Broncos players: Adam Gase's onside kick attempt was jab at former team

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Many of the Denver Broncos' players believe that Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase has a long memory.

With a 33-9 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in what became a 35-9 victory over the Broncos at Hard Rock Stadium, Gase elected to attempt an onside kick that the Dolphins recovered. The Broncos' defense forced a three-and-out, but rookie Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a punt, and the ball went through the Broncos' end zone for a safety.

Following the game, many Broncos players pointed to both their time with Gase as a Broncos assistant coach as well as Gase's exit following the 2014 season, when Gary Kubiak was hired as the team's coach.

"He's mad at somebody in this organization,'' Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. " ... It looked like he was trying to embarrass us. But I guess that what happens, they haven't won too many games, a big game for them. Guess he wanted to take it personal and guess he still had some bad blood left over from before.''

"I was pissed,'' Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett said.

"Gase is a savage,'' Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. " ... He loves to win, he loves to embarrass you. That doesn't surprise you.''

Many in the locker believe it all stemmed from the weeks after the Broncos were ousted from the playoffs to close out the 2014 season, when they were upset, at home, by the Indianapolis Colts in a divisional round game. Shortly after that game, Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway fired John Fox.

Current Broncos coach Vance Joseph and Gary Kubiak were then the leading candidates for the job, and Elway chose Kubiak. Gase, who was hired by the Broncos in 2009 as the wide receivers coach, was the team's offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. The Broncos set a single-season scoring record in 2013, with 606 points as Peyton Manning also set single-season records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdown passes (55), with Gase calling the plays.

"It's 60 minutes,'' Gase said after Sunday's game. "I'm not going to slow down. I don't care what the score is."

Broncos coach Vance Joseph, who was Gase's defensive coordinator for the Dolphins last season, said simply, "That's his choice ... that's his choice.''

"He's not wrong,'' Sanders said. "If that's what he wants to do, to run up the score and give his team confidence ... he can do that as a head coach.''

The Broncos' offensive players, who had far more contact with Gase during his time in Denver, said they understood Gase's thinking more than many of the team's defensive players.

"That's Gase. He was my receivers coach ... and that's Gase,'' Demaryius Thomas said. "The way I guess he left the Denver Broncos, he wasn't satisfied, so he went onside. He kicked the onside, and he got it, and he was happy about it. He got them a win, and we still trying to find one.''

"That's Goose, man,'' running back C.J. Anderson said. "He sees blood in the water, he's just going to attack it.''