BRONCOS LOOK TO WIN THEIR 6TH STRAIGHT GAME AFTER THE BYE
Aiming for a victory after their bye week for the sixth year in a row, the Denver Broncos (4-3) return to action on Sunday at INVESCO Field at Mile High when they face the Miami Dolphins (3-4). Kickoff is set for 2:05 p.m. MST.
Denver entered its bye week with a winning record for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The club stands in first place in the AFC West over San Diego, which owns a 3-5 record and has this week off after a 37-32 loss to New Orleans in London.
Led by first-year Head Coach Tony Sparano, the Dolphins visit Denver after forcing four turnovers and scoring 18 unanswered points to earn a 25-16 win at home against Buffalo on Sunday. This week's game marks the Broncos' third consecutive home contest against a team from the state of Florida with the club having hosted Tampa Bay and Jacksonville in consecutive games in Weeks 5 and 6.
The Broncos have been one of the NFL's strongest teams after the bye week since it was introduced by the NFL in 1990. Their 15-4 (.789) record after the bye is the best by an AFC squad (T-2nd in NFL) with that mark including an 11-2 (.846) home record.
Denver, which is one victory away from 400 all-time wins (regular season and postseason), has won seven of its last eight games played after the bye week since 2000. Its five-game winning streak after the bye marks the third-longest active streak in the league.
Sunday's game features the only two rookies in the NFL to start each of their team's games at left tackle in Denver's Ryan Clady (12th overall, Boise State) and Miami's Jake Long (1st overall, Michigan). Clady, who has yet to give up a sack and has been penalized just twice, has helped the Broncos' offense rank second in the league in yards per game (381.9) while posting an AFC-best 4.6 yards per rush.
Defensively, the Broncos have totaled 11 sacks in their last three games. That mark ties for the most by any NFL team in its previous three contests and includes three from defensive end Elvis Dumervil, a native of Miami.
On special teams, kicker Matt Prater is tied for the NFL lead in 50+yard field goals (4-4). The Estero High School (Estero, Fla.) and Central Florida product has made 13-of-14 (.929) field goal attempts this year
PREVIOUS 5 MATCHUPS
at MIAMI 34, DENVER 10 (Sept. 11, 2005)
The Denver Broncos open the 2005 season with a 34-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Dolphin Stadium, snapping Denver's four-game winning streak in season openers... Broncos WR Rod Smith posts seven catches for 90 yards, and FB Kyle Johnson scores Denver's lone touchdown on a 2-yard pass from QB Jake Plummer. Plummer finishes the game completing 22-of-48 (45.8%) passes for 251 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions... The Broncos finish the first quarter with no passing yards, marking the first time they were held without aerial yardage in a quarter since Sept. 6, 1992... Playing in his sixth season opener, Denver CB Champ Bailey intercepts a pass for the fifth time... Miami DE Jason Taylor recovers a fumble on his sack of Plummer and returns the takeaway 85 yards for a touchdown... Miami's win is the first professional win of Nick Saban's coaching career.
at DENVER 20, MIAMI 17 (Dec. 12, 2004)
Broncos rookie RB Tatum Bell reaches the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career with 123 yards with two touchdowns on 17 carries (7.2 avg.)... Denver K Jason Elam hits a 50-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter that marked his 17th career game-winning or game-saving field goal... Rookie Broncos LB D.J. Williams totals 11 tackles (8 solo).
MIAMI 24, at DENVER 22 (Oct. 13, 2002)
Denver K Jason Elam hits two 50+ yard field goals (52, 55) and ties a career high with five field goals on Sunday Night Football...The loss drops Denver's record to 4-2... Broncos QB Brian Griese throws for 335 yards to tie a franchise record with three consecutive 300-yard games while Denver WRs Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey each eclipse the 500-career reception mark.
at MIAMI 21, DENVER 10 (Dec. 2, 2001)
Denver races to a 10-0 lead midway through the third quarter but Miami scores 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to earn the victory... Dolphins DE Kenny Mixon intercepts Denver QB Brian Griese in the fourth quarter and returns the turnover 56 yards for what proved to be the game-winning score.
MIAMI 38, at DENVER 21 (Sept. 13, 1999)
Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey posts a single-game franchise-record tying three touchdown receptions, including a 61-yard score, while recording a game-high 105 yards receiving ... The season opener is played on Monday Night Football and marked the beginning of Denver's defense of its back-to-back Super Bowl titles...Both Miami QB Dan Marino and Denver QB Brian Griese record passer ratings above 100.