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Depleted Saints Fall to Dolphins in Deflating 20-3 Loss

Saints now need to win out and get some help to make the playoffs

Miami Dolphins v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints (7-8) had a chance to stay in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC when they faced the Miami Dolphins (8-7) in the Caesars Superdome on Monday Night. With a win, the Saints would have been tied with the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles in terms of record (8-7) and earn a higher chance to get the sixth or seventh playoff-eligible spot in the conference. The task was tall for New Orleans, with over 20 players missing the game due to either injuries or COVID-related reasons, including starting quarterback Taysom Hill and backup Trevor Siemian. Rookie quarterback Ian Book was making his NFL debut, with a makeshift offensive line against a ferocious Dolphins defense.

As it was to be expected, things did not go the Saints’ way, with Book ominously throwing a pick-six in his first drive as a starter for the Saints. New Orleans’ offensive line, missing both of its starting tackles and one of its starting guards had no chance against Miami’s pass rush. The Saints would muster only three points in a 20-3 loss.

The Saints face the Carolina Panthers next week in what amounts to an elimination game.

Below is a live quarter-by-quarter description of how the game unfolded:


First Quarter

Saints win the toss and defer, Dolphins start at their 21-yard line after return by former Saints kick returner/WR Tommylee Lewis. After a penalty on Marshon Lattimore, the Dolphins get to midfield. Dolphins eventually stall near midfield and are forced to punt.

Easop Winston returns the punt to the Saints’ 16-yard line. Saints quickly face a 3rd-and-3 and Ian Book throws a pick-six, quickly gifting a score to the Dolphins.

NO: 0 - MIA: 7

Saints start at their 25-yard line after a touchback. New Orleans faces 3rd-and-6 and Book gets sacked, New Orleans goes three-and-out and is forced to punt.

Dolphins take over at their 30-yard line. Dolphins face a 3rd-and-7 and Tua Tagovailoa finds Jaylen Waddle for an 18-yard catch and into Saints’ territory. Miami gets another first down to the Saints’ 31-yard line. On 3rd-and-4, Marcus Davenport sacks Tagovailoa who fumbles, but the Dolphins recover and kick and convert a 48-yard field goal.

NO: 0 - MIA: 10

Saints take over at their 25-yard line. New Orleans runs two rushing plays for 4 yards, and on 3rd down, Book is sacked and the Saints still have not gained a first down.

Dolphins start at their 26-yard line and gain 4 yards on a running play as the quarter ends.

Second Quarter

Dolphins get a first down on the first play of the quarter. On 3rd-and-1 near midfield, the Dolphins stall and elect to punt.

Saints start at their 12-yard line, and Ian Book finds Marquez Callaway for the Saints’ first “first down” of the game. On 3rd down, the Saints stall near the 40-yard line and have to punt.

Dolphins take over at their 28-yard line and run the ball twice. Offensive holding on the Dolphins on third down pushes Miami back and the Dolphins are forced to punt.

Saints take over at their 25-yard line and Book finds Callaway again for a first down. Ingram then runs for seven yards on first down. Alvin Kamara gets a first down and then on a short pass, Kamara gets another first down in Dolphins’ territory, the first foray for the Saints in Miami’s side of the field. A penalty on the Dolphins puts the Saints at Miami’s 24-yard line. On 3rd-and-2 at the Dolphins’ 15-yard line, Saints come up short. Saints elect to kick and Brett Maher makes a 38-yard field goal.

NO: 3 - MIA: 10

Dolphins take over at their 25-yard line with 2:45 to go in the half. Miami keeps the ball on the ground but is pushed back by a holding penalty. Tagovailoa finds Waddle for a first down into Saints’ territory. An offside penalty gives Miami a free five yards to the Saints’ 35-yard line. Another holding penalty on the Dolphins pushes them farther but Tagovailoa finds his tight end Smythe close to the Saints’ 30-yard line. On 3rd down, Cam Jordan sacks Tagovailoa, pushing the Dolphins to New Orleans’ 41-yard line. Jason Sanders attempts a 59-yard field goal and misses right. Saints trail by seven at the half.


Third Quarter

Saints start at their 25-yard line. After gaining 6 yards on the first two downs, Saints stall after an incomplete pass from Book intended for Alvin Kamara. Saints punt and Miami takes over at their 24-yard line.

Dolphins quickly face a 3rd-and-9 and Marshon Lattimore intercepts a pass by Tagovailoa at the Saints’ 36-yard line.

Ian Book finds Callaway at the 49-yard line for a first down. Saints face a 3rd-and-8 at Miami’s 49-yard line and Book is sacked for the fifth time of the night and the Saints punt.

Dolphins start at their 14-yard line. On 3rd-and-9, Tagovailoa launches a 40-yard pass to Mack Hollins to the Saints’ 45-yard line. Tagovailoa finds Waddle for 24 yards to the Saints’ 21-yard line. The Dolphins get inside the red zone running the ball. On 3rd-and-2 from the Saints’ 3-yard line, a roughing-the -passer penalty gives the Dolphins a first and goal at the one-yard line. Tagovailoa finds Jaylen Waddle with a shovel pass for a touchdown.

NO: 3 - MIA: 17

Saints take over at their 25-yard line, Alvin Kamara runs for 10 yards and a first down. On the second set of downs, a holding call pushes New Orleans into a 3rd-and-12. Book finds Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a short gain, and the Saints are forced to punt again.

Dolphins take over at their 19-yard line. On 3rd-and-2, P.J. Williams stops Tagovailoa with a big hit as the Saints’ defense keeps playing hard despite the offense’s ineptitude.

Saints take over at their 30-yard line and quickly face a third down as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

Saints come up just short of the first down and go for it on 4th-and-1 at their own 38-yard line and Book cannot find an open receiver and turn the ball on downs.

Miami takes over at the Saints’ 38-yard line. Tagovailoa passes for a first down to the Saints’ 21-yard line. Miami runs the ball but stalls on 4th-and-5 and settles for a field goal. Sanders makes a 34-yarder.

NO: 3 - MIA: 20

Saints return the kickoff to their 20-yard line. On second down, Book gets sacked to the Saints’ 10-yard line. On 3rd-and-20, Alvin Kamara runs for 19 yards and on 4th-and-1, Saints sneak and get the first down. Books gets sacked for the 7th time on first down. And for the 8th time on the next play. On 3rd down, the Saints are stopped short and are forced to punt yet again.

Dolphins return the punt to their 40-yard line. Miami drives the ball into Saints’ territory aided by a horse collar penalty on Pete Werner. Dolphins run the ball and chew out the clock. Dolphins stall and punt, pinning the Saints at their one-yard line.

Saints run the ball trying to get away from of their end zone. On second down, Ian Book finds Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a 57-yard bomb down the sideline to the Dolphins’ 42-yard line. Saints quickly face a 3rd-and-9 and can’t complete the pass, moving to 0 for 12 on third down in the game. Saints go for it on 4th down from the Dolphins’ 40-yard line, Book throws his second pick of the game, returned to the Dolphins’ 30-yard line.

Dolphins run the ball twice to the two-minute warning and after the two-minute warning, Miami fails to reach a first down and punts.

Saints run the ball with Tony Jones Jr. with no timeouts, ending the game in a 20-3 Miami win.


Can the Saints win out and make the playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    If they have all their players available, yes!
    (190 votes)
  • 35%
    No. Even with Taysom Hill the offense sucks!
    (159 votes)
  • 17%
    Why make the playoffs if it’s just to go one-and-out?
    (79 votes)
  • 5%
    No burgers for this offense, that was a putrid display.
    (25 votes)
453 votes total Vote Now

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