Final

Dolphins 21

(3-4, 1-3 away)

Saints 6

(2-6, 1-3 home)

4:05 PM ET, October 30, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
MIA 3 6 2 1021
NO 3 0 3 06

Top Performers

Passing: A. Brooks (NO) - 181 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Brown (MIA) - 23 CAR, 106 YDS

Receiving: J. Horn (NO) - 7 REC, 99 YDS

Dolphins hand reeling Saints fourth straight loss

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Dolphins coach Nick Saban trotted off the field to applause, kissed a few women on the cheek, hugged other fans and signed autographs.

It was over when ...
The Dolphins' defense took the field. Miami allowed just one touchdown and even recorded a safety in snapping a three-game losing streak.
Game ball goes to ...
The Dolphins' D, for keeping the Saints from snapping a three-game losing streak of their own in their return to Louisiana.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen It's difficult in this circumstance to say that Aaron Brooks should be benched because it's hard to make a decision on anyone's career on this team because of what the team has gone through. They've suffered through injuries and tragedy this season, but it looks like Brooks hasn't progressed. He seems to have peaked in his performance and isn't going to get better. The silly mistakes that seemed to be just borne out of youth now seem to be a part of who he is as a player.
-- Eric Allen

The former LSU coach was triumphant again in Tiger Stadium, spoiling the New Orleans Saints' return to Louisiana.

"It's been wonderful. I really do feel like this was coming home to play a game and it was exciting for me even though I didn't say it [earlier]," Saban said. "It was exciting to be back in Tiger Stadium and I feel really great that our team did a nice job to make us proud of how they played."

The Dolphins' 21-6 victory over New Orleans on Sunday was the type of defensive masterpiece that Saban made commonplace here when he won a BCS national title two seasons ago. His defense allowed only two field goals, recorded a safety and kept Aaron Brooks off-balance throughout in snapping a three-game losing streak.

Gus Frerotte connected with Chris Chambers for Miami's only touchdown, which ended up being more than enough with Olindo Mare's four field goals.

Ricky Williams also showed signs of a return to form for the first time since his NFL comeback, battering tacklers as he gained 82 yards on 17 carries. Ronnie Brown rushed for 106 yards for the Dolphins (3-4).

"We were very effective using both of those guys," Saban said. "I think we're learning and growing on how we do that."

While NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue offered hope to those in Louisiana who'd like to keep the state's NFL franchise, the Saints (2-6), losers of four straight, did little to leave their fans hopeful about this season.

Brooks was intercepted once, sacked six times for a combined loss of 68 yards and was often jittery, twice fumbling without being touched -- though he recovered both. He was forced to scramble so often he ended up leading the Saints in rushing with 34 yards.

Saints coach Jim Haslett, who might have celebrated a homecoming of his own had the Saints played better, blasted his entire team afterward.

"Right now we are a bad football team," Haslett said. "If anybody on this football team quits, or doesn't practice hard or play hard, I promise you I will cut them."

An announced crowd of 61,643 loudly welcomed the Saints back to Louisiana for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, routinely rocking Death Valley as LSU fans do. A sign with a fleur-des-lis read "Welcome Home Saints." Another read "Forget the Alamo," a reference to San Antonio, where the Saints have temporarily relocated since the storm. One that was addressed to Saints owner Tom Benson read "Please don't break my heart."

Tagliabue commended Louisiana fans for their longtime support and promised that the NFL would make a concerted effort to keep the Saints in the state.

"The Saints are Louisiana's team and have been since the late '60s," Tagliabue said. "Our focus continues to be on having the Saints in Louisiana."

The campus around the stadium was a sprawling encampment of tailgaters, much as it is for LSU games. Many wore wearing LSU purple and gold, some with screen printing that read "Welcome Home Nick."

And the crowd clapped in synch and roared when the LSU band took the field shortly before kickoff, playing "Hold That Tiger," a customary pregame tradition in Tiger Stadium.

Saban led the Dolphins onto the field to a mixture of applause and some unfamiliar boos. But by the end of the game, the boo birds had turned their wrath upon the Saints' stagnant offense.

Brooks was 14-of-31 for 181 yards. More than half of that went to Joe Horn, who returned form a hamstring injury to make seven catches for 99 yards.

"We love our fans. We thank them for coming here and showing their support," Horn said. "We should have been booed. We were playing horrible. ... I can feel their pain. All I can do is apologize. I love New Orleans and Baton Rouge. I miss Louisiana."

Frerotte was 16-of-28 for 168 yards with one interception.

Game notes


Wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim (ribs) was among the regulars listed as inactive for the Saints. Tight ends Shad Meier (hip and knee) and Ernie Conwell (knee) were injured during the game and were questionable for next week, Haslett said. Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau (calf) also sat out. ... Kevin Carter notched the second safety of his career. The first came in 1995 against Cincinnati when he sacked Boomer Esiason.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
MIA
NO
1st Downs2014
Passing 1st downs
79
Rushing 1st downs
103
1st downs from penalties
32
3rd down efficiency
7-180-11
4th down efficiency
0-00-2
Total Plays7754
Total Yards342203
Yards per play4.43.8
Total Drives1511
Passing154113
Comp-Att
16-2814-31
Yards per pass
5.13.1
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-146-68
Rushing18890
Rushing Attempts
4717
Yards per rush
4.05.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-40-1
Penalties5-348-77
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession36:2323:37

Passing Leaders

MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Frerotte16/281686.0112-14
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brooks14/311815.8016-68

Rushing Leaders

MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Brown231064.6035
Williams17824.8016
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Brooks6345.7020
Smith6335.5023

Receiving Leaders

MIARECYDSAVGTDLG
Boston15454.0054
Booker34013.3020
NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Horn79914.1030
Stallworth35217.3029

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMIANO
noFG6:52John Carney 18 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 57 yds, 4:57
03
miaFG0:37Olindo Mare 29 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 40 yds, 6:06
33
SECOND QUARTERMIANO
miaFG7:22Olindo Mare 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 62 yds, 5:30
63
miaFG0:02Olindo Mare 33 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 37 yds, 1:41
93
THIRD QUARTERMIANO
noFG3:42John Carney 41 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, -2 yds, 1:00
96
noSF2:00Safety
Drive info: 4 plays, -12 yds, 0:45
116
FOURTH QUARTERMIANO
miaTD14:16Chris Chambers, 12 yd pass from Gus Frerotte (Olindo Mare kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 51 yds, 12:33
186
miaFG9:33Olindo Mare 37 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 33 yds, 3:41
216