<
>

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 39-36 loss Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

What it means: The Dolphins suffered their second loss in three games to fall to 6-5. They blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Broncos (8-3) scored 22 straight points in the final period until the Dolphins scored a late touchdown. The 39 points allowed also was the highest amount this season by Miami's defense. The Dolphins are falling behind in a deep wild-card race in the AFC. It most likely will take 10 victories to make the playoffs and the Dolphins need to go 4-1 the rest of the way to hit that mark.

Stock watch: Miami's offense has been notorious for its slow starts. But the group's stock is rising after coming out hot and producing three touchdown drives for its highest-scoring first half of the season. The Dolphins registered 212 yards of total offense in the first two quarters. They also had a season-high 90 rushing yards in the first half, and the early production was needed against Denver’s explosive offense. As far as stock down, Miami's defense didn't play well. The front seven allowed 201 rushing yards and Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas lit up the secondary with 10 receptions for 87 yards and three touchdowns.

Key injuries: Miami suffered two important injuries. Starting left tackle Ja'Wuan James suffered a shoulder stinger in the first half and didn't return. Starting cornerback Jamar Taylor also suffered a shoulder injury in the second half and didn't finish the game.

Game ball: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went head-to-head against Broncos star Peyton Manning and never flinched. Tannehill threw for 228 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a losing effort. Tannehill also led the team to five touchdowns in five red zone trips. The Dolphins entered the game ranked No. 30 in red zone efficiency.

What's next: With their brutal November schedule now behind them, the Dolphins will begin the final month of the season with a must-win game against the New York Jets (2-8) on "Monday Night Football." This will be the Dolphins' second and final prime-time game of the season. They beat the Buffalo Bills 22-9 on Thursday night in Week 11.