Miami Dolphins extend winning streak to seven with win over New Orleans Saints

Dolphins winning run the second-longest in the current NFL

 Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins looks to pass during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome  in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph:  Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins looks to pass during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

 

The visiting Miami Dolphins – led by a dominant defence – won their seventh straight game, defeating the short-handed New Orleans Saints 20-3 on Monday night.

Miami (8-7) got a 28-yard pick-six from Nik Needham, a 1-yard touchdown flip from Tua Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle and a pair of Jason Sanders field goals.

The Dolphins’ winning streak is the second-longest active run in the NFL, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs’ eight-game streak.

Miami’s defence had its first eight-sack game since 2012.

New Orleans (7-8) were without 22 players due to Covid-19 protocols. Quarterback Ian Book made his NFL debut and struggled against Miami’s blitzing defence. He threw two interceptions and completed 12 of 20 passes for 135 yards.

As has been the case all year, Tagovailoa threw mostly safe passes, going 19 of 26 for 198 yards with one interception and the one touchdown.

Waddle caught 10 passes for 92 yards. For the season, he has 96 catches for 941 yards, breaking Chris Chambers’ Dolphins rookie record for receiving yards. Chambers had 883 yards in 2001.

Book’s second career NFL pass resulted in a Dolphins touchdown. Andrew Van Ginkel deflected the pass at the line of scrimmage, and Needham turned it into an easy 28-yard interception return and a 7-0 Miami lead.

On its second possession, Miami extended its lead to 10-0 on Sanders’ 48-yard field goal. Miami was fortunate to get those three points because – on the previous play – Marcus Davenport strip-sacked Tagovailoa. However, Dolphins offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg recovered the fumble.

New Orleans got on the board with 2:45 left in the first half, when an eight-play, 55-yard drive ended with Brett Maher’s 38-yard field goal. The Dolphins led 10-3 at halftime.

With 5:10 left in the third quarter, Miami’s offence became the first to reach the end zone. It went down as a one-yard scoring pass, but it was actually an end-around flip to Waddle, who cut back inside to increase Miami’s lead to 17-3.

That touchdown was set up by a huge third-and-9 play as Tagovailoa lofted a 40-yard pass to Mack Hollins, who made the catch despite apparent defensive interference. Later in the drive, the Dolphins converted a third-and-2 due to a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Sanders’ 34-yard field goal with 12:05 left in the fourth gave Miami a 20-3 advantage. The Dolphins wound up with 259 total yards to the Saints’ 164.

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