Monday, September 30, 2013
Top things to know: Dolphins at Saints
By ESPN Stats & Information
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsThe Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints meet tonight on Monday Night Football (8:25 ET/ESPN). This will be the Dolphins' 79th appearance on Monday Night Football, the most all-time since the series began in 1970 (the Dallas Cowboys are next with 74 appearances). The Dolphins are 40-38 on Monday Night Football.
Sean Payton (left) and Drew Brees (right) look to start 4-0 for the 1st time since 2009.
Here are five stats Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden might touch on tonight during the telecast.
1. This is the first time that two teams will meet on Monday Night Football with records of 3-0 or better since Oct. 5, 1998, when the 4-0 Vikings defeated the 4-0 Packers, 37-24, at Lambeau Field, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Dolphins are looking to become the fifth franchise to have at least seven 4-0 starts since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, joining the Rams (nine), Vikings (eight), Colts (seven) and Cowboys (seven).
The Saints are looking to start 4-0 for the fourth time in franchise history and first since starting 13-0 in 2009 when they went on to win the Super Bowl.
2. Drew Brees has won eight straight starts on Monday Night Football, with 24 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Brees is 10-2 on Monday night since joining the Saints in 2006.
Ken Stabler (11 from 1975-80), Steve Young (10 from 1995-99) and Joe Montana (nine from 1988-94) are the only starting quarterbacks with longer win streaks on Monday Night Football.
3. The Saints' defense has made remarkable strides under new coordinator Rob Ryan. They rank fourth this season with 295.7 yards allowed per game after allowing a league-record 7,042 yards (440.1 per game) in 2012.
In addition, the defense has surrendered 17 points or fewer in all three games after allowing just over 28 points per game in 2012.
4. The Dolphins will be without pass rusher Cameron Wake, who's expected to miss two to three weeks with a sprained left MCL. Since the start of 2010, Wake has 40 sacks, third in the NFL behind DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen.
As a team, Miami has sacked or put the opposing quarterback under duress on 35 percent of dropbacks this season, the best mark in the league.
5. Jimmy Graham caught nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, combined with his 179-yard performance in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Graham has recorded the highest yardage total (313) by a tight end in two consecutive games since 1996, when Shannon Sharpe posted games of 153 and 161 yards for the Denver Broncos (314 total).