Brees leads Sainst to win
Published 5:30 am Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Drew Brees angrily stomped to the sideline, while behind him the Miami Dolphins celebrated a big defensive play.
The scene kept repeating, and soon the New Orleans Saints trailed by three touchdowns.
“You’re looking at the scoreboard and it’s 24-3, and you say, ‘How did this game get out of hand like this?'” Brees said.
For the NFL’s highest-scoring team, the deficit proved surmountable. Unbeaten New Orleans scored 43 points in the final 30:02 to rally past the Miami Dolphins 46-34 Sunday.
The Saints topped 40 points for the fourth time and outscored the Dolphins 22-0 in the fourth quarter.
“There was no doubt on our sideline we would come back and win,” Brees said. “They had given us their best shot, and we had played about as bad as we could play. All we had to do was string together a few drives and gain the momentum back. We knew it was going to happen, and it did.”
Brees had his roughest day of the season, with three interceptions, a lost fumble, five sacks and two cuts to the face. But he led long touchdown drives on three successive possessions in the second half to put New Orleans ahead.
Tracy Porter’s 54-yard interception return then sealed the win for the Saints (6-0), who are off to their best start since 1991 and are the only unbeaten team in the NFC.
“This was a test we hadn’t faced yet, and we couldn’t be happier with the way we responded,” linebacker Scott Shanle said.
Brees threw for 298 yards and one touchdown, and he scored twice. After his 2-yard keeper with 8:35 left gave the Saints their first lead, he celebrated by dunking the ball over the crossbar.
“I felt like I had to do something to get everybody hyped,” he said. “The first thing that came to mind was to dunk it.”
Fading at the finish, the Dolphins (2-4) fell 21⁄2 games behind AFC East leader New England.
“This was our game to win,” Miami’s Ricky Williams said.
“We were in the driver’s seat,” teammate Ronnie Brown agreed.
Williams carried only nine times but tied a career high with three touchdowns rushing, including a 68-yard run, the longest of his career. At that point, the Dolphins appeared poised for a stunning blowout.
By the time the Saints picked up their second first down 22 minutes into the game, Miami led 24-3. Against New Orleans, that wasn’t enough of a cushion.
“If it was a two-quarter game we would have won,” Miami linebacker Akin Ayodele said. “But you have to play the whole game.”
Two Dolphins turnovers and a timeout helped New Orleans get back into the game.
After Davone Bess lost a fumble at midfield late in the first half, Marques Colston caught a 21-yard pass that was initially ruled a TD. When a replay review with 5 seconds left determined the ball should instead be placed at the half-yard line, the Dolphins called timeout.
With the Saints trailing by 21, coach Sean Payton sent his field-goal unit into the game. During the timeout, Brees lobbied his coach for a shot at a touchdown.
“I said, ‘I’ll get the touchdown. I know exactly what to do,'” Brees said.
The Saints’ offense returned to the field, and Brees plunged across the goal line to make the score 24-10.
New Orleans struck again barely a minute into the second half when Darren Sharper scored on an interception return for the third time this season. The 42-yard runback came after he snatched a pass that deflected off the hands of receiver Ted Ginn Jr.
“It’s a tale of two halves,” Miami linebacker Jason Taylor said. “We did so many things dumb in the second half.”