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Week 13 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 9, Miami Dolphins 35


What you need to know

Denver Broncos

Denver's offense struggled mightily with three interceptions and two safeties. Chris Harris intercepted Cutler late in the 2nd quarter. Miami blocked a Denver punt attempt in the 3rd quarter and recovered in the Denver red zone. Denver took the ball back by recovering a fumble two plays later. Justin Simmons returned a tipped Cutler pass for a touchdown later in the 3rd. Trevor Siemian kicked a bad snap out the back of his own end zone in the first half, preventing a defensive recovery for a touchdown. Punt returner Isaiah McKenzie tried to cut back across field and fumbled the ball in his own end zone, resulting in a second safety in the 2nd half. Denver has indicated it will stick with Siemian at QB in week 14 with Lynch nursing an ankle injury.

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins beat the Denver Broncos 35-9 on Sunday, improving their record to 5-7 and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. Jay Cutler completed 18 of 35 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Kenyon Drake stepped into the role as the Dolphins #1 back and seized his opportunity, rushing 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, while also chipping in three catches for 21 yards. Kenny Stills led the Dolphins receivers in catches and yards, totaling five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Jarvis Landry caught five passes for 62 yards, while DeVante Parker couldnít shake out of his slump, registering only one catch for five yards. Julius Thomas continued to be a big part of the Dolphins red zone strategy, catching three passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. While Drake and Stills had big games for the Dolphins offense, this game was all about the Dolphins defense, who combined for three sacks, three interceptions and a touchdown.

Denver Broncos

QB Trevor Siemian, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 41 - 200 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0
Siemian, who had been sick with a flu-like illness earlier in the week, turned in an awful performance. He threw three interceptions with no touchdowns and also committed a safety. Miami pressured Siemian hard, recording three sacks and several more QB hits and hurries. Siemian struggled with accuracy, and most of the decent gains from his receivers came after the catch on short to medium passes. Siemian's longest completion was a play-action pass on a crossing route to Virgil Green that the tight end turned up the left sideline for a big gain in the first half. Siemian also had a nice completion to Bennie Fowler down the right sideline for a 23 yard gain in the 1st. His first pick was on Emmanuel Sanders, as the receiver let a quick slant route bounce off his hands and back to the deep safety for an easy pick. Siemian had the ball snapped over his head in his own end zone on the Broncos' next offensive series and was forced to kick the ball out of the back for a safety before a defender recovered it for a touchdown. Siemian followed up with another interception in the 2nd quarter, this time a bad decision to throw an out route to a well-defended Demaryius Thomas. Miami CB Xavien Howard anticipated the play from the snap, and jumped the route for an easy pick-6. Siemian was picked again in the 4th quarter on a pass that was deflected at the line of scrimmage. Siemian and the offense drove deep into Miami's red zone on their last garbage time drive of the game, but Siemian was sacked for a huge loss with seconds left, then threw the ball away on his final attempt. The Broncos have stated that they will stick with Siemian at QB for now as Paxton Lynch recovers from an ankle sprain.

RB C.J. Anderson, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 67 - 0, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (7 targets)
Anderson was the only Denver player to piece together a decent fantasy performance, leading the Broncos in rushing and receiving in a losing effort. He out-touched Charles(8) and Booker(3) with 19 total touches. Anderson started out strong with carries of 7, 7, and 8 yards on the Broncos first three offensive snaps. Anderson hauled in an out route and turned it up the left sideline for a big gain early in the 3rd quarter. He leaked out of the backfield and caught a check down pass to convert 3rd and 10 early in the 4th quarter. Anderson caught another check down later in the drive for a short gain. Despite a recent trend of Devontae Booker taking over in the 2nd half of their losing efforts, the Broncos stuck with Anderson, with Charles coming in for occasional relief.

RB Jamaal Charles, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (5 targets)
Charles entered the game in a two-back split formation with Booker late in the first, catching a swing route out for a short gain. Charles caught a RB screen at the end of the 1st half, picking up 20 yards against soft prevent coverage in the 2-minute drill.

Charles racked up a few garbage time touches as the featured back on Denver's last couple of drives of the game, down 35-9 at this point. He carried the ball a few times and caught a swing route for a gain of 10, then a halfback screen for a gain of 20 later in the drive.

RB Devontae Booker, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets)
Siemian's top two targets in week 13 were backs, unfortunately neither was Booker, who had been leading the Broncos' backfield in receiving lately. Booker picked up most of his touches on an early 2nd quarter series in the Miami red zone. Booker carried the ball for 5 yards and then secured a swing route for no gain, his only target of the day. He did not see much action after halftime.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (7 targets)
Sanders continues to slump, notching only 2 receptions on 7 targets. He caused Siemian's first interception when he let a quick slant careen off his hands into the air, floating there for the deep safety. Sanders did nothing until finally corralling a short curl route and a shallow crossing route for 6 and 5 yards on the Broncos' last garbage time drive of the game.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (10 targets)
Thomas led the team with 10 targets but only managed to secure two of them as Siemian struggled mightily. DT was targeted on a slant route inside the Miami red zone early in the 2nd, but a defender jarred the tough catch loose. He was the target on Siemian's 2nd interception of the day, a bad decision on an out route that was well covered and anticipated. Cornerback Xavien Howard read the play from the start, and undercut the throw before returning it for a touchdown. Thomas caught a short slant near the end of the 3rd quarter. He then beat his defender down the left sideline for what would have most likely been a long touchdown if Siemian had not underthrown the ball. Thomas hauled in a curl route on the left sideline for a 20 yard catch-and-run up the sideline late in the 4th quarter.

WR Bennie Fowler, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (4 targets)
Fowler took the majority of snaps with Thomas and Sanders in three-receiver sets. He had a diving catch down the left sideline for a big gain early in the 2nd quarter, his only reception of the game.

WR Cody Latimer, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets)
Latimer played a lot of special teams and limited offensive snaps. He caught a short crossing route during the 2-minute drill at the end of the 1st half.

TE Austin Traylor, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets)
Traylor caught two quick curl routes during the Broncos last drive of the first half, moving the chains along in the 2-minute drill. The two targets were his only of the day.

TE Virgil Green, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 36 - 0 (1 targets)
Green saw plenty of snaps but was not very involved in the passing game. He secured his only target on a play action pass, lining up with his hand in the dirt and taking off on a deep cross route for a catch-and-run of 36 yards in the 1st.


Miami Dolphins

QB Jay Cutler, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 31 - 235 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0
Jay Cutler completed 18 of 31 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Cutlerís final stat line looks adequate at best, but he did a much better job of moving the ball than he has in past weeks. With Damien Williams sidelined, the Dolphins ran Kenyon Drake 23 times, but when Drake wasnít running, Cutler was focused on Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills who combined for 160 yards receiving. Cutlerís first touchdown pass went to Julius Thomas on a back-shoulder fade from the nine yard line. Cutler put the ball on a dime, exactly where it needed to be, out of reach of Thomasís defender and right where he only he could catch it. It was the type of throw that has allowed Cutler to have a career in the NFL, despite his penchant for turning the ball over. Cutler made some very Cutler-ish throws throughout the game, including an off-balance, falling away rainbow to Jarvis Landry where he faded to his left hard and threw the ball as he was falling away from a defender. There are only a few quarterbacks who can make that throw, and even fewer who would try to attempt it, but the pass was right on the money and led Landry perfectly. Cutlerís second touchdown pass went to Kenny Stills and again, was vintage Cutler. He dropped back and after the pocket collapsed, Cutler ran forward and just before the line of scrimmage faded to his right and passed a high-arching fade to Kenny Stills who had two steps on a his defender and made the touchdown grab. Cutler has not produced many big games this season, but is the best option the Dolphins have. He is going to turn the ball over, but heís also going to make the type of throws that Matt Moore could only dream of.

RB Kenyan Drake, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 120 - 1, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets)
Kenyan Drake rushed 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes for 21 yards on five targets. With Damien Williams on the shelf, Drake took on the role of the Dolphins bell-cow back and exploded for 140 total scrimmage yards. His day was aided by a 42 yard touchdown run that was awesome to watch the first time, but even more impressive if you were able to watch the replay. Drake took the handoff out of the shotgun formation and was to Cutlers right. He ran to the left side of the formation, stutter stepped a Broncos defender out of his shoes as he cut back to the middle of the formation. He then hand checked a downed Broncos defender and kept his momentum going forward before once again putting a stutter-step cutback on a member of the Broncos secondary, before exploding past the rest of the Denver defense for a touchdown. Without that play, Drake was averaging 3.5 yards per carry. If heís given a large volume of touches, Drake is bound to break a big play, and he looked like an every down back in this contest. He ran well between the tackles, and heís explosive when he gets to the outside in space. Regardless of whether Damien Williams is able to play in week 14, Drake will see his opportunities increase, as he is the game-breaker they need to move the ball and put up points.

WR Jarvis Landry, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 62 - 0 (6 targets)
Jarvis Landry caught five passes on six targets for 62 yards against the Broncos on Sunday. Landry was covered by All-Pro Chris Harris for most of the game, but was able to snag five of his six targets, which was a big increase on his catch percentage for the season. Landry didnít score (he had in six of his last eight games) and wasnít able to break free for long gains after the catch, but he did come down with some tough catches and made a fantastic toe-tapping grab on the sideline on the aforementioned Jay Cutler throw. Landry has a good chance at a big game next week against the Patriots and their 32 ranked pass defense.

WR Kenny Stills, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 98 - 1 (13 targets)
Kenny Stills caught five of 13 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos on Sunday. The 13 targets was a season high for Stills, and he just missed out on his second 100+ yard game of the season. Stills made a fantastic catch on a broken play where was he was wide open but Jay Cutler didnít have the angle to get enough on the ball. Stills slipped as he was turning back to catch the ball, but was able to extend and get his under the ball to keep it from hitting the ground. He then bobbled it twice but converted the catch for 22 yards. Stills had four catches of 20+ yards, including his 23 yard touchdown catch where he just blew past his defender in the red zone when Jay Cutler broke the pocket. It was not all good though, as Stills was targeted on one of Jay Cutlerís interceptions, and also fumbled after making a catch and run in the red zone. Stills brings a big play element to the Dolphins passing game, and has established himself as the #2 option for Jay Cutler.

WR DeVante Parker, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (4 targets)
DeVante Parker caught one of four targets for five yards against the Broncos. He has become the #3 option in the passing game at best, and that is generous considering the Dolphins running backs are more frequently targeted. Jay Cutler tried to get him involved by targeting him down the field, but Parker was once again on wrong end of a Cutler interception, which has become something of a trend this season. At some point, Cutler lost faith in him, and began looking Kenny Stills way, which was evident as Stills 13 targets more than tripled Parkerís four. Stills has lapped Parkerís production over the second half of the season and Parker has become way too inconsistent to use in your fantasy lineups. The upside no longer exceeds the risk.

TE Julius Thomas, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 1 (3 targets)
Julius Thomas caught all three of his targets for 21 yards and a touchdown. Thomas was targeted on a back shoulder fade in the red zone where he was lined up on the right side of the formation. He is too big for the average cornerback, but he also has the athleticism to line up on the outside and run a precise route as he did on this play. It says something that the Dolphins (and Jay Cutler) targeted Thomas on this type of route, and he remains a big part of their red zone offense. He doesnít quite have the upside to be a weekly fantasy play, but with touchdowns in three of his last five games he can be a desperation play.