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Final Score: Broncos defense absolutely gashed in 70-20 loss to Dolphins

Vance Joseph’s defense was completely exposed and exploited by the Miami Dolphins as they ran up a 70-20 beatdown on the Denver Broncos in Week 3.

Denver Broncos v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos 2023 season is effectively over.

After blowing it against two non-playoff teams at home to start the season, they faced a legit AFC powerhouse on the road in the Miami Dolphins and they were completely exposed. Defensively, Miami ran roughshod over Denver’s defense on the way to a record-setting 70-20 route. This 0-3 start for the Broncos spells disaster as just six teams have turned things around to make the playoffs in the same season and none of those six teams have played as poorly as Denver has through three games to start the season.

In an ironic twist of fate, the problem in Denver is no longer the offense as - despite the three turnovers - they were efficient and competed early. Two penalties wiped out two touchdown passes and that early momentum was wiped out. The defensive failures all but sealed their fate early and often.

Miami set NFL records today too. They break a record set in 1951 for most yards in a game that stood at 722 by the Los Angeles Rams. That record is now theirs. They could have broken the all-time points in a game record with a field goal at the end of the game, but opted to run the clock out.

Broncos vs. Dolphins final score

TEAM 1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL
TEAM 1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL
Denver Broncos 7 6 0 7 20
Miami Dolphins 14 21 14 21 70

First Quarter

With the Broncos opening the game by winning the coin toss, they elected to give the ball to the Dolphins to start the game. The decision proved costly as the Dolphins quickly scored on just three plays. Tua Tagovailoa found a wide open Tyreek Hill for a 54-yard touchdown. Delarrin Turner-Yell bit hard on an underneath route to leave that part of the field wide open for Hill.

After a three and out, the Broncos gave the ball right back to the Dolphins who then decided to show off their rushing prowess. They were averaging over 20 yards a play as they drove again deep into Denver territory on their second drive. That average finally began to come down as Miami reached the red zone, but they were still able to move the ball well enough to score another touchdown to go up big over Denver in the first quarter.

The Broncos defense just looked completely outclassed and overmatched by the Dolphins offensive weaponry.

Given how poorly the defense began this game, the Broncos offense needed to work into a shootout with Miami. They got things going with an up-tempo offense on their second drive and quickly drove into Dolphins territory behind several quick passes from Russell Wilson and a couple of solid runs by Javonte Williams.

The drive began to stall inside the red zone, but on third and six, Russell Wilson rolled out and found Courtland Sutton in the back corner of the end zone for a much-needed touchdown.

The 10-play, 75 yard drive was impressive with Wilson going 5/7 for 61 yards and that touchdown pass.

Dolphins 14, Broncos 7.

Second Quarter

The Dolphins began the second quarter with another easy-looking drive, gashing the Broncos defense in the run game. A holding penalty on one of their passing plays put them into a 1st and 20 situation at midfield. Two quick screen passes and an egregious facemask not called on Miami, set them up with a third and four that they easily converted to keep the drive going.

That no-call on the facemask on D.J. Jones would come back to haunt the Broncos defense as they just couldn’t find a stop for their lives. A 20-yard touchdown run by De’Von Achane was wiped out by another offensive holding penalty by Miami, but the Denver defense had no answers all game for Miami’s offense. They easily overcame every penalty on every drive in the first half. They would score just three plays later to go back up by two touchdowns.

Denver’s offense responded well on their third drive. A first down pass to Nate Adkins preceded a big 16-yard run from Javonte Williams. Then Wilson went deep to rookie Marvin Mims Jr. who hauled it in at the Dolphins’ 10-yard line for a first and goal opportunity.

Miami’s defense stiffened forcing a throwaway on first down and Samjae Perine gained three yards on second down. On third down, Wilson went up to Courtland Sutton in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

However, a penalty on Brandon Johnson for a weak offensive pass interference to wipe out the play. That pushed the Broncos offense back to the Dolphins’ 17-yard line. That third and goal play resulted in a short pass play to Johnson to bring out the field goal unit to cut the lead to 21-10 with just under seven minutes left in the half.

The Broncos defense finally stopped the Dolphins on third down. However, on 4th and inches the Dolphins decided to go for it from their own 35-yard line. Zach Allen and Alex Singleton came up with a huge play to stuff the inside handoff to give the Broncos offense excellent field position.

Russell Wilson and the Broncos went absolutely nowhere with that great field position. In fact, they went backwards. On 4th and 17, they were forced to punt the ball away. A terrible missed opportunity for Denver that would haunt them in short order.

The Dolphins streaked down the field with their final first half possession completely unfazed by their earlier turnover on downs. They easily capped their drive with 1:49 left in the first half with a 20 yard touchdown run from Raheem Mostert. Tua was 16/16 for 206 yards and two touchdowns and their offense was averaging over 7 yards a carry with two more touchdowns. Denver’s defense was absolutely steamrolled in the first half.

On the Broncos very next play, Courtland Sutton catches a pass and fumbles. The Dolphins nearly scoop and score, but it didn’t matter. The Dolphins offense punched it in from three yards out on the very next play to go up 35-10... in the first half.

Denver got the ball back with enough time to do something with it and Wilson was able to find open receivers against the prevent defense. With 29 seconds left, he found Marvin Mims Jr. wide open for a big gain to the Dolphins six yard line and then hit Jerry Jeudy outside for a touchdown pass, that was promptly wiped out by an illegal shift penalty.

That penalty would also come back to haunt them as they would end up going nowhere and they would ultimately settle for a field goal - not exactly what they needed in a game down 35-10.

Dolphins 35, Broncos 13.

Third Quarter

With their opening second half possession, the Broncos got a quick first down on a pass to Jerry Jeudy. However, they went no where from there to punt it away.

Tua’s first incompletion came with 9:38 left in the third quarter. That was no big deal, however, as he completed a 20 yard pass on the next throw, then De’Von Achane broke looked on an end around for 44-yards to setup a first and goal for Miami.

Denver’s defense forced the Dolphins into a fourth and goal. Despite looking like they might get another stop, Raheem Mostert powered in from one yard out for his third rushing touchdown of the game to put Miami up 42-13.

If there is one thing we can take away from this game is that the Broncos defense has been completely and utterly exposed. Expect the #FireVanceJoseph trend on X to return in full force this week.

The turnover bug continued to plague Courtland Sutton as he would fumble for the second time in this game down near the red zone to give Miami the ball back late in the third quarter. He had just two fumbles his entire career, but ended up with two in this game.

Naturally, the Dolphins would end the third quarter methodically driving down the field and scoring yet another touchdown. Denver’s defense had zero answers to Miami’s offense. The Dolphins ended the quarter with over 500 yards of offense.

Russell Wilson would have his pass tipped and picked by a defensive lineman to end the third quarter as Miami continued to run over the Broncos in every way.

Dolphins 49, Broncos 13.

Fourth Quarter

On the first play of the fourth quarter, a quick inside shovel pass to De’Von Achane converted into the Dolphins eighth touchdown of the game to put Miami up 56-13.

Miami’s starters were done from there - thankfully - with their focus shifting to running the clock out. The clock couldn’t run out fast enough for Broncos Country as literally everyone was ready for this nightmare to come to a final end.

Unfortunately, the nightmare wouldn’t come to an end until the Dolphins broke records. Never had a Broncos defense given up 60 points in a single game. The closest was 59 at home against the Raiders in 2010, but seeing Pat Surtain beaten by Robbie Chosen to do it was tough to watch. Sure Marvin Mims Jr. returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown himself, but the game was long since lost.

De’Von Achane then broke free for a 68-yard touchdown with still 7+ minutes left in the game to put the embarrassment to max effect.

Dolphins 70, Broncos 20.

Worst Loss In Denver Broncos History.


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