8:30 PM ET, September 30, 2013
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees made his latest claim to the moniker of Mr. Monday Night.
He also gave the Miami Dolphins another reason to regret not making a harder push to sign him when they had the chance seven years ago.
Brees passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints turned a clash of unbeaten teams into a lopsided affair, beating Miami 38-17 on Monday night.
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"I felt like we found our rhythm," Brees said. "Every time we touched the ball, it felt like we were going to go down and score points."
Two of Brees' touchdowns went to Jimmy Graham for 27 and 43 yards as the tight end had at least 100 yards receiving for the third straight game.
"He plays out of this world," Graham said. "This team is so dynamic, we have so many weapons and Drew knows exactly where to go with the ball."
Sproles' 5-yard scoring run on the game's opening series gave the Saints a lead they would not relinquish en route to their first 4-0 start since their Super Bowl championship season of 2009. It also further accentuated what a turnaround the Saints have made since coach Sean Payton served his bounty ban last season, which New Orleans opened with four losses.
"We like this a lot better," Brees said of the 4-0 start. "Everything that could have gone wrong for us went wrong. Fortunately we're having the ball bounce our way this year. We're playing good football."
"We're not happy. Obviously you don't want to come out and perform like that," Tannehill said. "But you look at it and there are things you can correct."
The Saints have won their last nine Monday night games, all with Brees at quarterback and often putting on some of his most memorable performances.
There was his 307-yard, four-TD performance against Atlanta late in the 2011 season, the same game in which he broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for yards passing in a season.
Earlier that same season, Brees threw for 363 yards and four scores in a 49-24 Monday night win over the New York Giants.
Drew Brees threw for 400 yards for the 10th time, the second-most games in NFL history behind Dan Marino (13) and the most in the league since 2006 -- the year he joined the Saints.
|Drew Brees||10||Week 4 2013|
|Philip Rivers||5||Week 4 2013|
|Eli Manning||5||Week 1 2013|
|Matthew Stafford||5||Week 16 2012|
|Carson Palmer||5||Week 9 2012|
Now his 10th career 400-yard outing has delivered a sobering blow to a Miami team that came in riding a surprising start.
"We'll find out a lot about the team we have by the way we come back tomorrow," Miami coach Joe Philbin said.
When Brees was a free agent in 2006, he drew the most interest from New Orleans and Miami, but the Dolphins, fearful of the effects of reconstructive surgery on Brees throwing shoulder, did not pursue the quarterback as enthusiastically as then-Saints rookie coach Sean Payton. Since then, Brees has become one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history.
During New Orleans' opening drive, Brees became only the seventh quarterback to pass for more than 47,000 yards. He ended the drive with 47,030, surpassing Fran Tarkenton's 47,003 for sixth most yards passing all-time.
Later, Brees' eighth completion gave him 4,124 in his career, one more than John Elway for fourth all-time in that category.
Brees was 30 of 39 against Miami without an interception. Sproles caught seven passes for 114 yards. Marques Colston had seven catches for 96 yards.
Miami's Lamar Miller had 62 yards rushing on 11 carries, including a 5-yard scoring run late in the second quarter that made it 14-10, but the Saints began to run away with the game after that, and as they did, they turned up their pass rush. Tannehill was sacked four times in the second half, once each by Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, Cameron Jordan and Tyrunn Walker.
"I just don't feel that team was as good as everybody was saying they were," Galette said of Miami. "We just abused the offensive line all game."
New Orleans' defense, worst in the league last season but resurgent under new coordinator Rob Ryan, also allowed fewer than 20 points for the fourth time in as many games.
Miami was driving for a potential go-ahead score in the second quarter when Tannehill tried to scramble up the middle and was stripped by linebacker Curtis Lofton. Safety Rafael Bush recovered on the New Orleans 38. That set up a drive that ended with Graham's leaping, juggling catch as three defenders converged on him.
Later in the half, Jabari Greer intercepted a pass intended for Brian Hartline and returned it 22 yards to the Miami 23. Several plays later, Sproles made a catch along the left sideline, spun away from a converging defender and scored his second touchdown with 55 seconds left in the half to make it 21-10.
Miami's 79 Monday night games are the most by any team. The Dolphins fell to 40-39 in those games. ... Payton has now coached in 100 regular season games, going 66-34 (71-37 including playoffs).
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 30: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws the ball before taking...(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.7||7.2|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-3||3-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||11:52||Darren Sproles 5 Yd Run (Garrett Hartley Kick)||0||7|
|FG||07:16||Caleb Sturgis 34 Yd||3||7|
|TD||08:01||Jimmy Graham 27 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick)||3||14|
|TD||03:35||Lamar Miller 5 Yd Run (Caleb Sturgis Kick)||10||14|
|TD||00:55||Darren Sproles 13 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick)||10||21|
|TD||09:44||Benjamin Watson 4 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick)||10||28|
|TD||08:12||Jimmy Graham 43 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick)||10||35|
|TD||13:48||Charles Clay 3 Yd Pass From Ryan Tannehill (Caleb Sturgis Kick)||17||35|
|FG||07:15||Garrett Hartley 29 Yd||17||38|
Drew Brees was 20-of-27 for 295 yards and four touchdowns when the Dolphins sent 4 or fewer pass rushers. Coming into the game, the Dolphins had allowed 6.1 yards per attempt when sending a standard pass rush, third-best in the NFL.[+]
Dolphins Defense, 4 or Fewer Rushers, This Season
Drew Brees was 8-of-10 for 201 yards and two touchdowns on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield Monday, including 3-of-3 for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns when targeting Jimmy Graham. Graham now has a league-leading 4 touchdowns on such passes.[+]
Darren Sproles recorded 95 yards after the catch Monday. Sproles has 190 yards after the catch this season, third in the league and first among running backs. Sproles has led all running backs in yards after the catch the last two seasons.[+]
Darren Sproles Receiving, This Season
Drew Brees threw for 400 yards for the 10th time in his career Monday, the second-most games in NFL history behind Dan Marino (13). Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees has double the amount of 400-yard passing games as the next closest quarterback in the league.[+]
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