NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jake Rudock passed for 229 yards and one touchdown, and the Miami Dolphins defeated the New Orleans Saints 16-13 on Thursday night to close out the preseason for both clubs.
Emmanuel Butler caught a 12-yard touchdown pass for New Orleans, demonstrating why Saints coaches appear to be preparing the 6-foot-4 undrafted rookie out of Northern Arizona for a regular role in the passing game. Butler's score came on a pass down the right side from backup Teddy Bridgewater, who started the game while 40-year-old record-setting quarterback Drew Brees rested.
Veteran running back Jacquizz Rodgers, signed after training camp started, scored a touchdown to highlight his 33 yards on seven carries. He also caught a pass for 9 yards in his effort to latch on as a reserve behind Alvin Kamara.
The Dolphins announced after the game that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1.
Miami coach Brian Flores kept Rudock in the whole game, and the third-stringer responded by completing 22 of 29 passes without a turnover. He led Miami on four scoring drives, three of which concluded with field goals by Jason Sanders.
Tight end Chris Myarick, an undrafted free agent out of Temple, made six catches for 78 yards, including a 30-yard grab down the middle. That set up short TD pass from Rudock to Reese Horn, a 26-year-old former AAF player whose only other NFL experience came in the 2016 preseason with Tennessee, which had signed him as an undrafted rookie out of Division II Indianapolis.
Bridgewater played in only the first half, completing 9 of 13 passes for 83 yards, including a 43-yard strike deep down the middle of the field to undrafted rookie Lil'Jordan Humphrey.
Taysom Hill was 13 of 17 for 100 yards and rushed for 35 yards, leading one TD drive and moving the Saints within range of a tying field goal in the final minute.
Apparently wishing to avoid overtime, Saints coach Sean Payton kept the offense on the field on fourth down, and Hill's final pass, intended for former LSU receiver Travin Dural in the back of the end zone, was batted down by safety Maurice Smith.