Broncos game balls and gassers: Justin Simmons seals win with interception after Melvin Gordon’s critical fourth-quarter fumble

Analysis of the Broncos’ 20-13 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.

Game balls

Justin Simmons – Safety continued to make its Pro Bowl case with another big game Sunday, which culminated in an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone on Miami’s final run to keep the Broncos’ 20-13 win. Simmons had also wiped out an interception in the first half over a questionable holding penalty on AJ Bouye. Simmons finished with seven tackles, including six solo and two defended passes. He now has four choices in 2020.

Malik Reed – Like the rest of the Broncos 3-4 front, Reed turned in a monster game when Denver drew a season-high with six sacks in total. The sophomore linebacker, who continues to defend himself as an all-down NFL player after being pulled from Nevada last year, finished with 1.5 sack for 12 yards plus three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and six tackles in total. Reed is not Von Miller next to Bradley Chubb, but he is certainly a quality replacement.

Broncos Offensive Line – The unit that has been the subject of much criticism this season – especially over the past two weeks when Denver suffered decisive road defeats – pulled more than its weight on Sunday. The Broncos set a season high with 189 rushing yards, and in the second half the likes of Garett Bolles and Dalton Risner pulled to perfection as the attack calmed down. year.

Gasers

Melvin Gordon – Yes, Gordon led the team with 84 yards on 15 carriers, including two touchdown runs. But his fumble at 5:13 on the Miami 1-yard line, which set the Dolphins ready for a potential game-tying, is inexcusable. All the Broncos needed was a field goal on that drive to freeze the game, but instead, Gordon’s blunder put the Broncos in position to blow another game. Simmons’ choice completed that, but Gordon needs to take better care of the ball: he now has four fumbles in 141 total touches with Denver.

AJ Bouye – Bouye had defended two tackles and one pass, but he also struggled with man-cover against the top of the dolphins, DeVante Parker. Bouye gave up three catches for 25 yards, while fellow cornerback Bryce Callahan also fell victim to Parker. Bouye was also flagged for two penalties: a waiting call that nullified Simmons’ interception in the first half, and a pass interference in the third quarter that led to a first down in Miami. Parker finished with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, which came in one-on-one cover against Bouye.

Drew Lock – The quarterback improved in the second half, but another slow, error-prone start left Broncos fans shouting at Empower Field and groaning for their TV sets. Lock tried to force a pass into cover on Denver’s opening run, which led to an interception by Xavien Howard and then a quick landing in Miami. Lock started with 0-for-6 overall, but then completed seven consecutive passes, finishing with 18 of 30 for 270 yards. It’s a bad sign for Denver’s passing attack when the biggest game of the night came into garbage dump time: Tim Patrick’s 61-meter catch at the last minute of regulation.

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