Monday Lights too Bright for Tannehill and the Dolphins

NEW ORLEANS, LA - Two 3-0 teams clashed Monday night but only Drew Brees and the Saints showed they deserved to be unbeaten. The Saints struck first with a Darren Sproles run in the first quarter on their way to a 38-17 rout of the Dolphins. Brees threw for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Saints imposed their will from start to finish. It has never been more apparent that head coach Sean Payton is roaming the sidelines as the Saints continuously exploited mismatches in the Dolphins secondary. After a 4-0 start the Saints are eerily reminiscent of the 2009-2011 teams that Payton lead to three straight playoff appearances. They won the Superbowl in that stretch when they also started 4-0 in the 2009 season.

Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham attacked the linebackers down the middle while Darren Sproles caught pass after pass out of the backfield. Sproles was too fast and shifty to be contained. He finished with 7 catches for 114 yards. Graham and Sproles both finished with two touchdowns and Benjamin Watson accounted for Brees’ other TD toss. Jimmy Graham said what we’ve all known for some time about his quarterback after the game, ”He plays out of this world. This team is so dynamic, we have so many weapons and Drew knows exactly where to go with the ball.”

The Saints defense refused to let their offense have all of the fun as they forced four turnovers of their own. They also got to Tannehill early and often, sacking him 4 times. The addition of Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan can’t be overstated as they have flip-flopped from one of the worst defenses a year ago to one of the best. They allowed a record 440 yards and 28.7 points per game last year, while only allowing 296 (4th in the league) and 12.7 points (5th in the league) coming in to Monday night.

Ryan Tannehill finished the game with 249 yards and a touchdown. His lone score came late in the second quarter when he  hooked up with TE Charles Clay. Clay made a spectacular over the shoulder grab in the corner of the end zone. After losing Dustin Keller for the year in the preseason, the young TE has stepped up in a big way as he already has 245 yards and a score on the year. Lamar Miller scored the Dolphins only other touchdown as he scampered in from 5 yards out late in the 2nd quarter. The Dolphins look to get back to their winning ways as they host the Baltimore Ravens next week. Coach Joe Philbin emphasized the importance of focusing this week in practice, “We’ll find out a lot about the team we have by the way we come back tomorrow.”

The Saints take their unblemished record on the road as they travel to Chicago to face the 3-1 Bears. Brees will look to continue to climb the ladder of great quarterback statistics. He surpassed Fran Tarkenton’s 47,003 for sixth most yards passing all-time. Brees also completed his 4,124th pass, one more than John Elway, placing him fourth on the list.

Follow Drew Ryan on twitter @DrewRyan14

(Photo credit: Getty images)

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