The Broncos are coming off a brutal, three-game road trip in which they lost two of the three contests. Now they get a home game before going on the road in three out of the next four games. Their opponent: a team against whom Denver has an overwhelmingly losing record (4-11-1) including a losing record at home (3-4-1). The last time that the Broncos defeated the Dolphins, Tim Tebow was their quarterback and he had to rally Denver in the fourth quarter to overcome a 15-0 deficit to force overtime. The teams exchanged punts in the overtime period before the Broncos' defense forced a fumble to set the game-winning field goal by Matt Prater. This was a memorable game, but let's look at Denver's best and worst games versus Miami.
Denver vs the Miami Dolphins
Best Game: January 9, 1999
Score: Denver 38, Miami 3
What made this game great: This game came just three weeks after the Dolphins had defeated the Broncos 31-21 in Week 16 of the 1998 regular season. The Broncos hosted this rematch in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Denver used a devastating ground game to pound the Dolphins into submission. They amassed 250 yards rushing, led by Terrell Davis with 199 yards. The Broncos held Miami to a 3-and-out on the game's opening drive. They then drove 92 yards for a touchdown on a Davis run to open the scoring. A second Dolphins 3-and-out led to a second touchdown drive for Denver -- again capped by a Davis run. The Broncos led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Miami rallied for a field goal in the second quarter, but the Broncos added another touchdown for a 21-3 halftime lead. Denver added a field goal of its own in the third quarter and a pair of touchdowns in the fourth. The second of those fourth quarter touchdowns came on a a 79-yard fumble return by defensive end Neil Smith.
Worst Game: September 11, 2005
Score: Miami 34, Denver 10
What made this game horrible: The Broncos had entered the 2005 season with high expectations. After two years of missing the playoffs, they had earned playoff berths in each of the two previous seasons. Many thought that they were on the right track again. Denver opened the 2005 season with a trip to Miami. The temperature at game time was 89 degrees with 64% humidity and no wind to speak of. For the first three quarters the game appeared to be even. Denver forced a Dolphins fumble in the first quarter but could not capitalize on the turnover. Miami posted a field goal in that quarter, then added a second field goal early in the second quarter for a 6-0 lead. Neither team was able to must much offense but the Broncos were able to record a field goal of their own and trailed 6-3 at the half. The third quarter was the same as the first two, though the Dolphins were able to add a touchdown to take a 13-3 lead. The game remained close in the early stages of the fourth quarter with Miami adding seven points to their lead only to see Denver turn a Dolphins turnover into a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-10. Then the wheels came off. The ensuing kickoff by the Broncos went out of bounds, giving Miami the ball at their own 40-yard line. Dolphins quarterback Gus Frerotte connected with wide receiver Marty Booker for a touchdown on the first play. The next two Denver drives ended in interceptions. The Broncos looked like they might at least be able to make the score respectable by driving to the Miami 6 yard line with 4 seconds left. Unfortunately, quarterback Jake Plummer was sacked, fumbled the ball and the Dolphins defense returned the ball 85 yards for a touchdown and the final margin of 34-10.
This season, the Broncos are facing a hungry Miami team that is only one game behind Denver and has already defeated both the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. If the Broncos do not see some of their starters bounce back from injuries, they could be in for another very long day.
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