Final

Saints 46

(6-0, 3-0 away)

Dolphins 34

(2-4, 2-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, October 25, 2009

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 3 7 14 2246
MIA 14 10 10 034

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 298 YDS, 1 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: R. Williams (MIA) - 9 CAR, 80 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: J. Shockey (NO) - 4 REC, 105 YDS

Saints recover from Brees' three interceptions, five sacks to improve to 6-0

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Drew Brees emerged from the locker room with a fresh cut under his chin and another between his eyebrows.

He made the Miami Dolphins look worse.

More from ESPN.com

The Dolphins once again found a way to dominate an opponent for large stretches of a game and lose. Not just lose, but lose spectacularly, writes Gene Wojciechowski. Story


New Orleans dominated the second half, crumpling up Miami's hopes like a candy wrapper, writes Tim Graham. Blog

Brees and the unbeaten New Orleans Saints fell behind for the first time all season, then overcame a 21-point deficit Sunday to beat Miami 46-34.

The NFL's highest-scoring team topped 40 points for the fourth time and outscored the Dolphins 22-0 in the fourth quarter.

"There was no doubt on our sideline we would come back and win," said Brees, who threw for 298 yards. "They had given us their best shot, and we had played about as bad as we could play. All we had to do was string together a few drives and gain the momentum back. We knew it was going to happen, and it did."

NFL passing leader Brees had his worst day of the season, with three interceptions, a lost fumble and five sacks. But he led touchdown drives of 82, 79 and 60 yards on successive possessions in the second half to put New Orleans ahead.

Tracy Porter's 54-yard interception return then sealed the win for the Saints (6-0), who are off to their best start since 1991 and are the only unbeaten team in the NFC.

Dolphin Downfall

Dolphins QB Chad Henne did a good job of managing the game in the first half, but as it turned into a shootout later in the game, Henne struggled to keep up.

Henne by half
First Second
Cmp-Att 7-10 11-26
Yards 62 149
TD-Int 0-0 0-2
Passer rating 86.3 29.2

-- ESPN Stats and Information

"It can be a season-defining win," linebacker Scott Shanle said. "This was a test we hadn't faced yet, and we couldn't be happier with the way we responded."

Brees threw for one touchdown and scored twice. After his 2-yard keeper with 8:35 left gave the Saints their first lead, he celebrated by dunking the ball over the crossbar.

"There are times in the game when a team just needs an emotional lift," he said. "I felt like I had to do something to get everybody hyped. The first thing that came to mind was to dunk it."

Fading at the finish, the Dolphins (2-4) fell 2 1/2 games behind AFC East leader New England.

Fast Facts

• The Saints rallied from a 24-3 deficit in the second quarter to improve to 6-0.

• New Orleans outscored Miami 36-10 in the second half, totaling 302 yards compared to the Dolphins' 159 yards after halftime.

• Drew Brees threw three interceptions after having just two in his first five games combined. Brees also rushed for two touchdowns for the first time in his career.

• Darren Sharper returned an interception for a touchdown for the 11th time in his career, one less than the NFL record.

• Ricky Williams rushed for three touchdowns for the second time in his career. Williams' 68-yard touchdown run is the longest run of his career.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

"This was our game to win," Miami's Ricky Williams said. "We fought and we fought. They just fought harder at the end."

Williams carried only nine times but tied a career high with three touchdowns rushing, including a 68-yard run, the longest of his career. At that point, the Dolphins appeared en route to a stunning blowout.

By the time the Saints picked up their second first down 22 minutes into the game, Miami led 24-3. Against New Orleans, that wasn't enough of a cushion.

"With Drew Brees, it's like the score is 0-0," Miami cornerback Vontae Davis said. "We knew they would come back and that it would be a tough game."

Two Dolphins turnovers and an ill-advised timeout helped New Orleans back into the game.

After Davone Bess lost a fumble at midfield late in the first half, Marques Colston caught a 21-yard pass that was initially ruled a TD. When a replay review with 5 seconds left determined the ball should instead be placed at the half-yard line, the Dolphins called timeout.

With the Saints trailing by 21, coach Sean Payton sent his field goal unit into the game. During the timeout, Brees lobbied for a shot at a touchdown.

"I just told him I'd get it," Brees said. "I said, 'I'll get the touchdown. I know exactly what to do."

The Saints' offense returned to the field, and Brees plunged across the goal line to make the score 24-10.

New Orleans struck again barely a minute into the second half when Darren Sharper scored on an interception return for the third time this season. The 42-yard runback came after he snatched a pass that deflected off the hands of receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

The pace of scoring soon became frantic, with three touchdowns in less than three minutes. The Saints drove 82 yards for a score to pull within 27-24, but Miami's Brian Hartline turned a short pass into a 67-yard gain to set up Williams' third score.

Jeremy Shockey then broke two tackles on a 66-yard reception for New Orleans, and two plays later Reggie Bush scored from 10 yards out on a reverse, capping his run with a balletic leap near the pylon.

The Saints forced a punt and mounted the go-ahead drive capped by Brees' score, which made it 37-34. John Carney hooked the extra-point try wide, but he hit a 20-yard field goal with 3:23 left.

Trying to mount their own comeback, the Dolphins dropped two passes and committed two penalties before Chad Henne was intercepted by Porter on fourth-and-13.

Game notes


Saints DT Sedrick Ellis left the game with a sprained right knee, and FB Heath Evans hurt his right leg. ... Dolphins CB Will Allen was sidelined by a knee injury. ... Miami's wildcat netted 30 yards in 14 plays. ... Carney became the fourth NFL player to score 2,000 points.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NO
MIA
1st Downs2217
Passing 1st downs
148
Rushing 1st downs
78
1st downs from Penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
5-158-18
4th down efficiency
0-00-1
Total Plays7069
Total Yards414334
Yards per play5.94.8
Total Drives1516
Passing276197
Comp - Att
22-3818-37
Yards per pass
7.35.3
Interceptions thrown
32
Sacks - Yards Lost
5-222-14
Rushing138137
Rushing Attempts
2730
Yards per rush
5.14.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)4-53-6
Penalties6-258-55
Turnovers43
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
32
Defensive / Special Teams TDs20
Possession33:0226:58

Passing Leaders

NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees22/382987.8135-22
MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Henne18/362115.9022-14
Brown0/100.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell12806.7035
Thomas8303.809
MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams9808.9368
Brown16483.018

Receiving Leaders

NORECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Shockey410526.30665
Colston57214.412512
MIARECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Hartline39431.30675
Camarillo55511.00246

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNOMIA
miaTD07:20Ricky Williams 4 Yd Run (Dan Carpenter Kick) 07
noFG05:06John Carney 46 Yd 37
miaTD04:47Ricky Williams 68 Yd Run (Dan Carpenter Kick) 314
SECOND QUARTERNOMIA
miaFG11:21Dan Carpenter 32 Yd 317
miaTD08:55Ronnie Brown 8 Yd Run (Dan Carpenter Kick) 324
noTD00:02Drew Brees 1 Yd Run (John Carney Kick) 1024
THIRD QUARTERNOMIA
noTD13:56Darren Sharper 42 Yd Interception Return (John Carney Kick) 1724
miaFG05:59Dan Carpenter 33 Yd 1727
noTD01:09Marques Colston 10 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (John Carney Kick) 2427
miaTD00:03Ricky Williams 4 Yd Run (Dan Carpenter Kick) 2434
FOURTH QUARTERNOMIA
noTD13:23Reggie Bush 10 Yd Run (John Carney Kick) 3134
noTD08:35Drew Brees 2 Yd Run (Pat Failed) 3734
noFG03:23John Carney 20 Yd 4034
noTD01:53Tracy Porter 54 Yd Interception Return (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 4634