'A record is always big' - Waddle nearing NFL history for surging Dolphins

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  • Miami Dolphins
    Miami Dolphins
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  • Jaylen Waddle
    Jaylen Waddle
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Jaylen Waddle knew he was nearing a significant NFL achievement after helping the surging Miami Dolphins to another victory.

The Dolphins saw off the New Orleans Saints 20-3 on Monday Night Football, improving to 8-7 with their seventh straight win.

Miami, who have rallied from 1-7, are the only team in NFL history to have a seven-game win and loss streak in the same season.

As his team push for a playoff spot amid a rollercoaster campaign, wide receiver Waddle is also nearing an NFL record individually.

He had 10 catches for 92 yards against the depleted Saints, both game highs, and had the only offensive touchdown.

With 96 receptions since being drafted at number six overall ahead of the 2021 season, Waddle sits just five away from Anquan Boldin's all-time rookie record of 101 set in 2003 with the Arizona Cardinals.

While team wins remain the focus for Waddle, he acknowledged the value of his exploits.

"I'm all for it as long as it comes with some wins," he said.

"It would obviously be pretty cool because the NFL is a special league so anything in this league to have a record in is always big.

"As far as importance, I wouldn't say it's like something I got my mind focused on."

On his one-yard TD catch on a flip pass from Tua Tagovailoa as he was motioning to the right, Waddle added: "I know it was like a weird play design, but it was smooth.

"Liked the play call, it was a great play call. Any time you score, it's hard to score in this league, so any time you score in this league, it's big."

Testing contests against the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots are up next for the Dolphins, who are the AFC's seventh seed as things stand.

Their defense was dominant against New Orleans, who were forced to hand fourth-stringer Ian Book his first career start in the absence of Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian.

Rookie Book was sacked eight times and threw a pick-six on his third NFL play as the Saints went 0-for-12 on third downs.

The former Notre Dame player became the first QB to be sacked 8+ times in his NFL debut since the Cincinnati Bengals' David Klingler in 1992 (10).

Coach Sean Payton insisted questions over whether the game should have been postponed due to 20 COVID-19 absences were not for him to answer.

"Our job is to really focus and prepare, get the players ready to go or else pretty soon your energy gets wasted," he said.

"Obviously we didn't do a good enough job. It was frustrating, and I'm sure it was frustrating to watch."

On Book, Payton added: "Impossible to evaluate - just keeping him upright was a challenge.

"He'll be frustrated like all of us with some plays. But certainly it's not going to define his growth or his career.

"It was kind of one of those perfect storms. It was just a tough spot for him to be in, and I think he's smart enough to understand that."

The Saints are 7-8 and must beat the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons in their final two games to realistically keep their playoff hopes alive.

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