Saints shut out Jay Cutler, Dolphins in London

Dorenbos has appeared in 201 games over a 14-year career that is entering its 15th in 2017. He was anything but a disappearing act, missing just three games in the last 10 seasons (all in 2016). The veteran will compete with long snapper Justin Drescher, who signed with the Saints just over three weeks ago as New Orleans has struggled to find consistency at the position.

We don’t have much else to offer for a long snapper, but there is this about Dorenbos: He’s an accomplished magician. He’ll also be missed in Philadelphia, according to Eagles brass.

The former Clemson star was no longer a fit for the Saints, who overhauled their linebacking unit this offseason. In Miami, though, he’ll certainly earn playing time following the indefinite suspension of linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

Anthony gives the Dolphins a speedy linebacker with the physical skills to cover pass-catchers in space. That said, his star faded quickly in New Orleans. A fresh start should help.

Michael Thomas is pushing his way up the receiver ranking. Drew Brees’ go-to target was unstoppable Sunday, catching 8 of 11 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. Thomas wins off the line of scrimmage, giving Brees easy pitches on slants. The wideout runs crisp routes, which gets him open against zones or man coverage. Thomas’ run-after-catch is sublime, evidenced by a third-quarter weaving first down on a third-and-11 play in which he caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage. The Dolphins started rookie corner Cordrea Tankersley with Byron Maxwell (hamstring) inactive. Thomas picked on the rookie early, but no Miami DB was stopping him Sunday.

The same ol’ Jay Cutler showed up in London. The Dolphins’ quarterback threw an opening drive interception in the red zone after Miami had chewed up 8:23 off the clock driving 81 yards to the 4-yard-line. A sleepy Cutler took sacks, held the ball too long at times, fumbled, chucked off-target heaves and played with no urgency. Basically, close your eyes and picture every Cutler poor start you can remember during his Bears career and you pretty much have it. If coach Adam Gase was furious with his offense last week, his head might explode after getting shut out in London and scoring a measly six garbage-time points the past two games. The head coach said changes could come this week, but we saw no significant ones. Perhaps it’s time for Gase to bench Cutler and take Matt Moore for a spin, but he dismissed the notion after the game.

Adrian Peterson Watch continues. The unnerved veteran saw nine, 15 and 14 snaps in his first three games with the Saints, while incumbent starter Mark Ingram and flexible rookie Alvin Kamara both saw more. Peterson looks to be the odd man out in the Bayou and could potentially be trade bait if things don’t pan out. Taken off the injury report on Friday, Peterson will likely get looks against the Dolphins’ top-five rush defense. How many remains the weekly question.

South Beach Globetrotters: Are the Dolphins travel-weary? After Hurricane Irma forced the postponement of their Week 1 test, Miami jetted off to Los Angeles for a week ahead of their opener against the Chargers, only to cross the country back to South Florida for practice, up the coast to lose to the Jets, back to the 305, and then across the world’s second-largest ocean to play the Saints. That’s around 11,300 air miles traveled in less than four weeks (#math), without playing a single home game. You have to wonder if fatigue has already set it in on this team, not even a fourth of the way into the campaign.

Then their season turned, seemingly on a dime. The Saints have rattled off four straight victories, including a road blowout of division rival Carolina, and three wins against teams that each made the playoffs last season (Miami, Detroit, Green Bay). Yes, they dodged a bullet not facing Rodgers, but taking advantage of golden opportunities is an often-overlooked skill.

New Orleans sits a half game up in the NFC South with home tilts versus the Bears and Bucs on deck. In what looked to be one of the toughest divisions heading into the season, few had the Saints sitting atop the standings, especially after starting 0-2.

Surprisingly, it’s the defense that has led the way with Cameron Jordan playing at an All-Pro level and rookie corner Marshon Lattimore locking down receivers on the outside. Since Week 3, the New Orleans’ defense ranks second in the NFL in passer rating allowed, second in yards per play, fourth in yards per game allowed (273.7), sixth in points per game allowed (17.0) and seventh in passing yards per game allowed (188.3).

Despite the accolades his team is receiving during the winning streak, coach Sean Payton pumped the breaks, rattling off his list of areas the Saints need to improve heading into Sunday’s game versus the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.