(Reuters) - Drew Brees led the undefeated Saints to a crushing 38-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday as New Orleans continue to put last year’s nightmare season well behind them.
Brees completed 30-of-39 attempts for 413 yards passing and tossed four touchdown passes as the Saints dominated a match-up between previously unbeaten teams, improving to 4-0 while dropping the visiting Dolphins to 3-1.
New Orleans’ start to the 2013 campaign is a far cry from a year ago when they lost their first four games while coach Sean Payton served a year suspension for involvement in a bounty program, eventually missing the playoffs with a 7-9 record.
”We like this a lot better,“ Brees told reporters, of their resurgence. ”Everything that could have gone wrong for us went wrong (last season).
“Fortunately, we’re having the ball bounce our way this year. We’re playing good football.”
Restored to full strength, New Orleans have looked a different proposition and jumped 7-0 ahead of Miami on their first drive of the game and never took their foot off the gas.
Darren Sproles scored on a five-yard run on the initial possession and added a 13-yard receiving TD at the end of the second quarter to give the Saints a 21-10 halftime lead.
Sproles finished with seven catches for 114 yards.
Tight end Jimmy Graham also had a big day to continue his great start to the season.
The big target caught 100 receiving yards and two TD passes, the second coming midway through the third quarter on a 43-yard bomb that put New Orleans 35-10 in front.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill added a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter but finished with three interceptions and one lost fumble.
“They were huge,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of the turnovers. “We were hanging around. It was a big giveaway.”
Lamar Miller rushed for 62 yards and a first-half score for Miami, but did not see the ball in the second with his team playing catch up.
The Dolphins entered the game with their first 3-0 start since 2002 but drop one game behind New England (4-0) for the AFC East lead as a result of the loss.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien