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Broncos’ losing streak reaches 8 after 35-9 loss to Dolphins; first losing season since 2010

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MIAMI — The Broncos’ longest losing streak in 50 years continued Sunday with an ugly 35-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins. It was the Broncos’ eighth consecutive loss, continuing their longest skid since they lost nine in a row in 1967. The Broncos fell to 0-6 on the road, the first time that’s happened since they went 0-7 away from Denver in 1964. At 3-9, the Broncos are assured of their first losing season since 2010 when they went 4-12 and coach Josh McDaniels was fired late in the year. It’s only the Broncos’ sixth losing season since Pat Bowlen became owner in 1984. “It’s a tough situation,” three-time Denver All-Pro linebacker Von Miller said. “A lot of stuff going on. The defense isn’t playing well enough to win. I’m not playing well enough to win. The whole team is included in this one. Tough times.” It was a familiar performance for the Broncos, who have not won in 63 days: Turnovers (four), bad offense (no touchdowns), penalties (nine for 57 yards) and disastrous special teams (blocked punt, lost onside kick, Isaiah McKenzie fumbling a punt return). And the Dolphins, who snapped a five-game losing streak, scored on two safeties. The Broncos failed to convert on their first 11 third downs, finishing 1 for 13, and had only 274 yards and 14 first downs. Quarterback Trevor Siemian threw three interceptions, including a pick-six. He was 20 of 42 for 219 yards and three sacks. “It has been hard to find a guy to operate efficiently for us so we can win a football game,” embattled first-year coach Vance Joseph said. “We’ll watch the film and see who the best option is for us next week.” “I think we’ve just played badly. It’s hard to believe that we started 3-1, right?” quarterback Trevor Siemian said. “It felt pretty good with where we were at and it has gotten away from us a little bit. I felt like there have been weeks where we’ve been right there and just haven’t gotten it done, haven’t made enough plays.” The defense forced three turnovers, but it was wasted. Trailing 19-3 in the third quarter, Justin Simmons intercepted former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed. But any momentum the Broncos gained from the defensive score was quickly erased when the Dolphins drove 61 yards in four plays, capped by a 42-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake. And one play after Siemian threw his third interception, Cutler found Kenny Stills for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 33-9 and seal the Broncos’ fate. And to rub salt into the wound, the Dolphins followed with a successful onside kick. The Broncos held, but on the ensuing punt, McKenzie fumbled and recovered in the end zone for a second safety for the Dolphins.  It was McKenzie’s sixth fumble on punt returns this season. With 3:07 left in the first quarter, a high snap over Siemian’s head went into the end zone, where the quarterback batted it out of the end zone for a safety to give the Dolphins a 2-0 lead. The Broncos took a rare lead with a 31-yard field goal from Brandon McManus with 13:28 left in the second quarter. But the Dolphins responded thanks to a pair of former Broncos when Cutler found Julius Thomas for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 9-3. Then Siemian was intercepted by Xavien Howard, who returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to make it 16-3 with 9:32 left in the first half.

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