Saints Offense Overmatched in 20-3 Loss to the Miami Dolphins
The short-handed New Orleans Saints offense was shut down at home on Monday Night Football in a 20-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Three points is the lowest point output in the Sean Payton era. New Orleans only gained 164 total yards and 10 first downs on offense. They were 0-12 on third downs. Starting quarterback Ian Book was sacked eight times and he threw two interceptions.
The Saints are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but this loss greatly damages their hopes as they fall to 7-8 in 2021. Miami's playoff chances are still alive, and they became the first team in NFL history to have a seven-game winning streak after having a seven-game losing streak in the same season.
The Saints defense did all they could, but the offense simply wasn’t good enough. To start the game, the New Orleans defense gave up a third down conversion but forced a punt near midfield, giving Book and the Saints offense their first possession starting at the 16.
On Book’s second throw, he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Dolphins took an early 7-0 lead on the defensive score.
The offense went three-and-out and punted after Book was sacked on third down.
Miami went on a long drive, but, after reaching the red zone, defensive end Marcus Davenport got a big strip-sack on third down. The Dolphins recovered the fumble and kicked a 48-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0.
The Saints offense went three-and-out again. Through the first quarter, New Orleans had only four minutes of time of possession, so they put a tired defense back out for their third possession to start the second quarter.
However, they forced another Dolphins punt. The Saints offense finally got a first down but punted after a scramble by Book on third down near midfield came up short.
Helped by an offensive holding call, the New Orleans defense continued their strong play by forcing a three-and-out.
The Saints offense finally went on an extended drive into the red zone, but they were stopped on third-and-short. Kicker Brett Maher broke the scoreless first half with a field goal, and New Orleans cut the lead to 10-3 with less than three minutes remaining before halftime.
Miami drove into New Orleans territory on their two-minute drill before the half. However, defensive end Cam Jordan got a sack on third down to push the field goal attempt to 58 yards.
The Dolphins kicker drilled the try, but coach Payton called a timeout to ice him. On the second attempt, he missed, and the Saints went into halftime only trailing 10-3.
New Orleans went three-and-out to start the second half, but defensive back Marshon Lattimore intercepted a ball for the Saints first turnover of the night.
New Orleans drove to midfield, but Book was sacked on third down and they punted again. This time, Miami used a couple of chunk plays in the passing game to drive down the field into the red zone. They scored their first offensive touchdown of the game to extend the lead to 17-3.
New Orleans gained a first down, but they were forced to punt. Miami went three-and-out in response.
The Saints offense gained nine yards in four plays and turned the ball over on downs. The Dolphins offense didn’t do much on their next drive, but they used good field position to kick another field goal and stretch the lead to three possessions.
The two teams traded punts before Book connected with wide receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 54-yard gain.
However, on fourth down, Book threw his second interception of the night. Miami punted again, and two running plays by the Saints drained the clock to end the game. The short-handed New Orleans offense finished a miserable night and lost 20-3.
New Orleans is now 7-8 in 2021. Up next, they host the 5-10 Carolina Panthers on Sunday, January 2 at 3:25 p.m.