 times for 18 yards.
And the Saints defense gets a big stop, forcing a three-and-out by the Dolphins' offense. Saints get it back at their own 40 with 12:52 left in the game, trailing 34-31. Here is a huge opportunity for the Saints. Can they seize the moment?
And the Saints offense goes off quickly to cut the lead to 3. Brees hits Jeremy Shockey, who makes a great run after the catch for 65 yards to the Miami 13. After Mike Bell ran 3 yards to the 10, Reggie Bush scores on a double reverse, getting a key block from Drew Brees and leaping just inside the pylon for the score. 34-31 Miami with 13:23 to play in the game. This has turned wild!
Just when the offense wakes up, the defense goes to sleep. Tracy Porter gets beat by a possession receiver in Brian Hartline on a slant, misses a tackle, and Hartline goes 67 yards to the Saints' 4-yard line. On the next play, Ricky Williams continues to torment his former team, scoring from 4 yards out to make it 34-24 Miami as the third quarter ends.
The Saints offense responds, driving 82 yards in 8 plays with Brees connecting with Colston on a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut the Miami lead to 27-24. Mike Bell injected juice into the offense, carrying twice for 41 yards on the drive. 1:09 to play in the 3rd quarter.
Why doesn't Brees throw to a running back releasing against the regular Miami blitzes? They sure cannot pass block. Brees keeps looking downfield, getting sacked, holding it too long.
Dan Carpenter boots a 33-yard field goal to give Miami a 27-17 lead with 5:59 to play in the third quarter. The Saints defense allows no yards on 3 plays. They cannot play better. They are the only reason the Saints are remotely in the game. Other than the long touchdown run by Ricky Williams, they have been outstanding. The offense has been putrid--cannot block, run, throw or catch. They are still in the game but they won't be for long if they do not do something now.
And the Saints offense goes backwards and screws up big-time again. Brees commits his fourth turnover, hit on a sack, fumbles, and Miami recovers. Jason Taylor knocked it free, and the Dolphins recovers at the Saints 15. Terrible scheme, terrible blocking, very bad day for Brees.
And the Saints defense comes up big again. On third and 2, Jonathan Vilma, who has played outstanding, makes a stop on Ronnie Brown for no gain. Good punt pins the Saints back to their own 20 with 8:12 to play in the third quarter, trailing 24-17. Can this offense get it done? The defense has really stepped up.
Nate Jones strips Colston on a pass to the end zone for a tremendous interception to kill a Saints drive and kill the Saints momentum. The Saints were at the Miami 27 with a 3rd and 11. This was the third interception of Brees in the game and it was a great play. The offense just cannot get it done. Can the defense come up big again? That was a huge game-changing play. Miami ball at their own 20 with 10:02 to play in the third quarter.24-17 Dolphins.
And the Saints defense gets another three-and-out--great job by the "D." Anthony Hargrove, in for the injured Sedrick Ellis, gets his second sack of the game. Gregg Williams is bringing the house at Chad Henne. Saints ball at their own 35, trailing 24-17 with 12:29 to play in the third quarter.
Here is the deal--Darren Sharper intercepts a Henne pass, tipped by Tracy Porter, and he returns it 42 yards for a touchdown. It is Sharper's third pick-six of the season. He fumbles as he crosses the goal line. It is ruled a touchdown on the field and the replay evidence is not conclusive enough to overturn it. 6 picks fo r Sharper on the year. Saints alive, trailing 24-17 with 13:56 to play in the third quarter.
Miami will get it first to start the second half. The defense must get a quick series to get the offense back on the field and give them decent field position.
Miami has outgained the Saints 175-112. Miami has rushed for 120 yards. Two turnovers for New Orleans, one by Miami. Ricky Williams has 6 carries for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ronnie Brown has 11 carries for 38 yards and a score. Chad Henne is 6 of 9 for 64 yards. Brees is 12 of 22 for 104 yards and 2 interceptions and a rushing touchdown. Marques Colston has 4 catches for 62 yards. Reggie Bush has 4 touches for 5 yards. Time to try Thomas and Bell. Of course, there is no balance. The Saints have passed 22 times and run it just 8 times. Miami has rushed 22 times and passed just 9 times. Brees has been harrassed, hit, had passes tipped and had a pair of picks. He's been sacked 3 times. Please do not go emtpy backfield or have Bush in pass protection!
And the Saints get back in the game by inches and good fate. Brees hits Colston for what is ruled a 21-yard touchdown pass but it is overruled by replay, saying Colston is down at the 1-yard line. After initially deciding to kick a field goal, Payton decides to go for it following a Tony Sparano time out. Thanks, Tony! Brees scores on a quarterback leap over the top. Extra point good. 24-10 at half. If Sparano would not have called timeout, the Saints already had their field goal team on the field. Brees talked Payton into going for it and he scored. Barely. By an inch or two. Good enough.
Saints defense forces a turnover--Roman Harper and Jabari Greer dislodge the ball from Devone Bess and Scott Shanle recovers at the New Orleans 49 with 1:38 to play in the first half.
Two minute warning--24-3 Miami. Ellis carted off. He is done for a while, certainly for today, likely longer. What a series of plays by Reggie Bush. He fields a punt inside his ten, slips and falls for a 2-yard loss on first down, misses a block to get Brees sacked on third down. What's wrong with Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell?
Another sack of Brees. Bush sets them up to fail and they do with horrible blocking. Another blitz, another sack. Why is Reggie Bush in pass protection? He can't block. He was run over. Punt from the end zone. Only a great punt by Morstead gets Miami the ball at their 41, rather than on the Saints side of the field.
Now Reggie Bush fields a punt inside his 10. What is wrong with these guys? They are professional football players. We were taught on the playground not to field the punts inside the 10. He is tackled at the 9. On first down, he loses 2 yards. Why is he running the ball?
Ellis helped off field. Does not look good.
Good news--Saints defense finally forces a three-and-out by Miami. Bad news--Sedrick Ellis is down injured.
And you give them the ball at the 40-yard line with the miss.
Knowing Carney's distance limitations, why not go for it down 24-3? Your team needs a spark. Field goals won't do it when you trail by 21 points. It was fourth and six.
And Carney missed a 50-yard field goal. Dolphins get it back, ready to torch the Saints defense some more.
In the midst of a drive, Brees is sacked by Jason Taylor, fumbles, but the Saints recover near the Miami 40. Still third and 16. Bushrod getting killed by Taylor. Stinchcomb gets hurt on the play. Miami is taking no prisoners.
And Ronnie Brown scores easily on first and goal from the nine--make it 24-3 Miami. This is complete and total dominance. 8:55 to play in the first half. At this point, you have to wonder just how bad of a beating the Saints will take today. The Dolphins have a perfect plan. Pressure Brees, stay in the passing lanes, knock balls down or tip them. That's his weakness. He is short and has trouble throwing over defenders. Of course, there has been no blocking. Nothing good here for Saints fans.
Brees intercepted again, this time on a tipped pass. 2nd for Brees. Saints are 1-13 when Brees throws 2 picks. This one could be over early.
No return at all--Saints have to start from their own 17-yard line.
12-play drive for Miami stalls at the Saints 14-yard line and Dan Carpenter boots a 32-yard field goal to make it 17-3 Dolphins with 11:21 to play in the first half. If the Saints sleeping offense has a pulse, it has to beat now.
END OF 1st QUARTER--Miami leads 14-3 and they are driving again, in the midst of converting two more third downs on short yardage. They are playing ahead of the chains. The Saints cannot stop the run. The Dolphins have rushed for 105 yards in one quarter. Barring a game-changing play, this could get ugly. The defense is on the field too long and cannot get off the field. The offense has been overpowered, with a measly 27 yards in the first quarter.
Miami continues to completely dominate the game and the line-of-scrimmage. Brees under heavy pressure every time he drops back. Has a third down pass batted down. THree and out. Miami getting the ball back up 14-3 at their own 40-yard line.
Saints start from their own 20. They need a drive badly.
I repeat--the Saints are NOT READY TO PLAY. On the first play following the kickoff, Ricky Williams runs untouched, 68 yards for a touchdown. Miami leads 14-3 with 4:47 to play in the first quarter. The Saints are in huge trouble early in this one.
Vontae Davis made a 4-point play, hustling to stop Roby from scoring on the 87 yard kickoff return.
And the Saints go backwards, losing 12 yards in three plays. Getting dominated up front. John Carney bails them out with a 46-yard field goal to make it 7-3 Miami with 5:06 to play in the opening quarter. Miami is controlling play early in this game. The offensive line is struggling mightily to block the Miami front. Not a good sign.
Courtney Roby returns the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Miami 16, he is penalized for delay of game for spiking the ball. Great return, stupid penalty. Saints at the Miami 21
Early on, the Saints look unfocused and vulnerable. The Dolphins are focused, more than ready.
The Saints commit the huge mistake after the terrible field position. Tyrone Culver intercepts a terrible pass from Brees, who was under pressure from Jason Taylor, and he returns it to the four-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Ricky Williams scores untouched for a touchdown. 7-0 Miami at 7:20 to play in the first quarter. Saints trail for the first time this season. They deserve it. They have stunk early in this one. Terrible decision by Lance Moore kills them, followed by back-to-back penalties--one on Jermon Bushrod for a false start and the other on Brees for delay of game. Then came the interception. Let's see how tough this team is.
Miami makes a pair of first downs, driving to the New Orleans 45-yard line before the Saints get a stop, forcing a punt. Still, Miami had the ball for nine plays, exactly what they hope to do all day--run the ball, possess the football, and keep the Saints offense on the field. Lance Moore does a lousy job, fair-catching the punt at the six-yard line. What is wrong with punt returners? This is the NFL. Stand at the 10--if the ball clears your head, LET IT GO! There is little or no difference between the 10-yard line and the three-yard line. There is a world of difference if you get it at the 20. Bad decision by Moore. Saints start in the hole with 8:19 to play in the first quarter with no score.
The Saints get a terrible break. The replay machine MALFUNCTIONS, costing the Saints a first down and possession. Chad Henne completed a pass to Devone Bess on third down that Sean Payton wisely challenged. The replay showd that Bess did not catch the ball. Television had the replay but apparently, the NFL replay official could not see what the rest of the world saw. Lousy!
The streak is over. The Saints do not score on their first possession of the game for the first time this year. After a 14-yard pass completion to Marques Colston, Colston then dropped a pass from Drew Brees, Jeremy Shockey was hit for a one-yard loss on a screen pass as Jonathan Goodwin missed a block, Jon Stinchcomb committed a false start, and Brees hit Pierre Thomas for 13 yards but short of a first down.Dolphins will start from their own 30.
Courtney Roby returns the kickoff to the New Orleans 27-yard line.
Saints win the toss and get it first--they have scored on every first possession this season.
Ready to go at Land Shark Stadium. Perfectly sunny day. Saints wearing black. Lots of Saints fans in the house.
Another key to watch for today is turnovers. The Saints are best in the NFL with a +9 turnover radio while the Dolphins are -3. The Saints have come up with 15 turnovers, including 11 interceptions.
The weather is as expected in Miami--partly cloudy, 83 degrees, 67 percent relative humidity, and the wind could be a factor, blowing out of the South/Southwest at 11 miles per hour.There is virtually no chance of rain.
Two keys to watch for in today's game--1) Getting ahead early. If the Saints can get ahead and build a two-score lead, it will negate Miami's expressed desire to run, run, run. 2) The Saints defense must get off the field on third down. Miami is converting an amazing 56% on third down, largely due to their running game and short yardage situations.
This game could come down to which defense performs best. Miami is third in the NFL against the run, 18th against the pass. Miami leads the NFL in rushing (yards per game) but they are 26th in passing. New Orleans is the #1 offense in the league. While everyone is talking about how the Dolphins will possess the ball and cause all kinds of trouble running the ball against New Orleans, the Saints offense likes the challenge of being able to run against the highly-rated Miami run defense. The Saints are fourth in the NFL, averaging nearly 158 yards per game rushing. By the way, the Saints are fifth-best in the NFL against the run, allowing just 83.4 yards per game.
Look for the Saints to try to get Jeremy Shockey involved early and often in today's game. Tight ends have had great success against Miami this year. Of course, those having great success are great tight ends, including Tony Gonzalez of Atlanta, Antonio Gates of San Diego and Dallas Clark of Indianapolis. Clark torched the Dolphins for 7 catches for 183 yards and a long score in the Colts' win on Monday Night Football over Miami. Shockey, now healthy, is in that class. Gibiril Wilson has struggled in coverage against opposing tight ends.
Here are your Saints inactives--Garrett Hartley, Chase Daniel (3rd QB), Leigh Torrance, Malcolm Jenkins, Lynell Hamilton, Scott Fujita, Nick Leckey and Kendrick Clancy.
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