Miami’s historic victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday felt like a game of Madden against the computer on rookie mode. While putting up 70 points (the most ever by a Dolphins team) on the scoreboard, the Dolphins systematically dismantled a team coached by a former Super Bowl winner in Sean Payton — the same coach who infamously predicted Tua Tagovailoa would be benched for former Dolphins’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last season.
The Dolphins broke or tied 13 team or individual records today pic.twitter.com/JRw62Qp6Nk— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) September 24, 2023
The Mike McDaniel led Dolphins put up 376 passing yards (309 by Tagovailoa) and 350 rushing yards — the combined 726 yards resulting in the most yards gained in a single game since 1951. Miami scored 10 touchdowns on Sunday — five through the air and five on the ground.
They quite simply could not be stopped. In fact, if it were not for Mike McDaniel attempting to display good sportsmanship by taking a knee on 4th down late in the game with the Dolphins in field goal range, Miami could have kicked the ball through the uprights and set a new single game scoring mark. As it stood, only one team in the history of the National Football League has ever scored more points in a single regular season game — the 1966 Washington Redskins who put up 72 against the New York Giants that season.
Savor the moment, Dolphins fans. It was a game that will be remembered for a very, very long time.
And it feels damn good.
Now, let’s take a look at the good, bad and ugly from Miami’s 70-20 drubbing of the Broncos on Sunday.
Dolphins run game shows the rest of the league they aren’t just a one trick cheetah
Miami’s starting running back Raheem Mostert ran the ball 13 times for 82 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and three rushing touchdowns.
Their undrafted rookie out of BYU, Chris Brooks, toted the rock nine times for 66 yards (7.3 yards per carry).
But it was rookie third round selection De’Von Achane who had the breakout performance in Miami’s backfield. Achane carried the ball 18 times for 203 yards (11.3 yards per carry) and two rushing scores.
Both Achane (2) and Mostert (1) also reached the endzone via receptions, but it was their efforts on the ground that came as a surprise to some considering how much attention the Dolphins’ passing attack receives by national media members weekly.
If Miami’s offensive line can continue to move bodies in the run game, and their backs can continue to find daylight and turn on the afterburners, the Dolphins will continue to be the league’s most complete offensive unit as the 2023 season progresses.
Dolphins lose key contributors on both sides of the football to injury
While the Dolphins won big on the scoreboard Sunday, there were a few injuries that kept the victory from being a flawless one. Losing key players on both offense and defense to injury is never a good thing, but it becomes a much bigger deal heading into a key showdown with the reigning and defending AFC East champions — the Buffalo Bills — next weekend.
On defense, veteran cornerback Eli Apple left early with a possible concussion. Apple was signed to fill the void in Miami’s secondary after Jalen Ramsey’s offseason knee surgery, but the Dolphins may be forced to turn to rookie second round selection Cam Smith — a player who was a healthy scratch against the Broncos this week.
Jaelan Phillips — who missed last week’s game against the New England Patriots with a back issue — left Sunday’s contest with an oblique injury. Mike McDaniel did not have a health update regarding the young pass rusher during his post game presser.
On offense, center Connor Williams departed Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Liam Eichenberg filled in for Williams for the rest of the game, but obviously, Miami’s line is a much stronger blocking unit when #58 is suiting up.
We’ll monitor the team’s practice reports throughout the week, but for now, let’s cross our fingers and hope that these key contributors are okay and could have returned to the game if it were not such a lopsided contest.
Vance Joseph’s Denver Broncos defense
For every positive thing I’ve said about Miami’s offense on Sunday, it was the exact opposite for Denver’s defense in South Florida during week three.
There’s no need to retype the Dolphins’ offensive stats, but it’s safe to wonder if the Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will survive the week or if he’ll be relieved of his duties after Sunday’s dismal showing.
That’s not our concern. The Buffalo Bills are on the horizon.
Miami went on the road in weeks one and two and secured victories against the Chargers and the Patriots before finally coming home and treating the hometown fans to a fireworks show against the Broncos. Do you think they can keep the momentum going and defeat the Buffalo Bills on the road this Sunday? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!