News & Analysis

Refocused: Miami Dolphins 35, Denver Broncos 9

By PFF Analysis Team
Dec 3, 2017

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Dec 3, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Jay Cutler-led Miami Dolphins cruised past the Denver Broncos and QB Trevor Siemian on Sunday, to the tune of a 35-9 final score. Cutler tossed two touchdowns in the rout, completing 18 passes for 235 yards.

Running back Kenyan Drake had possibly his breakout performance in relief duty for the sidelined Damian Williams, rushing the ball 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins defense intercepted three Siemian passes and stymied the Broncos offense. With that, we give you our PFF-exclusive takeaways from the contest for each team.

Top 5 Grades:

CB Xavien Howard, 94.8 overall grade

RB Kenyan Drake, 94.2 overall grade

CB Bobby McCain, 91.8 overall grade

DI Ndamukong Suh, 84.3 overall grade

CB Alterraun Verner, 83.8 overall grade

Performances of Note:

HB Kenyan Drake, 94.2 overall grade

Drake had to fight for every yard, as he averaged less than one yard before contact and gained 106 of his 120 rushing yards after he was touched by a Denver defender. Furthermore, he forced seven missed tackles on just 23 carries. His biggest run came in the third quarter when he cut away from a tackle attempt by Broncos safety Will Parks and broke another tackle before getting into the end zone after a 42-yard run.

QB Jay Cutler80.1 overall grade

Even though Cutler was under pressure on exactly 50 percent of his dropbacks, he coped well with the pressure, as he actually had a higher passer rating when he was under pressure than when he was kept clean. Cutler also performed well throwing deep passes, completing five of his eight attempts on which the ball traveled at least 20 yards in the air.

 CB Xavien Howard, 94.8 overall grade

A big day for Howard saw him targeted nine times in coverage, more often than not though, it was Howard who was getting his hands on the ball and not the receivers. He finished the game allowing just two catches for 30 yards, picking off two passes and breaking up two more. This resulted in an NFL passer rating on throws into his coverage of just 1.4.

DI Ndamukung Suh, 84.3 overall grade

Suh impressed both as a pass-rusher and against the run in this one, finishing the game with two quarterback hits and two tackles resulting in a defensive stop. His impact was felt beyond the stat sheet too, and he often rocked back second-year guard Connor McGovern for Denver, forcing runs off their intended path and disrupting pull blockers.

Top 5 Grades:

Edge Von Miller, 91.6 overall grade

CB Bradley Roby, 87.5 overall grade

HB C.J. Anderson, 82.9 overall grade

DI Adam Gotsis, 82.2 overall grade

LB Todd Davis, 82.1 overall grade

Performances of Note:

QB Trevor Siemian, 43.6 overall grade

Siemian’s first game back in the starting lineup won’t do much for his chances of keeping the job, and his performance was typical of the afternoon for Denver. Even on plays without pressure, he struggled, completing just 48.4 percent of his passes and producing a passer rating of just 26.3 when kept clean. While the final interception came off a batted pass, the pick-six was a particular low-light for the Broncos signal-caller.

RB C.J. Anderson, 82.9 overall grade

Given the game flow and how quickly it got out of hand for the Broncos, running back C.J. Anderson didn’t see a full workload, but he made the most of the opportunities he got. Of his 67 yards, 36  came after contact, and he forced two missed tackles from 15 carries. Most of his success came off left end, with three carries for 18 yards on runs through that run position.

Edge Von Miller, 91.6 overall grade

Even though his team lost, Miller terrorized the Dolphins’ offensive line, as he set the edge against the run and kept Cutler under pressure for most of the game. As a matter of fact, Miller recorded eight total pressures (two hits and six hurries) on 33 pass-rush snaps, while he also beat offensive linemen on multiple other occasions just to see Cutler get rid of the ball before he could get to him.

CB Bradley Roby, 87.5 overall grade

Roby was the Broncos’ most frequently targeted defender by a significant margin; however, he allowed just three receptions on nine targets. In addition, he broke up two of the passes and was in position to prevent a completion on several others. Finally, although he was not in coverage, he forced a fumble on a play against Kenny Stills and also recovered the ball to record the turnover.

PFF Game Ball: Xavien Howard, CB

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard

*Grades are subject to change upon review

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