As each week passes by the Denver Broncos dig themselves closer and closer to rock bottom. On Sunday afternoon in Miami, Denver was flat out embarrassed in every phase of the game in a 35-9 loss. The eighth straight defeat came to a Dolphin team that had lost its previous five games. It was another tale in a season Broncos’ fans can’t wait to forget.
“It was a back and forth game for about a quarter and in the second quarter we gave up 14 points in four seconds,” explained Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph.
The two scores came first via a pair of former Broncos as Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler found tight end Julius Thomas for the game’s first touchdown. On the first play of the following drive, Dolphins’ cornerback Xavien Howard stepped in front of a Trevor Siemian pass for an easy six points the other way. The interception was the first of three that Siemian would go on to throw and brought his season total to 14 inceptions in his eight starts.
“It’s been hard you know to find a guy (quarterback) to operate efficiently for us so we can win a football game,” noted Joseph. “We’ll watch the film and see who’s the best option for us next week.”
Despite the change in offensive coordinator a week ago and quarterback for the third time, the offense continues to not show even a single breath of life. The Denver offense was an abysmal 1/13 on third down. Until the final minute of the third quarter, neither wide receiver Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders had a catch.
The Broncos’ defense forced their fair share of turnovers as they picked off Cutler twice including a Chris Harris Jr. interception along with a Justin Simmons 65 yard interception return to the house for Denver’s only touchdown of the afternoon. Bradley Roby also forced a fumble.
“We have to play damn near perfect to win a game,” said Harris speaking for the secondary.
While the secondary made a few timely plays, Denver’s once stout run defense was exposed without the likes of defensive lineman Domata Peko and Derek Wolfe. Dolphins’ running back Kenyan Drake had a career day and carried the ball 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown including a 42-yard dash past three Broncos’ defenders.
“The defense isn’t playing good enough to win,” noted Von Miller. “I’m not playing good enough to win. The whole team- this one’s on all of us.”
Quarterback play is just one piece of the dysfunctional puzzle that portrays the Denver Broncos. Denver lacks discipline. Blatant special team’s miscues continue to arise. The Broncos saw a punt blocked for the second time in a month. Punt returner Isaiah McKenzie also nearly lost his sixth fumble of the season after fielding a punt inside the five yard-line. Then back tracking to his own end zone, he muffed the ball only to recover it for the Broncos’ second safety of the afternoon.
The team also received a delay of game penalty on an onside kick attempt. This moment served as yet another explanation point and culmination of an utterly distasteful and wasted season for Denver.
For the third time in five weeks, the Broncos watched as the opposing team trotted out their back-up quarterback for some late game mop up duty. There’s no doubt that there will be major changes made in the off-season. In a mess he helped create, will John Elway admit his shortcomings and begin to clean house, and will the changes include his first-year head coach? For now if tanking is the goal, the Broncos are well on their way.