Well that was fun. The Saints raced out to a 21-10 halftime lead and never looked back. The first half was shaky at times due to a really poor run blocking performance, yet again, but the offense stayed the course and the defense started to put together sacks, turnovers and stops. The bottom line is that while the Dolphins were 3-0, they came into a stage they just were not ready for. They had no answer for Darren Sproles early, Jimmy Graham in the middle, and Marques Colston late. The Saints end the first quarter of the season with a perfect record. Here are some other thoughts on the game:
- First time this season Brees went an entire game without a pick, nice. Finally.
- The Saints' running attack continues to be a dumpster fire. 24 carries for 68 yards, for 2.8 yards per carry. Gross. The interior in particular is just getting dominated. The offensive line is almost entirely to blame.
- The defense was able to get 4 sacks thanks to a big lead, but the pass rush wasn't great until it was obvious the Dolphins were throwing every play.
- Curtis Lofton came up with two huge plays which I view as responsible for the Saints having an 11 point lead. He came up with a huge strip of Tannehill and the series before that he had a shoestring tackle that stopped the Dolphins a half yard short of the sticks and made them punt.
- The Saints had picks from Jabari Greer, Will Herring, and Chris Carr. Rafael Bush also had a fumble recovery.
- Darren Sproles could not be contained. The Saints continued to throw him the ball and there was nothing the Dolphins could do. As they moved to neutralize him in the second half, it just opened up the offense downfield.
- Kenny Stills and Nick Toon got some action and gave the offense some positives, but both struggled at times and showed their youth.
- John Jenkins is a beast. What a fantastic draft pick he's turning out to be.
- How far this team goes will all depend on the O-line. I feel like Brees is doing his thing now, the playmakers are doing theirs, the defense is getting stops, rushing the passer a bit, and getting turnovers. Special teams play is largely solid. So it all falls on the O-line to improve their play. If they can't, this team cannot win the Super Bowl. Plain and simple. If they can start to improve, and even just play "above average", then this is a top to bottom balanced football team that's sound in all phases and I don't see many teams capable of beating them. It's that simple.
- The Saints' coverage is surprisingly good, and Keenan Lewis in particular was outstanding on Mike Wallace. Wallace had 3 catches for 24 yards.
The Saints are headed to Chicago next on a short week to face a very good 3-1 Bears team. Aaron Kromer and Jermon Bushrod will face their old team. Should be fun.
4-0! WHO DAT!