4:25 PM ET, November 23, 2014
Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Following their second defeat in three weeks, they return home to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The Broncos (7-3) fell to St. Louis 22-7 last Sunday to give them their worst stretch since a 1/3 span Sept. 17-Oct. 7, 2012 -- Manning's first season with the team. Denver's last two losses have come by a combined 65-28 score.
"You feel like you've let your team down," Manning said. "I didn't feel like I carried my weight (Sunday). That's pretty plain and simple."
The Broncos posted their lowest point total and fourth-lowest time of possession mark (24:10) since 2012.
Denver's schedule may also be a factor in the struggles, as the Broncos played three consecutive road games -- something they haven't had to do since 2010. In the past three seasons, Manning has thrown 10 fewer touchdowns and 10 more interceptions on the road than at home, and the ground game has recorded nine fewer TDs.
Seven of the Broncos' nine regular-season losses under Manning have come on the road.
Denver is also dealing with a rash of injuries, with Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Montee Ball having been sidelined. The Broncos also haven't been able to run the ball, totaling 43 and 28 yards on the ground in the two most recent defeats.
Coach John Fox, though, isn't looking for reasons why his team has hit a rough patch.
"We're not making excuses," he said.
"There's no panic inside the building. It's just part of the way the league goes. We're displeased, we're not happy with the results, but we get to atone for it getting ready against the Miami Dolphins."
Finally back home, Fox and the Broncos face a Miami team that's won four of five and is excited to test itself against the reigning AFC champions.
"It's going to be fun,"?safety Reshad Jones said. "It's a challenge.
"This what you play the game for, these type of games. I?think it's going to be a great atmosphere, great time of the season. It's our time to go out, make our plays and make a statement."
Miami's last two losses have come by a combined seven points to Detroit and Green Bay, who are tied atop the NFC North. The Dolphins (6-4) are coming off a 24-9 victory over Buffalo last Thursday behind another stifling defensive performance, as they didn't allow a touchdown for the second time in three weeks.
Miami's second-ranked defense, which is second against the pass at 208.0 yards allowed per game, faces the daunting task of shutting down a Broncos offense that ranks third in the league with 412.9 yards and second with 323.0 through the air.
Manning has been sacked 11 times in 10 games, fewest in the league.
"We just have to try to throw him off of his game early, try to get pressure on him and try to hit him as much as we can and force him to make bad throws," said end Olivier Vernon, second on the team with 5 1/2 sacks. "We've just got to get off the ball, time the snap and make sure we get pressure on him all game long. He has a very good line that's protecting him and he's a future Hall of Famer and we've got to throw all types of things at him that he wouldn't expect and mix it up."
The Dolphins (6-4) will try to keep the ball out of Manning's hands by continuing to pound it on the ground after turning in their eighth 100-yard rushing game last week, gaining 125. Miami, which relies on a deep rushing attack that employs Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams, is sixth in the NFL with 127.3 yards per game on the ground.
Miller, though, is questionable because of shoulder and knee injuries.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has supplemented a strong season by rushing for 261 yards -- second on the team -- with a 7.1 per-carry average.
He completed more than 70 percent of his passes for the fifth time this season and fourth in five games last week, going 26 of 34 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
That efficient approach has worked well, though offensive coordinator Bill Lazor would like to see more drives end better. Miami is averaging 24.9 points, but ranks next to last in the league in red-zone scoring, averaging 4.1 points on possessions that reach the 20. Denver ranks first at 6.0 points, scoring a touchdown 77 percent of the time.
The Dolphins' persistent difficulty punching it in is magnified because they lead the league with 49 red-zone possessions, six more than any other team.
"Why have we had so many red-zone drives?" Lazor said. "Probably because we haven't had explosive plays that have scored from outside the red zone. It's easy math. The thing that's not easy is getting it fixed."
The Dolphins are 11-4-1 all-time against Denver. The teams last met Oct. 23, 2011, when Miami fell to Tim Tebow and the Broncos 18-15.
Manning is 5-7 against Miami in his career with 18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions and a 79.8 quarterback rating.
More from ESPN.com
Biggest Week 7 injury questions for all 32 NFL teams: The returns of Barkley, Singletary and Trubisky?
Some fantasy-relevant players could be suiting up again this weekend. Get the latest updates from our NFL Nation reporters.
Keeping Patrick Mahomes on the sideline has worked wonders for Kansas City's opponents, providing a blueprint for the Broncos on Thursday night as they seek their first win over the Chiefs in four years.
'Grateful' Osweiler says he's retiring from NFL
Former Broncos, Texans and Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler, 28, told 9News in Denver that he is retiring from the NFL after seven seasons.
Goodell: No talk of draft lottery to fight tanking
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is enjoying peak competitiveness, despite five teams winning one game or fewer through the first six weeks of the season.
Recent Blog Posts
- Biggest Week 7 injury questions for all 32 NFL teams: The returns of Barkley, Singletary and Trubisky?
- Potential trade targets for all 32 NFL teams at the 2019 deadline
- Foxworth: The Dolphins tanking is 'unethical'
|Avg Points Allowed||3.5||3.3|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||MIA|
|Rush Yds Allowed||MIA|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Miami leads 4-3|
|Oct 23, 2011||MIA 15, DEN 18|
|Nov 2, 2008||MIA 26, @DEN 17|
|Sep 11, 2005||MIA 34, DEN 10|
|Dec 12, 2004||MIA 17, @DEN 20|
|Oct 13, 2002||MIA 24, @DEN 22|
|Dec 2, 2001||MIA 21, DEN 10|
The Broncos have rushed a league-low 18 times per game. Last week, the Broncos rushed the ball 10 times, the fewest of any team in Week 11 and only the Colts (19) had fewer yards than the Broncos (28).
The Dolphins take on Peyton Manning Sunday, but have proven capable of slowing the top NFL QBs this season. Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers all posted season-lows in completion percentage against the Dolphins this season.[+]
The Broncos have lost some of their balance on offense as their rushing offense has struggled this season. The Broncos are averaging 3.7 yards per rush this season (26th) and are rushing at their lowest rate since acquiring Peyton Manning.[+]
Broncos Rush Percentages - Last 3 Seasons
Jarvis Landry: First Dolphins rookie with 5 receiving TD in a season since Chris Chambers had 7 in 2001
Peyton Manning threw 4 touchdown passes with no interceptions against the Dolphins, the 18th time he's done that in a game in his career. That breaks a tie with Tom Brady and Drew Brees for the most such games in NFL history.[+]
C.J. Anderson rushed for a career-high 167 yards Sunday, including 130 yards before contact, the most by any player in a game this season and more than Anderson's combined total in his first 10 games this season (125).
The Broncos scored their 7th offensive touchdown on a play in the final 2 minutes of the first half this season, extending their NFL lead.
The Broncos entered Week 12 at 2-for-9 on 4th down conversions (22%), the worst conversion percentage in the NFL. They converted a crucial 4th-and-2 play to end the third quarter and scored less than a minute into the 4th quarter.
Peyton Manning completed 24-of-26 passes for 165 yards and all 4 of his touchdowns on throws fewer than 15 yards downfield Sunday, including 9-of-11 for 66 yards and 3 touchdowns targeting Demaryius Thomas. Manning's 92.3% completion percentage on such throws is the third-highest by any quarterback in a game this season. Manning completed all 22 of his passes thrown 5 yards or fewer downfield Sunday, the most such attempts in a game without an incompletion since 2006. The Dolphins had allowed the lowest completion percentage (25.3%) and Total QBR (22.6) in the NFL on throws at least 15 yards downfield entering Sunday.
ESPN Stats & Information