NFL 2013 Week 4 Recap
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams was the Thursday night game. An ugly first half saw the 49ers miss a field goal and Greg The Leg Zeurlein doink a 40 yarder off the upright and in to have the Rams up 3-0 after the opening quarter. The second quarter came down to two big plays. On 3rd and 19 from the Rams 20, Colina Kaepernick hit Anquon Boldin, who broke a tackle and lunged for the pylon to give the 49ers the lead. With less than one minute left in the half, the 49ers faced 4th and inches from the Rams 34. Frank Gore broke free all the way for the score to make it 14-3 Rams at the half. Mild excitement occurred when Phil Dawson missed a 71 yard field goal off of a free kick to end the half.
Kaepernick led the 49ers in the third quarter 88 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. A 12 yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis put the 49ers up 21-3 over the lifeless Rams. A sack strip fumble of Sam Bradford in the fourth quarter set up the 49ers from the Rams 3 yard line, setting up Anthony Dixon for a one yard touchdown. 28-3. The Rams finally cracked the end zone, but it was too little, too late. Besides, the 49ers added one more as well to complete the humiliation for the Rams. 35-11 49ers
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills—For the 3rd straight week the Ravens fell behind 6-0. 2 weeks ago they rallied to beat Cleveland 14-6, and they throttled Houston 30-9 last week. Yet those games were at home. On the road against Buffalo may be a different story as the Ravens are not performing well on offense. Joe Flacco is not Trent Dilfer but defense is carrying the Ravens. A sack of EJ Manuel meant a fumble and a short field for the Ravens. Despite the offense playing badly, the defense had the Ravens up 7-6 after a 10 yard touchdown pass by Joe Flacco.
Manuel came back though and threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to Woods to put the Bills back in front 13-7. An interception of Flacco set the Bills up at the Ravens 28. Fred Jackson ran 16 yards for the score to make it 20-7 Bills at the half. Despite 3 interceptions, Joe Flacco managed to throw a 26 yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith to get the Ravens within 20-14 of Buffalo in the third quarter. Buffalo had a touchdown pass called back, but another field goal had the Bills leading 23-14 entering the final quarter.
3 interceptions were why the Ravens were trailing, but Flacco rebounded. A field got the Ravens within one score, and Baltimore then drove to the Buffalo 6. Yet on 4th and 5 from the 6 with 4 minutes left, John Harbaugh opted for the field goal. He was right to trust his defense. Yet after Buffalo nearly fumbled the ball away deep in their own territory, the Ravens offense could not get it done. A deflected pass became Flacco’s 5th interception. He finished 25 of 50 for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the picks were killers. This was a growing up win for Buffalo. 23-20 Bills
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns—Forget Trent Richardson. The big story in Cleveland is the quarterback change. Last week Brandon Weeden was benched in favor of 3rd stringer Brian Hoyer. Hoyer led the Browns to a win on the road. Now he and Jordan Cameron have hooked up again. a 12 play, 95 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive ended with a 2 yard toss to Cameron as the Browns took the 7-0 lead. Cincinnati would get a field goal in a game where the Cleveland defense continued to make the Dawg Pound proud.
The defensive slog continued in the third quarter as the Browns added a field goal to lead 10-3 in a game hideous enough to represent the battle of NFL Ohio. Cincinnati added a field goal themselves as they trailed 10-6 entering the fourth quarter of a game nobody in the other 49 states could watch. Yet there is a new era in Cleveland. The Browns are no longer losers. Brian Hoyer threw a one yard touchdown pass as the Browns led the Bengals 17-6 with 5 minutes to play. The last time the Browns were relevant was when another Brian, named Sipe, led the team. Both teams are 2-2, and there is finally optimism in Cleveland. That optimism is deserved. 17-6 Browns
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions — Jay Cutler took the Bears down the field for a field goal and a 3-0 lead early on. Matthew Stafford answered but the Lions also settled for a field goal and a 3-3 tie. Jay Cutler was intercepted, setting up a short David Akers field goal to put the Lions up 6-3 early in the second quarter. The Bears broke the end zone first as a 53 yard run had the Bears up 10-6. Detroit would tack on a third field goal to get within one point.
In a bizarre occurrence, the Lions had the ball at the Bears one. Stafford went over the top, got hit, fumbled, and saw the ball bounce right back to him for the touchdown just as Jim Schwartz scripted it on the playground to put the Lions up 16-10. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler kept throwing completions to the Detroit defense as Glover Quinn took one almost all the way back to set up Matthew Stafford for a short touchdown to Megatron Calvin Johnson. The Lions led 23-10 as Cutler kept trying to force the ball into double coverage. You know things are going well when even somebody who dated a Kardashian is playing good football. On the same day USC fired Lane Kiffin, the guy many blamed for dragging the program down, Reggie Bush, scored on a 37 yard touchdown run as the Lions jumped all over the Bears 30-10
Robbie Gould kept the Bears in the game with a field goal just before the half after a sack caused Stafford to fumble. A deep bomb by Cutler led to Gould’s third field goal as the Bears got to within 30-16. After Cutler threw yet another interception, Stafford returned the favor. Something fans do not see often…Matthew Stafford fired a short pass to Megatron Calvin Johnson. It bounced off his hands for an interception. The throw was off, but it still should have been caught as the Lions were in the red zone with a chance to ice the game. After several interceptions, Cutler decided to take a sack rather than force a throw. So instead Cutler fumbled, and it was returned 5 yards for a touchdown to make it 37–16 Lions. Cutler appeared to throw his fourth interception and 5th turnover of the game, but it was ruled out of bounds. Cutler is having a tough day as an incomplete pass is cause for relief.
A field goal put the Lions up by 24 points, but Chicago was not done. Despite trailing 40-16, Jay Cutler started completing passes to his own teammates. A pair of touchdowns and both 2 point conversions has the Bears within 40-32 with 45 seconds left to play. Now they needed the onsides kick. It failed, Chicago lost, as both Detroit and Chicago are 3-1. In further news both teams are overrated and should be overtaken once Green Bay straightens itself out. 40-32 Lions
Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans — The Seattle Seahawks are a wrecking machine, and the offense got them on the board with a field goal and a 3-0 rely lead. Houston had a chance to take the lead but blew the opportunity when a pass by Matt Schaub was juggled by the receiver and then intercepted. The Texans got it back and Schaub moved them 90 yards, as a 31 yard touchdown pass to Graham made it 7-3 Houston. Schaub then moved the Texans 80 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes as a 5 yard Arian Foster run had Houston up 14-3. Houston would add a pair of field goals to extend the lead and shock Seattle 20-3.
The defenses settled in during the third quarter as Seattle mustered a field goal to get within 20-6. Super Bowl bound teams, as Seattle has been described, have to hang tough even when they have awful games. Russell Wilson led the Seahawks on a 14 play, 98 yard drive that ate up half the fourth quarter. Marshawn Lynch took it in from 3 yards out as the Seahawks got to within 20-13 of the Texans.
One play then showed why the Seahawks are title contenders and the Texans are pretenders. With 5 minutes left in the game, all the Texans had to do was run out the clock. Instead Schaub threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Richard Sherman took it 58 yards the other way as the Seahawks roared back to a 20-20 tie with 2:40 to play.
The game went to overtime, Houston punted, and Seattle drove into field goal range with only 3 1/2 minutes left in overtime. Steve Hausckha was good as Seattle stunned the Texans with 20 unanswered points. Seattle gets to 4-0 with the comeback win. The Texans remain pretenders while Seattle really is that good. 23-20 Seahawks
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars — Normally a 3-0 lead is not news, but the Jacksonville Jaguars lead the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are favored by 9. Indy throttled San Francisco by 20 points last week and the Jags look like an 0-16 team. This would be a shocker if Jacksonville won this game. Indy would kick a field goal of their own to tie it 3-3.
As criticized as Tim Tebow was for his passer ratings, Blaine Gabbert seems worse. He just completed a gorgeous 41 yard touchdown pass to the Indianapolis defense. Trent Richardson ran it in for another score and the Colts added a field goal as a close game was broken open with the Colts leading the woeful Jaguars 20-3.
Jacksonville’s misery continued in the second half as Luck hit Fleener for a 31 yard touchdown to make it 27-3 Colts. Luck then led an 8 1/2 minute, 72 yard drive that took 12 plays and saw Luck hit Reggie Wayne for a 5 yard score to make it 34-3 Colts. They added a field goal to get to 3-1 while Jacksonville was 1/4 of the way to tying the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 team in NFL history. 37-3 Colts
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs — The Giants have fallen from a great team to an 0-3 mess while Walrus Lite Andy Reid took over a 2-14 Chiefs team and has them at 3-0. Yet one week after losing 38-0, the Giants hung tough against Kansas City in a scoreless first quarter. Yet Alex Smith led a 13 play, 98 yard drive that consumed 5 1/2 minutes. Smith hit McGrath for the 2 yard score to begin the second quarter. Only 2 plays later the Giants had tied it as Eli Manning, who has taken a beating this year, found salsa dancer Victor Cruz for a 69 yard touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame. The Chiefs added a field goal to lead 10-7 at halftime as the half ended with the Giants missing the tying 38 yarder.
Special teams are a special breed. With the Chiefs clinging to a 10-7 lead over the Giants, Dexter McCluster returned a punt 89 yards for a Chiefs touchdown. Yet in a classless display, McCluster imitated Victor Cruz’s salsa dance. Only one year after going 2-14 nobody on the Chiefs should be engaging in trashy behavior even if the team is on the verge of going 4-0 with a 17-7 lead.
Alex Smith has been called a game manager. Well that is what teams need in the fourth quarter with a lead. Smith led the Chiefs 80 yards in 14 plays to take over 9 minutes off the clock. Smith hit Jamal Charles for a 2 yard score as the Chiefs lead 24-7. The close game turned into a blowout when Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for a 35 yard touchdown to complete the scoring. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin now has an 0-4 Giants team. He may cut all 45 players on the plane flight home. 31-7 Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings —In England they are singing God save the Queen. God needs to save the Steelers and Vikings, who are both 0-3. Blair Walsh hit a 54 yard field for the first score of the day as the Vikings lead the Steelers 3-0. What makes this impressive is that he is 12 for 12 in his career from 50+. He has never missed one in Europe, going for 1 for 1. Minnesota also had a quarterback change, with New England and Kansas City castoff Matt Cassell replacing Christian Ponder. Cassell hit Greg Jennings for a 70 yard touchdown as the Vikings lead 10-0. As bad as the Steelers looked, they were still more interesting to watch then futbol, where fans in Wembley Stadium cause riots that lead to death.
Pittsburgh finally got on the board when Bell ran it in from 8 yards out to get the Steelers within 10-7. One play was enough for Peterson to race for a 60 yard score to make it 17-7 Vikings. Pittsburgh would get a field goal to get back within a one score game, but the Vikings would tack on a kick of their own to lead 20-10.
Even bad teams can put on a good game. A deep bomb drew a pass interference call to set up a one yard touchdown run by Bell as the Steelers got to within 20-17 of the Vikings early in the third quarter. Yet the Vikings came right back as Adrian Peterson ran it in from 7 yards out to have the Vikings back up 27-17. Ben Roethlisberger was then intercepted, setting up a short field for the Vikings at the Pittsburgh 37. Cassel hit Jennings for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 34-17 Vikings.
Big Ben came back and led a 77 yard drive that culminated in a 15 yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Minnesota then missed a field goal as the Steelers had life midway through the fourth quarter. A 28 yard Shawn Suisham field goal had the Steelers within 34-27 with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field in a furious attempt to tie the game. With 19 seconds left, the Steelers faced 3rd and goal at the 7. Big Ben was then sacked and fumbled. The Vikings recovered. Pittsburgh is now 0-4 while Minnesota gets their first win of the year. The crowd in Wembley Stadium sees a wicked googly, whatever that means. 34-27 Vikings
Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers —A quarterback change fixed Cleveland last week and this week the Buccaneers try it. Mike Glennon, in place of the benched and soon to be traded Josh Freeman, hit Williams for 8 yards as Tampa lead Arizona 7-0. This is Glennon’ first NFL start, and a field goal had the Buccaneers up 10-0 at the break.
The second half was even less watchable. After a scoreless third quarter, the Cardinals got on the board with a field goal to trail 10-3. Bad teams find a way to lose. Despite managing the game for 56 1/2 minutes, Josh Freeman’s replacement Glennon threw an interception deep in his own territory, letting the Cardinals take over at the Bucs 13. Why Greg Schiano was throwing the ball in that situation is anyone’s guess. Despite having no offense all day, Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for the touchdown one play later to tie the game 10-10 with 3 minutes left. This was a game that did not deserve to be played, much less have overtime.
Luckily it would not get to that point. The Bucs punted on 4th and 19 from their own 1. Arizona took over with 1:56 left at the Bucs 38. Palmer hit Brown for 19, and unnecessary roughness made it 1st and goal. Jay Feely hit the 27 yard field goal to give the Cardinals the leas with 90 seconds left. With one minute left from their own 41, Glennon was intercepted. Different quarterback, same Bucs. They give games away with horrible fourth quarter coaching and dumb penalties. 13-10 Cardinals
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans — Geno Smith was intercepted on the second play of the game, as Jake Locker was set up at the Jets 18. On 3rd and goal from the 1 Locker hit Walker for he score. Rob Bironas tacked on a 26 yard field goal for the Titans and in the second quarter Nick Folk answered with a 45 yarded for the Jets. History repeated itself as Smith fumbled at midfield and the Titans took over at the Jets 26. Locker threw a second touchdowns on 3rd and goal at the 4 to Nate Washington in staking the Titans to a 17-3 lead.
The winner of this game would be a shocking 3-1. Folk added a 47 yard field goal to get to within 17-6. Another Smith interception meant another short field for Tennessee at the Jets 46. Locker hit Hunter for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 24-6 Titans. An uneventful second half saw Smith’s fourth turnover, a fumble in the end zone that the Titans recovered for another touchdown and a 31-6 lead.
The Jets eventually reached the end zone, but with the game out of hand Jake Locker and his three touchdown passes took a rest in place of backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was an undesired rest as Locker was knocked out of the game and carted off on a stretcher. Fitzpatrick threw a 77 yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington to complete the blowout. 38-13 Titans
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos — John Fox or Chip Kelly? Peyton Manning or Michael Vick? Early on it was Manning, who moved the Broncos 74 yards. A 6 yard toss to Wes Welker made it 7-0 Broncos. Vick led the Eagles 65 yards in 11 plays, but Philly had to settle for a 35 yard Alex Henery field goal to get within 7-3. Then came Trindon Holliday. Holliday could become the next Devon Hester. He returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a score as Denver took the 14-3 lead.
In the second quarter Vick led the Eagles 73 yards in 15 plays over 6 1/2 minutes. Yet again Philly could not get it done in the red zone as a 25 yard Henery kick had the Eagles down 14-6. A 4 yard touchdown run by Polk had the Eagles within a point. Manning came back, leading the Broncos 80 yards in 11 plays over 6 minutes to put Denver up 21-13 with a 4 yard touchdown pass to Knowshon Moreno.
Manning remained on fire. He began 18 for 23 with 2 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions in barely more than one half of football as the Broncos led Philly 28-13. A one yard pass to Denarius Thomas capped off the 10 play, 80 yard, 5 minute drive. It looked like instant replay but it was another 80 yard drive and a 15 yard touchdown pass to Thomas that had the Broncos winning another route 35-13. Manning’s fourth touchdown of the day, a 4 yarder to Wes Welker, had the Broncos romping 42-13. Manning does many things, but he does not play on the punt coverage team. He has never blocked a punt. However, his teammates do as a 17 yard return of a blocked punt has the Broncos annihilating the Eagles 49-13.
Meanwhile, for those wondering who backs up Peyton Manning in Denver, his name is Brock Osweiler. Manning was benched after going 28 for 34 for 327 yards and 4 touchdowns. He promised coach John Fox to play better next week so he would not be removed. Osweiler led Denver to a field goal and a 52-13 lead. Despite backup Eagles quarterback throwing a touchdown pass, Manning was not allowed back in the game. 52-20 Broncos
Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders — The official word has come down. Terrelle Pryor is inactive today. The Raiders quarterback suffered a concussion on monday Night Football and tweeted about not remembering the game. With Matt Flynn at quarterback, the Raiders could lose at home to Washington with much more likelihood. Yet the idea of Pryor playing while the NFL is under a cloud from concussion scandals seemed farfetched despite his happy talk tweets.
The Raiders-Redskins game had an eerie beginning. 30 years ago in their Super Bowl, The Raiders blocked a punt that was recovered by Derrick Jensen for a 7-0 lead en route to a 38-9 Raiders win in the Super Bowl. Today it was Jennings who blocked the punt and Stewart who recovered it as the Raiders took the 7-0 lead. Matt Flynn then led the Raiders 81 yards. An 18 yard touchdown toss to Rivera on 3rd and 7 was a nice way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month as the Raiders led Washington 14-0.
Yet the Redskins have Robert Griffin III and the Raiders do not have Terrelle Pryor. RGIII led the Redskins 73 yards in 11 plays, settling for a 25 yard Potter field goal to get Washington within 14-3. Matt Flynn completed a 45 yard touchdown pass to Amerson, who plays defense for Washington. This is why Flynn does not start and the Raiders saw their lead shrink to 14-10.
West Coast Offense Dink and Dunk with Dilfer alert: Facing 3rd and 10 at their 43 with 19 seconds left in the half, rather than try a Hail Mary, Dennis Allen had Matt Flynn throw a 4 yard pass.
The second half brought more problems for the Raiders. On 3rd and 1 from the Washington 33, the Raiders got stuffed. Dennis Allen decided not to gamble on 4th and 1. Sebastian Janikowski missed the 52 yard field goal and the Redskins had great field position. On 3rd and 3 from the 5 RGIII hit Pierre Garcon for the score as the Redskins now lead the Raiders 17-14 very late in the third quarter.
There is a reason Matt Flynn is not a starting quarterback in this league. On 2nd and 6 from near midfield he was sacked and fumbled. The Redskins recovered at the Oakland 42. Helu took a 28 yard pass from RGIII and followed it up with a 14 yard touchdown run as the Redskins led 24-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
Matt Flynn moved the Raiders from their 29 to a 3rd and 1 at the Washington 17 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Naturally rather than run the ball Dennis Allen called a West Coast Offense Dink and Dunk with Dilfer pass. Naturally, Flynn threw incomplete. On 4th and 1, the quarterback sneak was tried. Naturally, Flynn fumbled the ball away. These are the Dennis Allen Raiders. No Terrelle Pryor means no chance.
On 3rd and 8 from their own 18, the Redskins gained 9 yards on the ground as the Raiders are out of timeout. This was a fitting way to end a gutless, heartless effort against a previously winless team in front of the home fans. On the day Lane Kiffin was fired, the Ghost of Al Davis still cannot get the best of Mike Shanahan.
The Raiders had a chance to go 2-2 and eventually maybe even 8-8. Instead another 1-3 beginning after losing to an previously 0-3 team most likely means another 4-12 season. 24-14 Redskins
Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers —A pair of up and down teams faced off. Philip Rivers and Tony Romo win hot and cold, but this week began with Rivers throwing a 26 yard touchdown to Danny Woodhead to make it 7-0 Chargers. Romo answered Rivers as both hot and cold quarterbacks had one touchdown pass. Romo hit Dez Bryant for the 5 yard score to tie the game 7-7 and cap an 85 yard drive.
n the second quarter Jason Garrett decided to try a 56 yard field goal. It was no good, and the short field instead set up San Diego for the field goal. It was good as the Chargers led 10-7. Tony Romo then went deep to Dez Bryant for a 34 yard touchdown as the Cowboys led San Diego 14-10 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. Rivers then threw a 52 yard touchdown pass to Sean Lee. Lee plays defense for the Cowboys. Rivers was hit on the play as both he and Romo tend to throw scores to both teams in the same game. The Cowboys now led 21-10 with 1:15 left in the half. Nick Novak would hit a 42 yard field goal to end the half as the Chargers trailed 21-13.
In the third quarter Rivers connected with Woodhead for the second time on the day. Woodhead was wide open on the 13 yard score as the Chargers get to within a point down 21-20 after the 10 play, 80 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. Early in the fourth quarter a field goal put the Chargers up by a deuce. Rivers then went deep to Antonio Gates for a 56 yard touchdown as 20 unanswered points had the Chargers leading 30-21 midway through the fourth quarter. With less than 3 minutes left and Dallas near the goal line, a critical fumble was recovered by the Chargers for a touchback, sealing Dallas’s fate. 30-21 Chargers
New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons — Last year the Patriots and Falcons were the top seeds in the playoffs before they both blew up at home. This year they faced off on Sunday Night Football. After moving easily from their 20 to the New England 5 in 13 plays and 5 1/2 minutes, Atlanta hit a brick wall and settled for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Neither offense could really get much going in the first half. Brady did lead a 12 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive that culminated in a one yard touchdown toss to Mulligan. Atlanta had even less than that as another drive into the red zone had Mike smith gambling on 4th and 2 from the 7 and Matt Ryan throwing incomplete. Matty Ice was ice cold in the first half. Stephen Gostkowski managed to barely sneak a 48 yard field goal over the top of the upright good to make it 10-3 Patriots with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.
Atlanta moved the ball in stretches throughout the first half but could not convert when it counted. Yet Matt Ryan finally led the Falcons 80 yards, with a 21 yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez. 46 seconds still remained in the half and the 10-10 score was an accurate reflection of two teams that cannot get their offenses going as they did in past years.
In the third quarter Brady led the Patriots 89 yards in 14 plays and 6 minutes. Yet the Patriots stalled at the 5 and had to settle for a 22 yard Gostkowski field goal to lead 13-10 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Later in the quarter, On 3rd and 19, LeGarrette Blount just raced for a 47 yard touchdown to give the Patriots some breathing room up 20-10. A field goal by Matt Bryant with 12 minutes left in regulation had the Falcons back within 20-13.
Then in a stunning development, another Tom Brady touchdown pass was not challenged by Mike Smith. The receiver appeared to land out of bounds, but the touchdown went unchallenged as the Patriots built a comfortable 27-13 lead. One play later Ryan went deep and was intercepted by Aqib Talib to set up Gostkowski’s third field goal to put the game out of reach with 6 minutes left.
Yet A blowout turned into a close game again as a touchdown, successful onsides kick, and short field goal had the Falcons within 7 with 3 minutes to play. Now the defense needed to get the ball back. Like many games, it all comes down to the trenches.
A second insides kick failed and the 2 minute warning saw the Patriots facing 3rd and inches. Blount got the carry, and despite a strong second effort, was just short. Bellichick decided to go for it on 4th and inches rather than try a 55 yard field goal or punt. In a stunning turn of events, Brady fumbled the snap and the Patriots turned it over on downs. Ryan then went bombs away and found Julio Jones for a 1st and 10 at the Patriots 13 with one minute left. Yet on 4th and 7, Ryan threw incomplete and the Patriots had survived. Atlanta fell to 1-3 and New England got to the quartermark unbeaten, sending a message to the league that the Brady-Bellichick era is not done yet. 30-23 Patriots
Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints — Both of these teams entered unbeaten, but the Saints were expected to be. Miami has a solid defense, but whether it could keep up with the pinball machine Saints offense of Sean Payton and Drew Brees remained to be seen. Brees began 15 of 21 for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns, and that was only in the first half.
Brees quickly led the Saints 82 yards, with Darren Sproles running it in from 5 yards out to make it 7-0 Saints. Ryan Tannehill moved Miami 76 yards, but on 3rd and inches inside the 10, a lateral running play lost yards. Caleb Sturgis hit the 27 yard field goal to get Miami within 7-3.
In the second quarter Brees hit Graham for a 27 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Saints. Tannehill brought the Dolphins back 81 yards as Miller took it the final 5 to get Miami within 14-10. Yet an interception of Tannehill gave Brees a short field, and Brees hit Sproles for a 13 yard touchdown to have the Saints up 21-10 at the break.
The Saints poured it on in the third quarter as Brees hit Watson for a 4 yard touchdown and Graham for a 43 yard score as he started 6 for 6 early in the third quarter while tacking on another 94 yards and building a 35-10 Saints lead. The Saints coasted from there as Brees finished 30 of 39 for 413 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions as the Saints offense overwhelmed the Miami defense. 38-17 Saints