Miami Sports Day

‘FINS: Miami Defense Hands Denver Broncos 8th Straight Loss

The Miami Dolphins’ defense held Denver out of the end zone and scored twice to lift the Dolphins to a 35-9 win over the Broncos.  Miami (5-7) snapped a five-game losing streak that dated back to Oct. 22 in a 31-28 home win over the New York Jets.

Xavien Howard recorded two interceptions today, picking off Broncos QB Trevor Siemian and returning it 30 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and then intercepting Siemian again in the fourth quarter. It was Miami’s first interception return for a touchdown since Kiko Alonso won the San Diego game with a 60- yard interception return for a touchdown on last season.

Julius Thomas caught his third touchdown of the season when he reeled in a 9-yard score from QB Jay Cutler in the second quarter. It was the 36th touchdown reception of Thomas’ career. All 36 of Thomas’ touchdown receptions have come since 2013. He is third among all NFL tight ends in touchdown receptions since the start of the 2013 season.

Cutler finished 18 of 31 for 235 yards with two touchdowns.

Kenyan Drake made just the third start of his career today and posted career highs with 23 carries and 120 yards. Drake’s 120 yards marked the first 100-yard game of his career. Drake’s longest rush of the day was for a 42-yard touchdown. It’s his third 40-yard run of the season, which is tied for the most in the NFL.

“I had the easy part; I was just running through big holes trying to make the most of every play. At the end of the day, I can’t do nothing but thank the game plan and the coaches and everybody else,” Drake said.

Denver (3-9) dropped its eighth straight contest and hasn’t been victorious since a 16-10 home win over Oakland on Oct. 1.

“Well, you know, it was a back and forth game for about a quarter. In the second quarter we gave up 14 points in four seconds,” said Denver head coach Vance Joseph, who was Miami’s defensive coordinator last season.  “They had a long drive on our defense and a pick-six. That all happened in four seconds. Now we’re down by two scores again and now it looks like every other week.”

Defensively, the Dolphins recorded 12 passes defensed. It is tied for the fourth-most passes defensed in a game in team history and Miami’s most since they recorded 12 in 2010 at Cincinnati.

With the Broncos backed up near their own goal line in the first quarter, the Dolphins forced a safety on a backwards pass by Siemian. The safety was Miami’s first since Terrence Fede blocked a punt out of the end zone against Minnesota.  Miami also forced a safety on a punt in the fourth quarter when Chase Allen forced a fumble that was recovered by Denver in the end zone and tackled by Senorise Perry.

Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said his defense played better as the game went on and Miami increased its lead, partially in part to a pair of defensive scores on a safety and an interception return.

“I think it changes a lot,” Gase said. “We were able to turn those four pass rushers loose. It makes a big difference. Puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They get back there quick.”

DOLPHINS NOTES: The win is the team’s first against Denver since 2008 and first home win against the Broncos since  2005…..Miami is now 3-2 at Hard Rock Stadium this season. The team has won at least three games at the stadium in every season since 2010, despite playing just seven games at the venue in 2015 (and again this season)…Jarvis Landry caught five passes for 62 yards (12.4 avg.). He is the only player in the NFL to catch at least five passes in every game this season….T.J. McDonald intercepted Broncos QB Trevor Siemian on Denver’s first possession of the game after Bobby McCain deflected the ball. It was McDonald’s first interception as a Dolphin in just his fourth game with the team….Ndamukong Suh started his 95th consecutive game. It’s the longest games started streak among active NFL defensive linemen.

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