Drew Brees led the undefeated Saints to a crushing 38-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday as New Orleans continue to put last year’s nightmare season well behind them.
Brees completed 30-of-39 attempts for 413 yards passing and tossed four touchdown passes as the Saints dominated a matchup between previously unbeaten teams, improving to 4-0, while dropping the visiting Dolphins to 3-1.
New Orleans’ start to this year’s campaign is a far cry from a year ago when they lost their first four games while coach Sean Payton served a year-long suspension for involvement in a bounty program, eventually missing the playoffs with a 7-9 record.
“We like this a lot better,” Brees told reporters, of their resurgence. “Everything that could have gone wrong for us went wrong [last season]. Fortunately, we’re having the ball bounce our way this year. We’re playing good football.”
Restored to full strength, New Orleans have looked a different proposition, and they jumped 7-0 ahead of Miami on their first drive of the game and never took their foot off the gas.
Darren Sproles scored on a five-yard run on the initial possession and added a 13-yard receiving touchdown at the end of the second quarter to give the Saints a 21-10 halftime lead.
Sproles finished with seven catches for 114 yards.
Tight end Jimmy Graham also had a big day to continue his great start to the season.
The big target caught 100 receiving yards and two touchdown passes, the second coming midway through the third quarter on a 43-yard bomb that put New Orleans 35-10 in front.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill added a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but finished with three interceptions and one lost fumble.
“They were huge,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of the turnovers. “We were hanging around. It was a big giveaway.”
Lamar Miller rushed for 62 yards and a first-half score for Miami, but did not see the ball in the second with his team playing catchup.
The Dolphins entered the game with their first 3-0 start since 2002, but drop one game behind New England (4-0) for the American Football Conference East lead as a result of the loss.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
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