The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

October 1, 2013

Five things to know about Saints' defeat of Dolphins

(Continued)

"You feel like you are operating at a high level and that anything that you call is going to work," Brees said.

SAD SACKS: How well Miami would be able to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill was a concern in the preseason — and still is. The Saints sacked Tannehill four times, after which outside linebacker Junior Galette boasted about how New Orleans "abused" Miami's offensive line. Tannehill has been sacked 18 times in the first four games.

"It's a big concern," Philbin said. "That's four-and-a-half a game. That is too many."

CONSISTENT STOPS: The Saints' new defense under first-year coordinator Rob Ryan has made it through four games now without a dramatic dip in performance. So far, the results represent a dramatic turnaround for a unit that ranked last in the league in 2012. With its defense now coming up with timely sacks and turnovers, the Saints have yet to allow an opponent to reach 20 points this season.

"I love playing for that man," cornerback Jabari Greer, who intercepted Tannehill, said of Ryan. "The way he embodies a child-like enthusiasm and he gives that to the players, man, we honestly feel as if we're playing a game ... It's fun."

RUNNING BETTER: There might be hope for the Dolphins anemic running game, which averaged only 70.3 yards over the first three weeks, but looked better early on in New Orleans. Miami had nearly 60-yards rushing on its opening drive alone. Lamar Miller finished with 62 yards rushing, including a 5-yard TD, and the Dolphins gained 115 yards on the ground despite turning more to the pass as they fell further behind.

"We were having a lot of success with the running game early and it definitely hurt us not being able to continue using the running game as the game went on," Tannehill said. "The offensive line did a great job and the wide receivers made the blocks early in the game and we were really moving the football."

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