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Saints shut out Dolphins in penalty-filled mess in London

Michael Thomas, Cordrea Tankersley

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, left, scores a touchdown against Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley during the second half of an NFL football game at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Oct. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

AP

Today’s game in London was not the NFL putting its best foot forward for the U.K. fan base.

The Saints beat the Dolphins 20-0 in an ugly, penalty-filled game that featured Ed Hochuli more prominently than any of the players on either team. The game was a mess of mistakes on both sides.

For the Dolphins, the season to date has been a disaster. First they were forced out of Miami by Hurricane Irma, then they traveled to Los Angeles, to New York and on to London. Those travel issues have to wear a team down.

But there are other issues, starting with the quarterback. Jay Cutler, signed in a desperate attempt to keep the season alive after the loss of Ryan Tannehill, played his second consecutive lousy game. It’s fair to ask whether Cutler is really any better than Matt Moore. If he’s not, the Dolphins made a big mistake in signing him.

As for the Saints, their defense has now stepped up and played well two weeks in a row after looking like the worst defense in the NFL in the first two games of the season. If the Saints’ defense can be decent this year, their offense should be enough to win a lot of games, and perhaps contend for the playoffs. At 2-2, the Saints are right in the thick of things.

But the 1-2 Dolphins have a lot of work to do. They’ve been a mess two weeks in a row.