MIAMI – Drew Brees emerged from the locker room with a fresh cut under his chin and another between his eyebrows.
He made the Miami Dolphins look worse.
Brees and the unbeaten New Orleans Saints fell behind for the first time all season, then overcame a 21-point deficit Sunday to beat Miami 46-34.
The NFL’s highest-scoring team topped 40 points for the fourth time and outscored the Dolphins 22-0 in the fourth quarter.
“There was no doubt on our sideline we would come back and win,” said Brees, who threw for 298 yards. “They had given us their best shot, and we had played about as bad as we could play. All we had to do was string together a few drives and gain the momentum back. We knew it was going to happen, and it did.”
NFL passing leader Brees had his worst day of the season, with three interceptions, a lost fumble and five sacks. But he led touchdown drives of 82, 79 and 60 yards on successive possessions in the second half to put New Orleans ahead.
Tracy Porter’s 54-yard interception return then sealed the win for the Saints (6-0), who are off to their best start since 1991 and are the only unbeaten team in the NFC.
“It can be a season-defining win,” linebacker Scott Shanle said. “This was a test we hadn’t faced yet, and we couldn’t be happier with the way we responded.”
Brees threw for one touchdown and scored twice on the ground. After his 2-yard keeper with 8:35 left gave the Saints their first lead, he celebrated by dunking the ball over the crossbar.
“This was our game to win,” Miami’s Ricky Williams said. “We fought and we fought. They just fought harder at the end.”
Williams carried only nine times but tied a career high with three touchdowns rushing, including a 68-yard run, the longest of his career. At that point, the Dolphins appeared en route to a stunning blowout.
By the time the Saints picked up their second first down 22 minutes into the game, Miami led 24-3. “With Drew Brees, it’s like the score is 0-0,” Miami cornerback Vontae Davis said. “We knew they would come back and that it would be a tough game.”
Saints 46, Dolphins 34
Mia—Williams 4 run (Carpenter kick)
NO—FG Carney 46
Mia—Williams 68 run (Carpenter kick)
Mia—FG Carpenter 32
Mia—Brown 8 run (Carpenter kick)
NO—Brees 1 run (Carney kick)
NO—Sharper 42 int. return (Carney kick)
Mia—FG Carpenter 33
NO—Colston 10 pass from Brees (Crny kick)
Mia—Williams 4 run (Carpenter kick)
NO—Bush 10 run (Carney kick)
NO—Brees 2 run (kick failed)
NO—FG Carney 20
NO—Porter 54 int. return (pass failed)
|Total Net Yards||414||334|
|Time of Poss||33:02||26:58|
RUSHING—New Orleans, Bell 12-80, P.Thomas 8-30, Henderson 1-13, Bush 3-10, Brees 2-3, H.Evans 1-2. Miami, Williams 9-80, Brown 16-48, Polite 3-7, Ginn Jr. 1-5, White 1-(minus 3).
PASSING—New Orleans, Brees 22-38-3-298. Miami, Henne 18-36-2-211, Brown 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING—New Orleans, Colston 5-72, Shockey 4-105, Henderson 4-71, Bush 3-16, Moore 2-18, H.Evans 2-3, P.Thomas 1-14, D.Thomas 1-(minus 1). Miami, Camarillo 5-55, Hartline 3-94, Fasano 3-21, Bess 3-13, Ginn Jr. 2-16, Williams 2-12.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—New Orleans, Carney 49 (WL).
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