NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Whether Drew Brees passed to diminutive running back Darren Sproles or to 6-foot-7 tight end Jimmy Graham, there wasn't much the previously unbeaten Miami Dolphins could do about it.
That's how it is when New Orleans' record-setting quarterback is running coach Sean Payton's wide-open offense to perfection. If it keeps up, there's no reason why the Saints can't go marching back into the postseason.
Brees wound up with his 10th-career 400-yard passing game, threw for four touchdowns, and the Saints rolled to a 38-17 victory on Monday night that improved them to 4-0 for the first time since the 2009 season that saw them win their only Super Bowl.
"He is at a really sharp level," Payton said of Brees. "He was outstanding."
Brees and the Saints look a lot more like they did under Payton from 2009-2011, three straight playoff seasons that preceded their head coach's 2012 suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty probe.
Payton grimaces when asked to compare his 2013 team to his playoff teams past. He says that is for the media to do while he focuses on getting his team ready for the next game.
Payton figures that approach will keep his team from losing its edge, and it's hard to argue with his results.
The Dolphins (3-1), meanwhile, have received a reality check and know they'll have a lot to correct before they host the Baltimore Ravens next weekend.
"It's going to be a challenge," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "We'll find out a lot about what kind of team we have by how we respond."
Here are five things we learned from the Saints' dominant display against the Dolphins:
POINTS APLENTY: In the first two weeks of the season, the Saints' offense had not hit its usual stride, accounting for only three touchdowns. In the last two weeks, New Orleans has put the rest of the league on notice that Payton's perennially prolific offense could wind up as good as ever. The Saints scored four TDs in a 31-7 rout of Arizona, followed by five touchdowns against Miami.