In many ways, the 38-17 victory for the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football was just a normal day at the office for Drew Brees. However, in the midst of what seemed like a “regular” offensive performance for the high-powered Saints, the day went from normal to record-breaking for their quarterback.
Brees met or exceeded two separate NFL records during the victory, and even passed the immortal John Elway for 4th on the NFL’s all-time completions list for good measure. With a 30-for-39, 413-yard, 4-touchdown showing on Monday, Brees tied the NFL records for most consecutive 300-yard games (9) and 25+ completion games (10). Non-coincidentally, the Saints QB tied his own records in both cases, further illustrating how historically great he can be.
Of course, the gunslinger had a little bit of help in the form of Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham. Sproles, the ultra-versatile running back, caught 7 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown while running for 28 yards and a touchdown on only 4 carries. It was an incredible performance from a non-“featured” back that reminded the NFL community of how exciting his game can be. On the other hand, all-world TE Jimmy Graham wouldn’t be out-done by Sproles, as he put up a now “ho hum” stat line of 4 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
All in all, it was an incredible offensive performance from the Saints, but they did, in fact, have an opponent on the field. The Dolphins offense was an abject disaster in the not-so-friendly confines of the Superdome for most of the night. Miami turned the ball over 4 times, and unfortunately, each and every one of them can be attributed to young quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill never looked to be comfortable against a suddenly competent New Orleans defense, and that was the story of the night on that side of the ball. However, it almost wouldn’t have mattered, as the Miami defense had no answers against Brees, Sproles, Graham, and company, and they would have needed a Herculean effort from Tannehill to even be competitive.
Positively for Miami, running back Lamar Miller had another strong showing. He was lightly used (only 11 carries), but he rushed for north of 5 yards per carry and contributed a touchdown for the Dolphins. Of course, it was too little too late, but after a rough start to the year, it’s encouraging to see Miami running the ball with some level of effectiveness.
The story of the game was clearly the play of Brees, but the overriding theme at the conclusion of night was a 4-0 Saints team that is clearly in the driver’s seat in the NFC South. With the Falcons reeling at 1-3, New Orleans looks to be a big favorite in the division, but one road loss shouldn’t doom the Dolphins, either. We will hear from both of these teams again in the very near future, and I have a feeling that the name, Drew Brees, will be featured prominently in the media over the next few days.