|Date of game: 9/30/2013
Recap: New Orleans vs. Miami
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes as the New Orleans Saints cruised to a 38-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday at the Superdome.
Brees connected on 30-of-39 passes and 413 yards. Brees eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark for the ninth straight game, tying his own NFL record set over the 2011-2012 seasons.
Jimmy Graham caught four passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Darren Sproles added seven catches for 114 yards and one touchdown for the Saints (4-0), who are off to their best start since winning the first 13 games of the season in 2009 before going on to win Super Bowl XLIV. Marques Colston finished with 96 yards on seven catches in the victory.
"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."
Ryan Tannehill struggled for the Dolphins (3-1), completing 22-of-35 passes for 249 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and one lost fumble.
"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."
Brandon Gibson caught six passes for 71 yards and Charles Clay added six passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in the setback.
"We will find out a lot about the team we have here by the way we come back tomorrow," said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.
Brees led the Saints down the field with relative ease on the game's opening drove. Brees went 3-for-3 for 70 yards on the trip, before handing it off to Sproles from five yards out for the score. Sproles got the drive started with a 48-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline.
The Dolphins answered back with a 34-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal after a strong drive stalled and a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 1716 yard line.
The Miami offensive line dominated the Saints' front seven, allowing Tannehill and Lamar Miller to pick up a combined 59 yards on the march. New Orleans, though, stopped the Dolphins on 3rd-and-short, forcing the field goal.
After taking over on their own 38 following a Tannehill fumble, Brees connected with Graham in the end zone to give the Saints a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Earlier in the drive, Brees hit Sproles with a short pass on 3rd-and-20, and the undersized back raced to the marker for a fresh set of downs. Four plays later, Brees connected with Graham for an acrobatic 27-yard TD catch.
Miami responded with a touchdown as Miller bulled his way in from five yards out to make it a 14-10 game. Earlier in the drive, Tannehill hit Marcus Thigpen with a short pass on the right side and the running back took it 50 yards before he was tripped up inside the 10-yard line to set up Miller's TD two plays later.
Miami forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but Jabari Greer picked off Tannehill and returned it to the Dolphins' 23-yard line.
After a sack and an incomplete pass forced the Saints into 3rd-and-11 from the 13, Brees connected with Sproles on a swing route to the left side, just sneaking the ball past a Miami defender, and Sproles carried it across the goal line to send New Orleans into the break with a 21-10 edge.
The Saints dominated the second half, outscoring the Dolphins 17-7.
New Orleans found the end zone on their first touch of the half as Brees hit Benjamin Watson with a 4-yard touchdown pass. Watson caught the ball near the right sideline and stretched across the end zone as he was tackled for the score.
The Saints wasted no time after forcing another Miami three-and-out, as Brees found Graham down the right side for a 43-yard TD. Graham was nearly taken down at the 5-yard line, but carried a defender on his back and into the end zone to give New Orleans a commanding 35-10 lead.
Tannehill floated a touchdown pass to Clay from three yards out to cap a 9- play, 67-yard trek that bridged the third and fourth quarters.
Garrett Hartley's 29-yard field goal with 7:15 to play made it 38-17.Game Notes
Brees has 21 four-touchdown games in his career, tied for third-most all-time
with Dan Marino. Peyton Manning is first with 24, followed by Brett Favre with
23 ... Graham has a touchdown reception in five straight games dating back to
last season ... New Orleans is 4-0 for the fourth time in team history ... The
Saints are 11-2 on Monday night since 2006, and have won each of their last
nine tilts on Monday ... Sproles fumbled for the first time in 33 games with
the Saints ... Tannehill has been sacked an NFL-worst 18 times this season.