70 points. Only three teams in the history of the sport have ever put up 70 points in a game and that’s what happened to the Broncos on Sunday afternoon. It was a historic humiliation that shattered records for all the wrong reasons in Broncos Country.
At the end of the game, the Miami Dolphins had the chance to beat the record and score a field goal to make it 73 points but former Broncos ball boy Mike McDaniel opted to kneel and close the game out, sinking the Broncos to an embarrassing loss and an 0-3 record.
Here are my takeaways from the week three matchup in Florida.
Russell Wilson is NOT the problem
The media and Twitter box score fans have been quick to jump back on their anti-Russell Wilson agenda this season, but the nine-time Pro Bowler is having a fine year in Denver.
He’s proving his haters from last year very wrong, playing smart football and looking like a top-10 quarterback in the league in his opening three games of the season.
Wilson threw for 306 yards off of 23 completions which, for context, was only three yards fewer than Tua Tagovailoa from the same number of completions.
He threw for one touchdown, and one interception, which wasn’t entirely Wilson’s fault anyway, as well as four big-time throws according to PFF.
He is navigating the pocket well, sensing and escaping pressure much more often, and he seems to be seeing the field and making decisions much more assertively as well as backing his arm on the deep ball much more often.
It has been a positive start to the season for Wilson under the tutelage of Sean Payton and hopefully, he will soon be rewarded for his good play.
Receivers are building chemistry
Even without Tim Patrick for a second straight season, the Broncos have a tidy wide receiver room, on paper at least.
Jerry Jeudy played for a second consecutive week and Courtland Sutton still appears to be one of Russell Wilson’s favourite targets, while rookie Marvin Mims is a genuine deep-threat target.
Over the last two weeks, sophomore, Brandon Johnson has also been a pass catcher that Wilson can often lean upon to make a big catch when needed.
When Greg Dulcich is elevated off of the injury reserve list, the Broncos’ air raid game will be something to behold if they can keep up their three-week momentum.
Special teams touchdown
Over the last couple of years, the Broncos have regularly had one of the league’s worst special teams units every year.
On Sunday, Marvin Mims proved why the Broncos traded up to acquire him in the draft, returning a kickoff 99 yards to cut the deficit to a measly 43 points (at the time).
Coupled with his long punt return last week, Mims is proving to be the return man the Broncos have been hoping for, for years.
When you concede 70, there’s only one place the heap of the blame can go. The defence consistently gave up big gashing run gains to Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane, who combined for six rushing touchdowns between them.
The defence surrendered 726 yards to the Dolphins in total yards and when Randy Gregory was dropping into coverage against Tyreek Hill, and they were missing 24 tackles it’s hardly surprising.
After losing to the Raiders in week one, they lost only putting up 10 points in week two, and after last week’s 35-33 loss to the Commanders, Washington only scored a field goal this week and Sam Howell threw four interceptions.
The Broncos’ defence is a shadow of its 2022 self under Ejiro Evero and despite a largely similar personnel, the change in co-ordinator and scheme hasn’t been effective.
The numbers are staggering and the film is alarming, when looking at this Broncos defence, Vance Joseph is on the hottest seat in the league.
During the week, Sean Payton has said that there won’t be any firings this week so Joseph has a chance to prove he’s the man for the job on the road in Chicago which is a must-win game.
The Dolphins scored 21 points off of turnovers on Sunday and two of those came from the hands of Courtland Sutton.
Sutton posted 8 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown but he could have had so much more had he protected the ball better in the open field.
Twice he was looking for yards after the catch and twice, Jevon Holland came across and punched the ball out giving Miami a good starting field position.
Had those 21 points from the turnovers been converted to Broncos points then it may have been more of a tight shootout than the game became.
Like last week, the officials didn’t cost the Broncos this game, which lies firmly at the doorstep of the defence, however, early in the game they made a questionable call which halted early Broncos offensive momentum.
In the first quarter, the Broncos managed to hang around with the Dolphins and would have gone within a score of their hosts if their touchdown to Sutton had stood.
Instead, the officials decided to step in and throw a tenuous offensive pass interference call that meant the Broncos had to settle for a field goal on that drive.
It was by no means a game-changing call but once again the officiating levels of the NFL come under the spotlight.
Looking ahead to week four
The Broncos have entered must-win territory if they have any plans of making the post-season in January, but even more so when their week four opponent is the Chicago Bears.
The Bears have been the worst team in the league so far this season with a faltering offence and a leaky defence.
Third-year quarterback, Justin Fields has struggled to process defences and the offensive playcalling hasn’t utilised his strengths, while the offensive line has failed to protect him anywhere near enough.
These two defences gave up 111 points on Sunday so both offences will be licking their lips and trying to lay down a comprehensive marker to get in the win column for the first time this year.
After their struggles in the ground game against the Dolphins, Justin Fields’ rushing ability is a concern but the offensive form partnered with the Bears’ poor defensive form is a positive sign heading into a huge week four matchup for both teams.