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(Sunday, October 25th)
Final Score: New Orleans 46, Miami 34
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Drew Brees ran for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, as the New Orleans Saints rallied from a big first-half deficit to take a 46-34 win over the Dolphins and stay unbeaten.
The Saints (6-0) trailed 24-3 with just under nine minutes left in the first half and looked headed for a blowout loss but totally reversed their fortunes by scoring 43 of the game's final 53 points -- including 36 in the second half.
Brees threw for 298 yards and a touchdown on 22-of-38 passing but was intercepted three times and lost a fumble in an atypical performance. He entered the game having thrown for 1,400 yards this season, with 13 TDs to only two interceptions.
The Saints, though, did most of their scoring on the ground and through defense Sunday, getting two rushing TDs from Brees and one from Reggie Bush. Darren Sharper and Tracy Porter each returned an interception for a score for New Orleans, which is off to its first 6-0 start since 1991.
"There was really no doubt on our sideline we would come back and win this game," Brees said. "Just because that's all we've talked about is finishing football games. We hadn't been in a situation like this in a while. Not too many times are you down 21 points. I think we all knew they had given us their best shot, we had played about as bad as we could play. All we had to do is string a few drives together, kind of gain the momentum back and start making some plays."
Ricky Williams ran nine times for 80 yards and three scores to match a career high, but the Dolphins (2-4) wasted the early lead on the way to having their two-game win streak broken.
Ronnie Brown also rushed for a score for Miami, while Chad Henne, making his third start in a row, threw for 211 yards on 18-of-36 completions but had the two costly interceptions.
"They finished the game and we didn't," Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano said. "That has been our ... that's been kind of our deal. We finish games. One of the things we really wanted to do in this game was get this team into the fourth quarter and kind of get them into a place where they hadn't been, and I thought that we did that; we just didn't finish the game."
Brown's eight-yard touchdown run provided the Dolphins a 24-3 lead with 8:55 left in the second quarter. John Carney missed a 49-yard field goal on the Saints' next drive, and Miami threatened to build on its advantage later in the half, getting into New Orleans territory after the two-minute warning.
But Dolphins receiver Davone Bess fumbled after catching a short pass, and Scott Shanle recovered for the Saints, who began a drive near midfield with 1:38 to play.
New Orleans got as far as the Miami 21-yard line, and on third down Brees found Marques Colston deep over the middle. Colston appeared to fall with the ball on the goal line, and it was initially called a touchdown, but upon review the call was reversed with five seconds left.
Brees stretched the ball across the goal-line for a touchdown on the next play, and it was a crucial score, as it allowed New Orleans to get right back in the game in the second half.
Miami had the ball first, and on 3rd-and-11 Henne's pass to Ted Ginn Jr. was tipped in the air -- first by Ginn, then by Porter, until Sharper grabbed it out of the air and ran up the right sideline for a touchdown. The Dolphins challenged the score, as Sharper fumbled near the goal line, but the call was upheld to get the Saints to within 24-17 just 64 seconds into the half.
"We come out in the second half and the first drive we get a deflected ball out there, and they get a pick-six, which doesn't start things off very well for the offense," Henne said. "We still had our opportunities in the second half, we just didn't execute as an offense."
Dan Carpenter kicked a 33-yard field goal later in the quarter, after Brees' fumble gave the Dolphins the ball at the Saints 15, to push Miami's lead to 10.
New Orleans, though, countered on its ensuing possession with an eight-play, 82-yard drive, which Brees capped with a 10-yard toss to an open Colston.
The Dolphins had their own quick answer in the form of a three-play, 71-yard drive. Brian Hartline turned a short pass from Henne into a 67-yard gain on the second play of the series, bringing the ball to the Saints' four, and Williams ran it in from there to give Miami a 34-24 lead going to the fourth.
The back-and-forth contest continued with a quick strike from the Saints. Brees found Jeremy Shockey on the first play of the stanza for a 66-yard gain, bringing the ball to the Miami 13. After a three-yard run from Mike Bell, Bush ran for a touchdown up the left sideline, taking flight from several yards out to sneak the ball inside the pylon.
A Dolphins punt gave the Saints the ball back, and they drove for another score -- this one coming on a two-yard run up the middle from Brees. A missed extra point kept New Orleans' lead at 37-34 with 8:35 to play.
Miami again had to punt after going three-and-out, and the Saints tacked onto their lead with a 20-yard field goal from Carney.
That came with 3:23 to play, giving the Dolphins plenty of time for a potential winning score. They got to their own 41, where the drive stalled and they were faced with a 4th-and-13 with 2:06 left. But Henne's pass for Greg Camarillo was picked off by Porter, who ran it back 54 yards for the score, all but sealing the comeback win for the Saints.
Miami controlled the game in the first half, as a Brees interception set up Williams' four-yard touchdown midway through the opening quarter.
Carney's 46-yarder got the Saints on the board, but Williams broke off a 68- yard scoring run on the ensuing drive, picking up a number of nice blocks, to make it a 14-3 game.
Carpenter kicked a 32-yarder shortly into the second, and Brees was again picked off to set up Brown's TD.
Williams previously ran for three TDs on October 22, 2000, when he was a member of the Saints...New Orleans tackle Sedrick Ellis left in the first half with an apparent leg injury...Bell finished with 80 yards on 12 carries for the Saints, while Shockey finished with 105 yards on four grabs. Colston had five receptions for 72 yards...Camarillo had five catches for 55 yards for Miami, while Jason Taylor had two sacks...New Orleans accumulated 414 total yards, only 112 of which came in the first half.
10/25 23:15:45 ET
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