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Dolphins hope return to Miami will help end losing streak

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

By ZAC BOYER

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) After three weeks and 16,790 miles, the Miami Dolphins are finally looking forward to a home game.

Displaced from their scheduled Week 1 home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of Hurricane Irma, the Dolphins - technically the home team for Sunday's 20-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints - will welcome an opponent for the first time when they face the Tennessee Titans in Miami.

"It's been a long three weeks," left tackle Laremy Tunsil said.

With a Week 2 game at the Los Angeles Chargers on the schedule, the Dolphins (1-2) made the decision to evacuate before the hurricane hit Florida and head to the Dallas Cowboys' training camp home in Oxnard, California.

They returned home for a week of practice before hitting the road to face the New York Jets, then were back in Miami - briefly - before embarking for Great Britain on Thursday night.

All told, the round trip miles the Dolphins have already traveled are more than 14 teams will travel the entire season.

The true home opener will also be their latest since 1987, when they played their first home game on Oct. 11 because a players' strike led to the cancellation of their scheduled Week 3 unveiling of what was then known as Joe Robbie Stadium.

Miami had just 186 yards of total offense on Sunday, their fewest since their previous shutout - a 19-0 loss at the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 22, 2013.

Could a sense of routine help out the Dolphins, who have scored just once - a touchdown on the last play of the 20-6 loss to the Jets - in their past eight quarters?

"Regardless of whatever the routine has been, it shouldn't matter," running back Jay Ajayi said. "We have zero points on the board. Wherever we're playing, whoever we're playing, we still need to put points on the board."

Coach Adam Gase pointed out that last season, the Dolphins started 1-4, yet managed to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

"It's not time to panic," Gase said. "We've been in way worse than this. We just want to figure out what's going on and then fix the problem. That's really the only thing we're concerned about."

Here are some more things we learned in the Saints' 20-0 victory over the Dolphins:

RUNNING BACK ROTATION: Rookie Alvin Kamara's role as a playmaker for the Saints (2-2) only figures to increase after he finished Sunday with a touchdown and 119 all-purpose yards (71 receiving, 25 rushing, 23 returning).

Mark Ingram had 45 yards on 14 carries, and Adrian Peterson, the three-time rushing leader in his first year in New Orleans, had four carries for 4 yards.

Although coach Sean Payton praised Kamara as an "explosive player," he also said the team has yet to find a way how to incorporate him.

"Whenever any of our numbers are called, we know what the standard is," Kamara said. "The standard was set by Mark and A.P. They push me. We all push each other. Whenever my number is called, I just execute to the best of my abilities."

CAPABLE CRAWLEY: Cornerback Ken Crawley had another fine performance in his second consecutive start and it may be hard for the Saints coaches to take him off the field.

An undrafted free agent out of Colorado in 2016, Crawley started after P.J. Williams was disciplined for an unspecified violation of team rules and intercepted Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler to end the first drive of the game. He started the week before in place of Marshon Lattimore, who was recovering from a concussion.

"P.J. is the starter," Crawley said, noting that he was informed of the change of plans on Saturday. "I just came in and did my job."

O-LINE LIMBO: Saints right tackle Zach Strief left the game after sustaining a knee injury on the first play of the fourth quarter when a Dolphins defender fell on his legs. He did not return.

Strief was already recovering from a knee injury - it is unclear if he aggravated the existing ailment - and his absence forced the Saints to shuffle their offensive line, with Andrus Peat moving to left tackle, Ryan Ramczyk moving to right tackle and Senio Kelemete entering at left guard.

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Updated October 1, 2017

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