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Cover 4: Dolphins best Broncos, 35-9

Posted Dec 3, 2017

These are the four pieces of information you need to know following the Broncos' loss.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Broncos' secondary came up with three turnovers Sunday, but that wasn't enough to overcome other issues as Denver fell 35-9 to the Miami Dolphins.

Defining statistic

1-for-13. The Broncos, at times, did enough to stay in Sunday's game against Miami. They forced three turnovers, running back C.J. Anderson averaged 4.47 yards per carry, and the defense appeared strong at times. On third downs, though, the Broncos lost the battle. Denver finished 1-for-13 on third-down opportunities, which prevented them from sustaining drives and put the defense back on in less-than-ideal situations. The Dolphins didn't fare much better, as they finished 4-of-15 on third down, but Miami made plenty of big plays in other ways as they pushed the Broncos to their eighth-straight loss.

Memorable highlight

Justin Simmons scored the first touchdown of his young career when he undercut a route and returned a Jay Cutler pass 65 yards for a touchdown. The play briefly gave the Broncos life midway through the third quarter and cut the Miami lead to 10 points. Chris Harris Jr. also recorded a highlight-reel interception when he dove back toward the ball during the second quarter.

Top performer

Cornerback Bradley Roby filled in admirably Sunday in Aqib Talib's absence. Against Miami's trio of capable receivers — Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker — the former first-round pick more than held his own. He recorded three passes defensed, and he ensured a number of other Jay Cutler throws did not find their intended mark. With 7:41 to play in the third quarter, Roby also forced and recovered a fumble to prevent another Miami score. Harris Jr. and Simmons also receive honorable mentions for their interceptions.

Game-changing moment

A pick-six with 9:39 to play in the first quarter certainly hurt the Broncos. The Dolphins' Xavien Howard snagged the Trevor Siemian pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. That, however, isn't what guaranteed a Miami win. Rather, immediately following Simmons' interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter, the Broncos' defense failed to make the most of an opportunity to get off the field. Instead, Kenyan Drake broke free for a 42-yard touchdown that pushed Miami's lead back to a three-possession differential. At that late juncture of the game, the lead would prove too much to overcome. The Dolphins would add another touchdown and tackled Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone for their second safety of the game as the Broncos fell to 3-9.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Bradley Roby finished with two passes defensed. He added a third on the Dolphins' final offensive snap of the game. We regret the error.

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