NFL: New Orleans Saints 20 Miami Dolphins 0
PUBLISHED: 08:06 02 October 2017
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Wembley Stadium hosted its second NFL game of 2017 and, for the second straight game, the 84,000-plus crowd was “treated” to a hugely disappointing contest as the New Orleans Saints beat the Miami Dolphins.
At least last week one team played exceptionally well, as the Jacksonville Jaguars did in their 44–7 shellacking of the Baltimore Ravens.
The Miami offence was frankly shocking, only once getting inside the New Orleans 20-yard line and converting only one of eight third-down plays.
They also committed 11 penalties, but the Saints were little better, being flagged eight times.
If Wil Lutz had not converted his second field goal attempt – having earlier missed from 41 yards – with the last play of the first half, this would have been the first NFL regular season game to go into half-time scoreless since December 2011.
Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was due to be the analyst (color commentator) for the game at Wembley until the Dolphins signed him to replace the injured Ryan Tannehill.
But he had the sort of afternoon that Windy City fans were all too used to, throwing an interception in the end zone and being tackled for four sacks.
Miami simply could not get their offence moving after taking the opening drive for 81 yards, before it ended with Kenny Crawley making the interception in the New Orleans endzone.
Six of the next seven possessions ended in punts as the running game was as ineffective as the Dolphins passing.
It was an unhappy return to London for Miami running back Jay Ajayi, who was born in north London, as he managed only 46 yards on 12 carries.
At least the New Orleans offence was effective and veteran quarterback Drew Brees threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
The first score was to Michael Thomas, a three-yard pass to the corner of the endzone midway through the third quarter.
And after Lutz had kicked a second field goal, from 34 yards, early in the fourth quarter, Brees threw a clever shovel pass to Melvin Kamara from 11 yards out to seal the victory.
The last two games of the London series are at the end of the month, with the Arizona Cardinals taking on the Los Angeles Rams on October 22 and Cleveland Browns meeting the Minnesota Vikings a week later.