Dolphins Suffer First Loss Of Season At New Orleans

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Turnovers and efficient Saints offense prove too much to overcome.

Looking for their first 4-0 start since 1995, the Miami Dolphins ran into a New Orleans Saints offense hitting on all cylinders at home on a Monday night and came up on the wrong end of a 38-17 score.

Miami faces a quick turnaround before trying to bounce back this Sunday at Sun Life Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens, the defending Super Bowl champions.

Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill had an up-and-down first half, leading the Dolphins on two scoring drives, including one of 81 yards that resulted in a touchdown to make it a four-point game. But his fumble on a scramble and interception late in the half led to two New Orleans touchdowns and gave Saints quarterback enough of a cushion to settle into his own rhythm.

“While we hadn’t played great up to that point in time we were right in the ballgame hanging around with opportunity and it was a big giveaway,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said of Tannehill’s interception in the second quarter. “That’s not a good formula. Most of the game we were minus-2 and I believe we ended up minus-3, so that’s not a good formula for us. I want to credit them. Their team was very well prepared and their player played very well.”

Both teams entered the game unbeaten, with two of Miami’s three wins coming on the road, but once Brees got going he was hard to stop as he found eight different receivers on the night. By game’s end he completed 30-of-39 passes for 413 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions while improving to 9-0 in primetime games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tight end Jimmy Graham (four catches, 100 yards, two touchdowns), running back Darren Sproles (seven catches, 114 yards and one touchdown) and wide receiver Marcus Colston (seven catches, 96 yards) were his biggest targets.

Tannehill, who had looked solid in the first three games, especially in the fourth quarter, finished the night 22-of-35 for 249 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He also picked up 48 yards on the ground on four carries and second-year running back Lamar Miller led the way with 62 rushing yards on 11 carries.

“We faced some adversity earlier in the year and responded. Obviously, we didn’t respond like we wanted to tonight,” Tannehill said. “It doesn’t matter if you lose by one or you lose by whatever we lost by, it still counts as a loss and nothing more. So while we’re not happy with it we need to correct the mistakes and we’re going to move on quickly and be ready for Baltimore.”

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson was the Dolphins’ leading receiver with six catches for 71 yards and tight end Charles Clay also grabbed six passes for 42 yards.

The Saints defense also got after Tannehill with its pass rush, sacking him four times. He has now been sacked 18 times in four games and his offensive line is intent on correcting that moving forward.

“I think we’re disappointed,” said veteran right tackle Tyson Clabo, who came over from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason. “We feel obviously that we’re a better football team than what we showed tonight and those guys in the other locker room did a tremendous job. They played much better football than we did and the score reflected that.”
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