MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — De’Von Achane could hear the crowd at Hard Rock Stadium chanting “Three more points!” on Miami’s final drive. The Dolphins had the ball inside the Denver Broncos’ 30 with less than a minute left, and they were three points shy of breaking the NFL’s single-game scoring record.
Instead of sending out his kicker for a potential record-setting field goal, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel elected to take a knee and run out the clock.
“It felt like chasing points and chasing a record — that’s not what we came to the game to do,” McDaniel said.
They almost got there anyway. The Dolphins scored the most points in a game by an NFL team since 1966, overwhelming the Broncos 70-20 on Sunday behind the rookie speedster Achane’s 203 yards rushing and Tua Tagovailoa’s no-look shovel-pass TD.
The Dolphins set a franchise record for scoring and finished two points shy of the NFL’s regular-season record — set in 1966 when Washington scored 72 points against the Giants. They are the fourth team in NFL history to score at least 70 points in a regular-season or playoff game.
Many of Miami’s starters, including Tagovailoa and star receiver Tyreek Hill, were pulled from the game early in the fourth quarter.
Achane caught a 10-yard TD pass from Tagovailoa — the quarterback’s fourth TD — in the fourth, and Jason Sanders converted the extra point that made it 56-13 and broke Miami’s franchise scoring record of 55 set against St. Louis on Nov. 24, 1977.
“Seventy points is crazy,” said Achane, who combined with veteran running back Raheem Mostert for eight touchdowns. “That’s like video game-type stuff.”
Hill caught a 54-yard touchdown pass on Miami’s opening drive en route to 157 yards receiving on nine catches.
Miami scored touchdowns on eight of nine drives before Mike White replaced Tagovailoa in the fourth. Mostert had his second straight multiple-touchdown game with three rushing TDs and a TD catch.
“To be able to put up 70 points, I think that is going to put a lot of teams on notice that we’re nothing to play with,” Mostert said. “We’re that team, just to put it bluntly.”
Tagovailoa found a wide-open Hill on the Dolphins’ third play of the game for the duo’s fourth touchdown connection of the season. Hill had 9.7 yards of separation from the nearest Broncos defender when the pass arrived, according to NFL NextGen stats.
Tagovailoa, the NFL’s leading passer, looked to his left then flipped a 4-yard pass to Achane, which gave Miami a 21-7 lead in the second. Tagovailoa completed each of his first 17 pass attempts.
“Never done that before in a game,” Tagovailoa said of his no-look shovel pass. “When I did it in practice, everyone was like, ‘Oh, that was super cool. You’ve got to do that in the game,’ so that’s what I did.’”
Tagovailoa’s first incompletion came with 9:44 left in the third when he slightly underthrew Hill. He finished one completion shy of Miami’s franchise record, which was set by Ryan Tannehill in 2015 when he completed 18 consecutive passes over a two-game span.
Achane averaged 11.3 yards on 18 carries and had an electric 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth that capped Miami’s scoring at 70. He also had a physical 8-yard rushing TD in the first that made it 14-0.
Denver’s defense, down starting safety Justin Simmons (hip) and linebacker Frank Clark (hip), got a rare stop with 4:52 left in the first half when the Dolphins could not convert on fourth-and-1 at their 34, but the Broncos punted on the ensuing drive.
Russell Wilson started a season 0-3 for the first time in his career as Denver simply could not keep pace with Miami’s scoring.
Wilson was 23 of 38 with 306 yards and an interception. He had a 12-yard TD pass to Courtland Sutton on Denver’s second possession. It was the second TD catch of the season for Sutton, who led Denver with 91 yards on eight catches Sunday.
Sutton had two fumbles, both of which were knocked out by Dolphins safety Jevon Holland. The first led to a 3-yard run by Mostert that made it 35-10 just before halftime. The second resulted in Mostert’s 19-yard TD catch in the third. He finished with 82 yards rushing and 60 yards receiving.
Only one coach in Broncos history started out worse than first-year coach Sean Payton has at 0-3, and that’s Miami’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who lost his first four games as Denver’s head coach in 2019.
Will Lutz had kicks of 31 and 25 yards for Denver, and rookie Marvin Mims Jr. returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score in the fourth.
“Obviously, that was embarrassing and tough to watch,” Payton said. “Aside from the kick return, there weren’t a lot of positives to take from that game.”
Robbie Chosen, who was activated from the practice squad, caught a 68-yard TD pass from White.
NO WADDLE, NO PROBLEM
Receiver Jaylen Waddle missed the first game of his career while in the concussion protocol after a helmet-to-helmet hit last week. Waddle has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons, but without him, Miami’s offense recorded 726 total yards of offense.
What the Dolphins did was noticed around the league.
“I can’t wait to watch it,” Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff said after a win over Atlanta. “Unbelievable. I don’t know how they did that.”
Broncos: LB Jesey Jewell, Denver’s leading tackler, left in the first half with a groin injury and did not return.
Dolphins: WR River Cracraft injured his shoulder in the second quarter and was ruled out. … Jaelan Philips left just before halftime with an oblique injury. … Williams left in the third quarter with a groin injury.
Broncos: At Chicago on Oct. 1.
Dolphins: At Buffalo on Oct. 1.
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