This game against the Miami Dolphins was one for the record books. No, I'm not talking about the fact that it featured two teams who were not able to convert a single third down in the entire first half. Now, to be fair, there WERE two third downs that resulted in a first down, but both of those first downs came via penalties: (1)Miami got a first down on 3-5-DEN20 to open the 2nd quarter when Ryan McBean jumped offsides. (2)Denver got a first down on 3-10-DEN10 when Yeremiah Bell was flagged for roughing the passer.
Nor am I talking about the fact that this game featured a dramatic fourth quarter, Tim Tebow-led comeback in which the Broncos scored with 2:52 left in the game to cut Miami's lead to eight, recovered an onside kick then scored again with twenty-five seconds left to cut the lead to two points, successfully made a two-point conversion to tie the game and then went on to win the game in overtime.
No, what I'm talking about is the fact that this game represents the very first time in Broncos' and Dolphins' history that Denver has defeated Miami in Miami. Take a jump with me and look back at the eight games Denver has played on the Dolphins' home turf.
The very first game between the Broncos and the Dolphins occurred on December 4, 1966. This was the year that the Dolphins came into existence as an NFL franchise. It was their fifth game ever. Denver took a 1-4-0 record to Miami to face an 0-5-0 expansion team. The Broncos quickly fell behind 0-10 but were able to close the score to 7-10 in the first quarter. After holding the Dolphins scoreless in the second quarter, Denver gave up touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to lose 10-24.
Denver was led by quarterback John McCormick who completed 9 out of 25 passes for 90 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass but did throw 4 interceptions. Miami quarterback George Wilson completed 9 out of 18 passes for 176 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Denver running back Abner Haynes was the leading rusher with 38 yards. Dolphin wide receiver John Roderick was the leading receiver with 64 yards. Miami sacked McCormick 5 times while Denver only got to Wilson 3 times. The Broncos turned the ball over 6 times in the game, compared to Miami's 3 turnovers.
Denver traveled to Miami with a 1-1-0 record to face the Dolphins who were playing their first game of the 1967 season. The Broncos fell behind by 14 points at the half before closing the score to 7-14 and later 14-21 in the third quarter. They tied the game at 21 in the fourth quarter but gave up 14 unanswered points to close out the game.
Broncos quarterback Steve Tensi completed 6 out of 20 passes for 55 yards and 2 interceptions. Miami's rookie quarterback Bob Griese completed 12 out of 19 passes for 193 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The leading rusher for the game was Dolphin running back Abner Haynes with 151 yards and 2 touchdowns. Miami wide receiver Joe Auer led all receivers with 113 yards and 1 touchdown. Tensi was sacked 3 times in the game while the Broncos only reached Griese 1 time. Denver won the turnover battle with only 2 turnovers, compared the Miami's 3.
The Broncos entered the Orange Bowl sporting a 4-7-1 record. Miami was worse at 2-9-1. Denver jumped out to a 7-0 lead before falling behind to eventually trail 7-17 in the third quarter. The Broncos tied the game at 17 in the third but fell behind by 10 (17-27) in the fourth before a final touchdown narrowed the score to 24-27.
Denver quarterback Steve Tensi played better in this game, completing 13 out of 31 passes for 183 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Dolphin quarterback Rick Norton comleted 14 out of 27 passes for 123 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The leading rusher was Miami running back Jim Kiick with 71 yards and 1 touchdown. Wide receiver John Embree of the Broncos was the leading receiver with 63 yards and 1 touchdown. Miami only managed 1 sack of Tensi while Denver sacked Norton 4 times. Denver turned the ball over 4 times, Miami only turned it over 3.
This was a heart-breaking game in which the 6-7-0 Broncos looked like they might upset the 9-4-0 Dolphins. Denver jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half and went on to lead 13-7 in the fourth quarter before the Dolphins scored the winning touchdown. Sadly, Denver's only touchdown in the game came on a fumble return by Riley Odoms.
Broncos quarterback Steve Ramsey completed 19 out of 27 passes for 235 yards. Miami quarterback Earl Morrall completed 6 out of 11 passes for 88 yards and 1 touchdown. Dolphins quarterback added 4 out of 6 passes for 20 yards. Denver's Jon Keyworth was the leading rusher with 71 yards and Broncos tight end Riley Odoms was the leading receiver with 56 yards. Ramsey was sacked four times in the game while the Broncos sacked the Miami quarterback but once. Denver did not turn the ball over. Miami turned it over once.
This year, the Broncos took a 13-1-0 record into Miami to face a 9-5-0 Dolphins team. Denver jumped out to a 10-0 lead, then led 13-7 by half. However, Miami ran off three unanswered touchdowns to make the score 28-13 in the fourth. The Broncos were able to close the gap to 21-28 before finally losing 21-31.
Denver quarterback John Elway completed 13 out of 36 passes for 151 yards and 2 interceptions. Fellow class of 1983 quarterback Dan Marion completed 23 out of 38 passes for 355 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Elway was the leading rusher in the game with 39 yards. Miami wide receiver Lamar Thomas was the leading receiver with 136 yards and 3 touchdowns. Elway was sacked twice and the Broncos never got to Marino. Both teams turned the ball over twice.
The Broncos went to Miami with a 6-5-0 record. The Dolphins entered the game at 7-3-0. Once again, Denver jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and carried that lead into the fourth quarter before giving up three touchdowns: one by passing, one by an interception return and one by a running play.
Brian Griese was the Broncos quarterback. He completed 18 out of 33 passes for 135 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler completed 18 out of 28 passes for 176 yards with 1 touchdown. Denver running back Terrell Davis led all rushers with 97 yards. Miami wide receiver James McKnight lead all receivers with 56 yards. Griese was sacked one time, Fiedler was not sacked. Denver committed 2 turnovers to Miami's 1.
This was the season opener for both teams. Denver trailed 3-6 at the half, then fell behind 3-20 by the fourth quarter. The Broncos were able to close the gap to 10-20 before the Dolphins added two final touchdowns.
Denver quarterback Jake Plummer completed 22 out of 48 passes for 251 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Miami quarterback Gus Frerotte completed 24 out of 36 passes for 275 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Miami wide receiver Chris Chambers led all rushers with 61 yards (that all came on a single play) and teammate Marty Booker led all receivers with 104 yards and a touchdown. Plummer was sacked 1 time. Frerotte was not sacked. Both teams turned the ball over 3 times.
The Broncos came off a bye week to carry a 1-4-0 record into Miami to face the 0-5-0 Dolphins. Denver fell behind 0-15 going into the fourth quarter before running off fifteen unanswered points to force an overtime period. The Broncos defense denied the Miami offense twice in the overtime period to set up Matt Prater's game-winning field goal.
Denver quarterback Tim Tebow completed 13 out of 27 passes for 161 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore completed 22 out of 33 passes for 197 yards with 1 touchdown. Denver running back WIllis McGahee led all rushers with 76 yards despite missing part of the game with a broken hand. Miami wide receiver Brandon Marshall led all receivers with 61 yards. Miami sacked Tebow 7 times in the game and the Broncos got to Moore 4 times. Both teams had 1 turnover.
Congratulations to every member of the 2011 Denver Broncos for breaking the franchise's losing streak in Miami.