This wasn't the outcome the Miami Dolphins had in mind versus the New Orleans Saints. For most Dolfans hovering over Twitter, this wasn't the type of lame duck performance they were looking for. Not to mention, the Dolphins fans in Miami who are deliberating to buy an economical 3 game flex-pack to watch the Dolphins or a 10 game pack to watch the Heat.
Recapping the game quarter by quarter, here were the big things that stood out.
First Quarter: Dolphins answer Saints first drive with a drive of their own. Connecting with Mike Wallace and then later a zone read play with quarterback Ryan Tannehill taking off for 26 yards and putting the ball in Saints territory. Dolphins on defense played porous and allowed the Saints' running back Darren Sproles to be the leading pass catcher in yardage.
Second Quarter: Dolphins cut the lead down from 14-3 with a pretty swing pass to running back Marcus Thigpen only to be tackled inside the 10. The Dolphins followed up the play with a Lamar Miller draw play up the middle for an 5 yard score.
However, defensively before halftime, the Dolphins defense allowed a touchdown to Darren Sproles as the Saints Brees called for a formation that looked like a draw and sent Sproles on a pass to the endzone and his pass went right by Dolphins corner back Nolan Carroll.
Third quarter: Things got ugly for Miami quickly as the Saints got two more touchdowns one to Ben Watson an old foe from New England and another from star tight end Jimmy Graham on a seam route that Drew Brees saw as Graham was wide open.
Fourth quarter: The Dolphins got back on track with a nice productive drive and got inside the 10 for a beautiful over the shoulder pass from Ryan Tannehill to Charles Clay.
Heading this week to play the Ravens, the Dolphins have their work cut-out for them. Not a ton was positive in the first and second half despite the Dolphins continued fight all the way until the end.
Biggest keys to the game: Ryan Tannehill's fumble while running as Lofton punched it out prior to sliding and Tannehill's unfortuante interception forcing a throw to Hartline as Jabari Greer reached out for the errant throw.
Opportunites missed: Dolphins had third an inches near the 10 yard line. Dolphins elected to run off tackle left, Daniel Thomas for a two yard loss rather than a QB sneak with Tannehill. The drive stalled resulting in a Caleb Sturgis field goal. Tannehill to Mike Wallace on a go-route in the 2nd quarter, Wallace missed the ball and was clearly destracted by childhood friend, corner back Keenan Lewis who appeared to get in Wallace's eyes. Lastly, on the Saints possession on 3rd and 20, the Dolphins defense failed to tackle Darren Sproles who ran untouched for the first down. Since the game got out of hand with 8:20 to play in the third quarter, the Dolphins had to abandon the run game which was working early on.
Storylines for the week: Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace is clearly a work in progress and not working at the moment. Either the comfort is there or it isn't. He's one of the many choices that Tannehill has. Plenty of opportunities to connect and plenty of questionnable play calls to involve Wallace over the middle showed his discomfort with getting hit. This was not the homecoming that Mike Wallace had in mind as a New Orleans native.
Dolphins failed to protect Ryan Tannehill.
Dolphins had four turnovers. No one wins in the NFL with four turnovers.
Saints 38-Dolphins 17.
Ryan Tannehill: 22/35, 1 TD, 3 INT, 245 Yards, sacked 4 times. Rushing: 48 yards.
Lamar Miller: 11 for 62 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Gibson: 6 rec for 71 yards
Charles Clay: 6 rec for 42 yards, 1 TD
Caleb Sturgis: 1/1 on FG
Bottom line, the Dolphins are 3-1 and can't let this terrible game get under their skin.
Next up: The defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens