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Other Week 8 Game Recaps

Week 8 Game Recap: Miami Dolphins 21, New Orleans Saints 6

What you need to know

Miami Dolphins

Gus Frerotte started strong but overall, did not play very well in this game. He missed open receivers on several occasions with passes that were wide of the mark or overthrown after starting with 13 completions from his first 16 passes.

The leading receiver for the Dolphins was David Boston who had one catch for 54 yards. Chris Chambers did not have a reception until inside two minutes remaining in the first half, and he was only targeted five times all day. Randy McMichael also had a quiet day with three catches.

The Dolphins dominated the game on the ground in the second half. Ronnie Brown gained over 100 yards and Ricky Williams had 82 yards against his old team. The carries were split almost equally.

The pass defense did its job, sacking Brooks five times and intercepting once, as well as recovering a fumble for another turnover. The run defense was strong, holding the Saints under 100 yards.

New Orleans Saints

Aaron Brooks made some bad decisions and held onto the ball too long on several occasions. He was sacked five times including one for a 26 yard loss and another for a safety. He was also intercepted and the Saints did not score a touchdown in the game.

Joe Horn returned for the Saints after missing almost all of the last four games. He looked good in this game, making several nice catches and showing the ability to run after the catch. He did not look to be slowed by his hamstring injury. Stallworth was much less effective than Horn and Henderson player particularly badly. Hakim was a surprise inactive with a rib injury.

The Saints did not have much success on the ground, and Brooks ended the day as the leading rusher for the team. The team only carried the ball 17 teams after falling behind in the second half.

The defense did well at first and ended the day with two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. But the Dolphins’ running game wore them down in the second half, gaining a total of 188 rushing yards on the day.

What you ought to know

QB Gus Frerotte, Pass: 16 - 28 - 168 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - -1 - 0

Frerotte began the game quite well, completing 13 of his first 16 passes. He connected with David Boston for 54 yards on the Dolphins’ second drive, and found Booker for a 20 yard gain, but his other completions were mostly for modest gains. Frerotte’s one interception was on a tipped pass that was intended for Randy McMichael. Frerotte linked up with Chris Chambers at the start of the fourth quarter for a 12 yard score, the Dolphins’ only touchdown of the day. Frerotte made a lot of poor throws in the game, missing open receivers by throwing wide or high.

RB Ronnie Brown, Rush: 23 - 106 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)

Brown had a good day running the football, finishing with 106 yards on the ground and two receptions for a further 12 yards. Most of his yardage came in the second half as the Dolphins got the lead and controlled the game on the ground. Brown’s longest gain came near the end of the game when he broke free for 35 yards.

RB Ricky Williams, Rush: 17 - 82 - 0 (1 targets)

After looking rusty in his previous games, Williams showed why the Dolphins were prepared to take him back. He had almost as many carries as Brown, and looked very effective. Although he is lighter than two years ago, he looks just as strong and was able to carry tacklers. He ran hard against his old team and ended the day with 82 yards on the ground. Williams’ longest run of the day was for 16 yards and a first down, and kept alive the Dolphins’ only touchdown drive.

WR Chris Chambers, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 4 - 25 - 1 (5 targets)

Chambers did not make his first catch until inside the two minute warning in the first half. He caught the only touchdown pass of the day at the start of the fourth quarter, going in from 12 yards. He was a step clear of Mike McKenzie and could have had another touchdown, but Frerotte overthrew him. Chambers was not used very much in the game and ended the day with four receptions from his five targets. Chambers was used on a reverse before he made his first catch, but he was only able to gain one yard on the play.

WR Wes Welker, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (5 targets)

Welker was open in the end zone on Miami’s second possession, but Frerotte threw the ball too high. Welker ended with three receptions for 17 yards, including a first down. The Dolphins tried to run him on a reverse but Frerotte fumbled the hand off and Welker recovered.

WR Marty Booker, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (4 targets)

Booker had catches of 12 yards and 20 yards for first downs, and was targeted once in the end zone, but he was not a big factor in the remainder of the game.

WR David Boston, Rec: 1 - 54 - 0 (1 targets)

Boston caught a 54 yard pass on the Dolphins’ second possession. He made five yards after the catch and was tackled by his face mask, resulting in a fumble. The play was whistled dead and the Dolphins retained possession. Boston did not receive any other targets in the game.

TE Randy McMichael, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (6 targets)

McMichael gained the Dolphins’ opening first down with an 11 yard reception. He almost made a superb catch on one throw, but the pass was too high. McMichael’s chances were very limited in this game and he only had 20 yards receiving on the day.

TE Lorenzo Diamond (1 targets)

Diamond dropped the only ball thrown his way, and should have held on.

PK Olindo Mare 4 - 5 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 13 points

With the Dolphins’ drives continually stalling, Mare had five field goal tries in the game. He converted from 37 yards, 36 yards, 41 yards and 46 yards, and made his extra point attempt. He finally missed from 36 yards near the end of the game.

MIA Rush Defense

The Dolphins were able to stifle the Saints’ running game very effectively. The longest run for the Saints came on their opening drive when Antowain Smith broke free for a 23 yard gain. Aaron Brooks scrambled for 20 yards later in the game, but the Saints were held under 100 yards rushing after they fell behind and abandoned the run. Channing Crowder ended with 5 solo tackles and an assist, while Zack Thomas only had two solo tackles in the game.

MIA Pass Defense

The Dolphins managed to maintain good pressure on Brooks all day, sacking him five times. Keith Traylor had the first sack, tackling Brooks for a 12 yard loss after Brooks slipped. Vonnie Holliday had six solo tackles along with his sack. Kevin Carter had the 90th sack of his career after the Dolphins only rushed three men, and Brooks was tackled in the end zone for a safety. Jeff Zognina and Yeremiah Bell had the other two sacks, the latter for a 26 yard loss. Donnie Spragan forced a Brooks’ fumble which the Saints recovered, but the play was negated by a penalty. Sam Madison was inactive with a hip injury.

QB Aaron Brooks, Pass: 14 - 31 - 181 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 34 - 0

Brooks had a poor game. Although he didn’t have a lot of help. He was heavily pressured by the Dolphins’ pass rush and was sacked five times in the game. Devery Henderson appeared to run the wrong route and Brooks threw the ball directly to Reggie Howard for an interception. The Saints switched to a no huddle offense in the second half and Brooks fumbled a snap. He then fumbled again after Aaron Stecker ran into him and knocked the ball loose while trying to block the pass rush. Brooks almost found Stallworth in the end zone for a touchdown but the ball was poorly thrown. The Dolphins forced Brooks out of the pocket on several occasions, and he ended the game as the Saints’ leading rusher with a long gain of 20 yards.

RB Aaron Stecker, Rush: 4 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)

Stecker was active in this game after being questionable earlier in the week. He caught three of his four targets, including an 11 yard reception for a first down. His carries were limited to four as the Saints fell behind and abandoned the run. Stecker returned kicks well and looked fully healthy. His worst moment came when he ran into QB Aaron Brooks while trying to block the pass rush, resulting in a Brooks’ fumble, but the Saints managed to recover the ball.

RB Antowain Smith, Rush: 6 - 33 - 0 (1 targets)

Smith had a 23 yard run on the Saints’ opening possession, but ended the day with just six carries for 33 yards and only had one yard in the second half as the Saints fell behind. Smith was targeted once in the passing game but did not make the catch.

WR Joe Horn, Rec: 7 - 99 - 0 (13 targets)

After being inactive in three of the last four games, and leaving the other game with injury before making a catch, Horn looked to be fully healthy in this game. He had a 12 yard catch for a first down on the Saints’ opening drive and followed up with a 16 yard catch for a first down on their next drive. Brooks found him for a 30 yard gain later in the half and he had three catches for 58 yards by half time. Brooks targeted him in the end zone in the second half but the defender made the play and the Saints were also penalized for holding. Horn later almost caught a 40 yard pass but the play was broken up. Horn showed good mobility on a 17 yard catch, spinning away from the defender for an eight yard run after the catch. Brooks clearly favored Horn over the other receivers, targeting him 13 times in the game.

WR Donte Stallworth, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (7 targets)

Stallworth caught a 10 yard pass for the Saints’ opening first down, but only caught two more passes on the day. He might have scored on the opening drive, but was unable to make a tough catch in the end zone. Stallworth made a couple of mental errors in the game; he allowed a punt to bounce and lost a lot of yardage, eventually leading to the Dolphins’ safety. He also caught one pass and then dropped it, losing possession before the Saints challenged and had the play ruled an incomplete pass. Stallworth’s longest reception of the day was in garbage time when he caught a 29 yard pass for a first down.

WR Devery Henderson, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (6 targets)

Henderson had a bigger role in the absence of Az-zahir Hakim, but played poorly in this game. He caught a pass on the Saints’ opening drive for what would have been a first down until he cut back and lost yardage. Luckily the Saints gained the first down on a penalty. His biggest error came early in the second half when he appeared to run the wrong route and Brooks threw the ball to the defender. Henderson almost caught a 40 yard pass later in the game on a tipped ball, but ended the day with one reception for 14 yards.

TE Shad Meier (1 targets)

Meier was targeted once in the game but did not make the catch.

PK John Carney 2 - 2 FG, 0 - 0 XP, 6 points

Carney made both his kicks, converting from 26 yards for the opening score of the game and then just reaching on a 49 yard field goal in the third quarter.

NO Rush Defense

The Saints did reasonably well against the run in the first half, but conceded 188 net rushing yards by the end of the game. Most of the damage was done late in the game as the defense tired and the Dolphins ran down the clock. Sedrick Hodge had eight solo tackles and an assist, and Ronald McKinnon had seven solos and an assist.

NO Pass Defense

The Saints were able to pressure Frerotte well, forcing him into several inaccurate passes after he completed 13 of his first 16 attempts. Darren Howard and Will Smith each had a sack, and Frerotte fumbled after being hit by Howard. Dwight Smith intercepted a pass after Randy McMichael tipped the ball. Unfortunately for the Saints, Smith then ran into his own man and fumbled the ball straight back to the Dolphins. Mike McKenzie injured his shoulder towards the end of the first half, but he quickly returned and was able to complete the game.

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