By Aric DiLalla – Lead writer, DenverBroncos.com
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Broncos fell to 0-3 on Sunday as they suffered a 70-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s disappointing,” Head Coach Sean Payton said after the game. “I mean, I’m at a loss for words because I’ve never been in — I’ve been on the other side of some games like that, and every once in a while in this league you get your butt whooped, but this was more than that.”
Denver’s defense allowed a franchise-high 70 points in the loss to the Dolphins. Miami scored touchdowns on five of its six first-half drives, excluding a one-play drive to end the first half.
“Someone’s got to make a play and change that momentum,” inside linebacker Alex Singleton said, “and we weren’t able to do it.”
Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished the first half 16-of-16 for 206 yards, two touchdowns and a 158.3 quarterback rating.
“We knew we were playing a real good offense, but we’ve got to look closely at what we were doing and when someone runs the ball up and down the field like those guys did and throw it up and down the field, it’s not acceptable,” Payton said. “We’ve just got to get to the tape.”
The Dolphins had a pair of players in Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane score four touchdowns apiece, and Miami broke the 350-yard mark through the air and on the ground.
“We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror, myself included,” Kareem Jackson said. “Obviously we all have to buy in, we all have to be on the same page. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to get all 11 guys on the same page — right now, we’re not. The only thing we can do is evaluate the film, and we’ve got to have a great week of practice. We have to if we want get this thing going in the right direction, because right now, defensively, we’re a bad unit. And I’m a part of that. For us, defensively, we can’t worry about anything else. We’ve got to execute. Like I said, from the top guy to the last guy. Point blank, period.”
Offensively, the Broncos were unable to consistently score following a second-drive touchdown that cut the lead to 14-10. Denver’s lone points of the second half came via a Marvin Mims Jr. kick return.
“It’s on us to make sure this loss is just this week,” tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “No matter what the score was or no matter how bad this one feels, you can only lose one game a Sunday or you can only win one game a Sunday. And so we’ve got to make sure this stops here — or I guess tomorrow really would be the time it stops after you review what happened. You make sure that things like this don’t ever happen again.
“… This can’t be who we are. What’s happened the last two weeks just cannot be who we are. It’s up to us to fix it, and it starts with me. It starts with the rest of the captains. We’ve got to make sure that we turn this ship around and turn it around quick.”
Though the Broncos eventually suffered a significant defeat, several key first-half turning points impacted the outcome.
Denver appeared to cut Miami’s lead to 21-14 in the second quarter, but wide receiver Brandon Johnson was called for offensive pass interference to wipe out Courtland Sutton’s second touchdown of the afternoon.
“They called it back, unfortunately,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “I didn’t get to see it yet, but that was a big touchdown there, and that would’ve brought the game a little closer.”
On the ensuing possession, Denver’s defense got its first stop of the afternoon with a fourth-and-1 hold at Miami’s 34-yard line. The Broncos, with just under five minutes to play in the first half, had a chance to score a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-17. Instead, the Broncos lost yardage on the possession and were forced to punt.
“The defense did a good job making that stop,” Wilson said. “You know, I think we false started and kept backpedaling a little bit. So I think there are things to learn from that, too.”
Miami responded by driving down the field and scoring a touchdown to push the margin to 28-10. And, following an ensuing Sutton fumble, the Dolphins scored quickly to jump to a 35-10 advantage. In less than three minutes, the Broncos’ deficit jumped from potentially four points to 21.
Sutton later fumbled again in the second half, and Wilson was intercepted on a batted pass at the line of scrimmage. Denver was minus-3 in the turnover margin during the game.
“[I was] trying to do too much,” Sutton said. “Can’t put the ball on the ground. It’s unacceptable.”
After falling to 0-3, Payton said watching the tape will be “tough for a lot of players [and] tough for us, too, as coaches” — but the team will need to respond as it looks ahead to a Week 4 matchup in Chicago.
“Get off the mat and get ready for next week, right?” Payton said of the challenge for the Broncos. “That’s the No. 1 thing.”