65 degrees; light winds
- The Saints entered the season with a lot of new pieces on defense – a defense that they’ve been trying to improve for a long time. And while the first two games of the season were rough, they’re starting to form an identity. They still lack the personnel of the elite defenses, but one can see the players start to play together better and develop more confidence in each other. Shutouts are hard to come by in the NFL, so even though this shutout was against a struggling Dolphins offense, it nevertheless was an impressive performance.
- 3 critical plays decided this game.
- The first came on the Dolphins initial drive of the game – a drive in which they were moving the ball with ease. On a first and 10 at the Saints 4 yard line, the Dolphins tried to take advantage of a mismatch on TE Julius Thomas with a back shoulder fade route, but Thomas made no real effort for the ball, and it was intercepted by Saints CB Ken Crawley. The Saints were looking at either a 3-0 or 7-0 deficit, but this play changed the tone of the game early on.
- The second critical play came as the Saints were leading 3-0, with 10:44 left in the 2nd quarter. The Saints faced a 4th and 1 on the Miami 17 yard line. Instead of choosing to kick a FG and lead 6-0, Saints Head Coach Payton decided to go for the yard. The Saints picked it up, and eventually scored a TD to lead by two scores at 10-0.
- The third critical play call came with 4:02 in the 3rd quarter, with the Saints leading 13-0. The Saints faced a 3rd and 12 on the Miami 12 – certainly a tough situation to convert. The Saints called for a shovel pass to RB Kamara off fly sweep action to speedy WR Ted Ginn, which they had been showing the Dolphins on occasion earlier in the game. The Saints executed perfectly, Kamara scored a TD, and the play call effectively ended the game.