Drew Brees made his latest claim to the moniker of Mr. Monday Night.
He also gave the Miami Dolphins another reason to regret not making a harder push to sign him when they had the chance seven years ago.
Brees passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints turned a clash of unbeaten teams into a lopsided affair, beating Miami, 38-17, Monday night.
“I felt like we found our rhythm,” Brees said. “Every time we touched the ball, it felt like we were going to go down and score points.”
Two of Brees’ touchdowns went to Jimmy Graham for 27 and 43 yards as the tight end had at least 100 yards receiving for the third straight game. Brees’ other scoring strikes went to Benjamin Watson and Darren Sproles, who also rushed for a touchdown.
“He plays out of this world,” Graham said. “This team is so dynamic, we have so many weapons and Drew knows exactly where to go with the ball.”
Sproles’ 5-yard scoring run on the game’s opening series gave the Saints a lead they would not relinquish en route to their first 4-0 start since their Super Bowl championship season of 2009. It also further accentuated what a turnaround the Saints have made since coach Sean Payton served his bounty ban last season, which New Orleans opened with four losses.
“We like this a lot better,” Brees said of the 4-0 start. “Everything that could have gone wrong for us went wrong. Fortunately, we’re having the ball bounce our way this year. We’re playing good football.”
Browns’ defense preps for Bills: Phil Taylor strutted into the locker room last week with three chicken wings stuffed in his mouth and one in his hand. The big man’s always hungry.
And Cleveland’s massive nose tackle, who brings a nasty appetite for destruction to the field, is also one of the leaders of a Browns defense that’s been devouring running backs this season.
With impressive, stifling performances the past two weeks, Cleveland’s defense is quickly establishing itself as one of the NFL’s most dominant units. On Sunday, the Browns held the Cincinnati Bengals to just two field goals and 63 rushing yards in a 17-6 win. The previous week, the Browns limited Minnesota superstar Adrian Peterson to 88 yards and forced three key turnovers in a 31-27 victory.
Next up are the Buffalo Bills Thursday night.
Through four games, the Browns are allowing 2.9 yards per carry a league low and are the only defense not to give up a run of 15 yards or longer. It’s a pattern linebacker D’Qwell Jackson expects to continue.
“No one is going to be able to run on us this year,” Jackson boasted Tuesday as the Browns got ready to face the Buffalo Bills .“As long as we stay healthy and continue to grind the tape out and do what we need to do on Sunday, I don’t think anyone will be able to run on us.”
“We’ve faced one of the purest running backs in Adrian Peterson, so we feel like that’s what we do best, stopping the run.
“We want to be a top defense when this season is over with.”
Bengals’ embarrassed by performance: All of the Bengals’ talent couldn’t get them one touchdown.
And it captured their attention.
A 17-6 loss in Cleveland left the Bengals totally surprised and even a bit embarrassed. They felt very good about their offense heading into the game, but couldn’t even get into the end zone once.
Surprising? More like shocking.
“I still feel like we have a great offensive group in my room,” coordinator Jay Gruden said Monday. “They’re talented. Our offensive line is solid. Our receiving corps is excellent. We have great tight ends. We have backs to choose from, and our quarterback is a solid quarterback in the NFL.
“So for us to score six points anywhere against anybody is shocking, quite honestly. And it’s something we have to fight out of.”
The Bengals (2-2) wasted a chance to take control of the AFC North, a division they want to win for a change. They’ve made the playoffs each of the last two seasons as a wild card, but believed they were ready to move ahead of Super Bowl-champion Baltimore and Pittsburgh this year and claim the title.
They beat the Steelers 20-10 in the second week of the season, but came apart in Cleveland against the Browns (2-2), who prevented the Bengals’ offense from doing anything consistently.
It was the first time Cincinnati’s offense failed to score a touchdown since a 19-13 loss at Houston in the first round of the playoffs last season. Leon Hall returned an interception for Cincinnati’s only touchdown in that one.