8:00 PM ET, September 3, 2004
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- In a game they didn't want to play, the Miami Dolphins got two things they wanted -- a victory and a quick exit.Jay Fiedler threw for one touchdown and Sage Rosenfels threw for another in the Dolphins' 20-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Friday night.With Hurricane Frances headed toward Florida, the Miami players asked the NFL to cancel the game, but the league refused. Its only concession was to move the starting time up 30 minutes."I told our players that I was very pleased with everything we had going on," Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We should be back in South Florida, yet our guys are able to come here and focus on this football game. ... I thought we showed a lot of character coming up here and not just playing the game, but playing hard and playing really well."New Orleans nearly delayed the Dolphins' trip home, scoring a touchdown with 1:59 left, but the Saints missed the 2-point conversion, allowing Miami to get out of town quickly.Nine players did not make the trip with the Dolphins. Some were excused for medical reasons. At least one, wide receiver Chris Chambers, did not make the trip because he did not know about the flight being rescheduled for Friday.Wannstedt refused to identify the players who missed the trip without permission."There's one or two guys that I need to speak with," Wannstedt said. "And it will be dealt with. Once I decide if and what, I will deal with it in-house and that will be the end of it."When the original Thursday flight was canceled, players thought the trip was off. Team officials were unable to contact all the players Thursday night to inform them the team was flying out Friday, said Harvey Greene, Miami's senior vice president of media relations.Fiedler and A.J. Feeley did little to resolve the question of who will be the Dolphins' starting quarterback."We will zero in on the quarterback thing," Wannstedt said. "I know that is a big interest to everybody."Fiedler, the starter the past four seasons, went 2-of-2 for 14 yards and a touchdown, working only one series. He capped a 14-yard drive with an 8-yard pass to Marty Booker in the first quarter to put Miami up 7-0.Feeley completed 3-of-7 for 20 yards before giving way to Rosenfels early in the second quarter.On fourth-and-4 in the fourth quarter, Rosenfels found Bryan Gilmore for a 36-yard touchdown pass that put the Dolphins up 20-13 with 9:46 remaining.Rosenfels completed 10-of-17 for 148 yards and a touchdown."I just didn't get out there for a lot of action," Rosenfels said. "To be honest it was real tough to focus out there. Now we're catching a plane and getting out of here."The Miami players cleared out of the locker room quickly, hoping to get their flight off soon enough it could land at Ft. Lauderdale.New Orleans starting quarterback Aaron Brooks played sparingly in the preseason, missing two games and leaving another early because of a leg injury. Although coach Jim Haslett had wanted him to get some preseason work, Brooks ran only three plays Friday, handing the ball off three times.Running back Deuce McAllister lined up three times, but did not touch the ball. That was left to Ki-Jana Carter and Lamar Smith, who are fighting for the backup spot. Smith got most of the work, gaining 52 yards on 13 carries. Carter carried 11 times for 23 yards.Todd Bouman, the Saints' No. 2 quarterback, had a dismal outing. He went 7-of-15 for 73 yards. He threw an interception that set up the Dolphins' first score and was sacked five times.Saints wide receiver Michael Lewis looked ready for the season. He returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, tying the game at 7-all. Lewis also caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from J.T. O'Sullivan in the final minutes of the game that made it 20-19. On the 2-point attempt, O'Sullivan's pass was caught by Zach Hilton out of the end zone.O'Sullivan completed 7-of-10 for 94 yards and a touchdown in less than a quarter."The defense played well the whole game," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "The offense struggled all game with everything."
Miami opens the regular season at home against Tennessee; New Orleans is at home against Seattle ... Saints LB Roger Knight sustained a concussion and DE Tony Bryant dislocated his thumb.
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