- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Dolphins were handed their first loss of the season and fell to 3-1. Miami simply was not ready for the big stage of "Monday Night Football" and the rowdy crowd in the Superdome. Miami needed to play a near-perfect game to beat the undefeated Saints (4-0) and was not close to reaching that goal. However, the Dolphins were playing with house money after their perfect start. The biggest key for the Dolphins is getting over the embarrassment and disappointment and avoiding a losing streak.
Stock watch: The Dolphins did a couple of things well. The defensive line was strong against the run. Miami held the Saints to 69 rushing yards, and defensive tackle Jared Odrick played well. Miami’s running game also improved, although the team didn’t use it much in the second half after falling behind.
There is a lot more on the downside. This was, by far, Miami’s sloppiest performance of the season. The Dolphins’ attention to detail was not there. Miami had poor ball security and pass protection and too many blown coverages and missed assignments on defense. That usually leads to a blowout on the road, especially against a good team like New Orleans.
Tannehill’s troubles: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was stellar in his first three games but finally fell on hard times in front of a rowdy crowd in New Orleans. Tannehill had four turnovers. The first turnover was a careless fumble when he didn’t protect the ball while fighting for extra yards. The last three turnovers were interceptions thrown into coverage. Games like this provide a good lesson for a young quarterback.
What’s next: The big games do not stop for Miami. Coming off a short week of preparation, the Dolphins will host the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Miami is 1-0 at home this year. The Dolphins had a brutal schedule to start the season but still have a chance to finish with a 4-1 record before the bye week.