The New Orleans Saints shut out the Miami Dolphins 20-0 on Sunday in London to even their record at 2-2 heading into their bye week. Just as they did in their defeat of Carolina the week before, the Saints seized control of the momentum early, and let their defense control the pace of the game. They overcame an ugly, penalty-laden first half to notch their first shutout since a 41-0 victory over Tampa Bay in the 2012 season.
New Orleans had multiple solid performances on both sides of the ball, but today we hand out 2 game balls on each side.
Game Ball #1 — CB, Marshon Lattimore
The 11th overall draft pick in this spring's draft continues to look like he is going to be a top tier NFL cornerback. After missing last week due to a concussion, Lattimore returned to the lineup yesterday. He finished with 5 tackles (4 in the first half), along with forcing a fumble. Lattimore's contribution went far beyond what shows up on a stat sheet. He was outstanding in run support during the game, and fought through blockers on numerous occasions to limit the Dolphins' receivers to short gains on screens and quick passes. Miami's trio of wideouts, Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker, and former Saint Kenny Stills, are as dangerous as anybody in the league. Lattimore and the New Orleans secondary held the three to a combined 122 receiving yards and just 8.1 yards per catch. Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded Lattimore's performance with a score of 88, the 2nd highest rated cornerback in the league over the weekend.
Game Ball #2 — CB, Ken Crawley
Crawley played his second straight standout game for the Saints, after being inactive for the first two games. Earning a surprise start due to team discipline of P.J. Williams, Crawley snuffed out Miami's opening drive, and their best of the day, with an end zone interception of quarterback Jay Cutler over Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas. PFF graded Crawley's performance on the day at 85.9, 5th best among all cornerbacks. He was targeted 8 times on the day, surrendering just 4 catches for 36 yards against the Dolphins talented group of receivers. Crawley, Lattimore and Williams are coming together as a solid cornerback unit, each showing improvement in coverage each passing week.
Game Ball #3 — RB, Alvin Kamara
Kamara is quickly becoming a dominant part of the New Orleans offense. He had a total of 15 touches from scrimmage against the Dolphins, including a team-high 10 receptions for 71 yards and a 12-yd. 4th quarter touchdown. Kamara showed he was going to be a big part of the game plan on the Saints opening drive of the day, with a rush attempt and five receptions. With each week, the rookie 3rd round draft choice becomes a bigger part of the New Orleans attack, and will almost certainly become a game breaking performer as the season progresses.
Game Ball #4 — WR, Michael Thomas
Thomas continues to be the focal point of the New Orleans passing attack, if not the entire offense. He tortured Miami rookie Cordrea Tankersley all game, and finished with 8 receptions for a team leading 89 yards and a touchdown. Thomas' 310 receiving yards so far on the season are more than double the output of any other New Orleans target. Despite the extra attention from opponents due to the absence of Willie Snead, Thomas has increased his production every week, and will be a vital part of the Saints success over the remainder of the season.
Who was your top performer in the Saints win in London?
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