The New Orleans Saints aren't in the excuse-making business. As defensive end Marcus Davenport succinctly reiterated for the umpteenth time this season, opposing teams do not care what New Orleans is going through.
So a 20-3 loss to Miami on Monday night in the Caesars Superdome simply was a game in which the Saints (7-8) came up short while seeing their two-game winning streak end.
In terms of players, the scoreboard was a telling sign of who might have, and likely did, stand out against the Dolphins.
OFFENSE: Really, when an offense produces three points and 164 yards, is unsuccessful on all 12 third down attempts, commits two turnovers (including an interception returned for a touchdown), allows eight sacks and runs for 83 yards on 23 carries, there simply isn't a player or unit who can be singled out for standout play. It was that kind of night for New Orleans and rookie quarterback Ian Book, who threw his pick-six on the third offensive play and couldn't direct the offense into the end zone.
DEFENSE: Defensive ends Cam Jordan and Davenport have been wreakers of havoc the last two games, near-perfect complements to one another. Jordan picked up two sacks against Miami (Jacoby Brissett and Tua Tagovailoa became the 39th and 40th quarterbacks he has sacked in his NFL career, which now has reached 102.5 sacks in 11 seasons) and Davenport had one and a forced fumble that nearly was recovered by New Orleans. The two also combined for four quarterback hits and 11 tackles. Having them both on the field was excellent news for a Saints defense that was missing linebackers Demario Davis, Kwon Alexander and Kaden Elliss and safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jordan now has a team-high eight sacks, and Davenport has a career-high 7.5.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Rookie receiver Kawaan Baker hasn't had much to reflect on during a year in which he hadn't been active for game day until Monday night. But with New Orleans missing Pro Bowl gunner J.T. Gray, Baker gave a spot-on impersonation while making the first tackle of his NFL career on a punt return, a one-yard loss on a punt return in the first quarter. That role might be his way to the gameday roster in the future.