Fiedler picked off three times as Saints stomp Dolphins 24-7Posted: Thursday August 15, 2002 10:29 PM
Updated: Thursday August 15, 2002 10:30 PM
MIAMI (AP) -- Maybe the New Orleans Saints won't miss Ricky Williams after all.
Deuce McAllister had 70 total yards as the Saints beat the Miami Dolphins 24-7 Thursday night and held Williams to 17 yards rushing in his first game against his former team.
McAllister ran 11 times for 42 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards -- all in the first half -- and helped New Orleans build a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Saints also got plenty of assistance from the mistake-prone Dolphins.
Jay Fiedler threw three first-half interceptions, and Miami had a special teams breakdown for the second time in as many preseason games. The Dolphins also were flagged eight times for 54 yards in the first half.
Fiedler, who missed much of training camp following hip surgery, regressed in his second start in a four-day span. Fiedler was 4-of-6 passing for 36 yards in a loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night.
He was 8-of-19 for 83 yards against the Saints. Although he was under heavy pressure for much of the half, Fiedler was off target on many passes. He played six series on a night when he was supposed to go 20 plays, staying in the game to try to work through his mistakes.
Midway through the first quarter, Fiedler tried to find Dedric Ward on an out route, but Fred Thomas jumped in front of the pass for his first of two interceptions. The second one came on Miami's next possession, when Thomas picked off a pass Fiedler threw behind Oronde Gadsden.
The Dolphins' next drive ended even worse, with Fred McAfee coming unblocked up the middle and blocking Mark Royals' punt. Sammy Knight picked it up and ran 38 yards for a touchdown that made it 10-0. The Buccaneers returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown Monday.
Fiedler's third interception came on the ensuing possession. Sedrick Hodge made a sliding grab on a low throw intended for Gadsden.
Four Miami possessions that ended with four bad plays helped New Orleans jump out to a 17-0 lead.
"There's no way you can expect to win turning the ball over four times, and one of them for a touchdown," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "It's obvious that Jay needs a lot of work. He's behind, and we're fortunate that we have three weeks before we play to get that done."
The fans were equally upset.
They booed Fiedler when he returned to the huddle to start another drive. Then they cheered when backup Ray Lucas started warming up on the sideline, became even more boisterous when he entered the game and were their loudest when he threw a 24-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Randy McMichael on the final play of the first half. McMichael jumped over two defenders at the goal line and scored as time expired.
It was Miami's lone highlight.
Williams, traded from New Orleans to Miami in March, was ineffective for the second consecutive game. The former Heisman Trophy winner carried eight times for a 2.1-yard-per-carry average against the Saints. He ran five times for 9 yards against the Bucs.
His replacement in New Orleans was much better.
Running mostly behind the right side of the Saints' line, McAllister ran eight times for 34 yards in the first quarter. He managed 3 or 4 yards on just about every run, breaking off a 10-yarder once and never getting stuffed for a loss.
Brooks had a solid night, too. Teaming with McAllister to play the entire first half, Brooks was 7-of-13 passing for 80 yards and ran three times for 11 yards.
Notes: Fiedler got hit hard on four consecutive plays during his final series. ... Dolphins LB Zach Thomas did not play because of a
fever. ... Dolphins DT Tim Bowens left the game with a right great
toe injury. ... Saints LB Curtis Holden did not return after
spraining his left knee. ... Dolphins FS Trent Gamble left the game
with a bruised right thigh.