DENVER (AP) — Justin Simmons intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass in the end zone with 63 seconds left Sunday, sealing the Denver Broncos’ 20-13 win over the Miami Dolphins.
The Broncos (4-6) not only prevented Tua Tagovailoa from becoming just the second rookie in the past 40 years to win his first four starts but they sacked him a half-dozen times and knocked him from the game in the fourth quarter.
Although the Dolphins (6-4) didn’t announce an injury to Tagovailoa before game’s end, the lefty walked gingerly to the sideline after his final sack, by Bradley Chubb.
On the play, Tagovailoa’s left leg bent awkwardly and guard Solomon Kindley stepped on Tagovailoa’s right foot.
Fitzpatrick entered the game with the Dolphins down 10 points and drove them to a field goal that made it a one-score deficit.
The Dolphins, who had won five in a row, had a chance to tie it after they turned away the Broncos at their 1.
Melvin Gordon was just about to score his third touchdown of the game when linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel atoned for a pair of penalties on the previous play by punching the ball loose at the 1. Safety Eric Rowe recovered.
Fitzpatrick completed 12 of 18 passes for 117 yards — better than Tagovailoa’s line of 11-for-20 for 83 — but Simmons intercepted his underthrown pass in the end zone after he’d driven the Dolphins from their 1 to the Broncos 15-yard line.
The Broncos ran out the clock with Drew Lock completing a 61-yard pass to Tim Patrick on fourth-and-14 from his 16, a play that began with 4 seconds remaining.
Lock completed 18 of 30 passes for 270 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He started despite missing practice time during the week because of bruised ribs.
Linebacker Elandon Roberts stuffed Gordon a few inches shy of the first down on fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins 14 to open the second half, but Gordon scored from 20 yards on Denver’s next drive, putting the Broncos ahead 20-10 late in the third quarter.
Brandon McManus nailed a 47-yard field goal as the first half ended, sending the Broncos into the tunnel with a 13-10 lead.
The Broncos got off to another bad start, failing to score a touchdown on the opening drive for the 12th consecutive time when Lock threw his 11th interception of the season.
Xavien Howard stepped in front of Patrick and picked off his sixth pass of 2020, giving Miami the ball at the Denver 22.
It was Lock’s league-high sixth straight game with an interception and came on his second throw. He got the start over backup Brett Rypien after missing a day of practice with bruised ribs and a strained oblique courtesy of Arden Key’s blindside hit last week in Las Vegas.
Tagovailoa’s first career interception, by Simmons, two plays later was negated by A.J. Bouye’s holding call, and Bouye was beaten by DeVante Parker for a toe-tapping 3-yard touchdown catch that put Miami ahead 7-0.
The Broncos tied it on Gordon’s 1-yard run that capped their longest drive (six minutes) in more than a month and Denver took its first lead in three weeks on McManus’ 29-yarder.
A former teammate at Syracuse says running back great Floyd Little, who has cancer, has entered hospice care. The 78-year-old Little was known as “The Franchise” in Denver because his signing was credited with keeping the team from relocating in the 1960s and with persuading voters to approve funds to build the old Mile High Stadium.
Dolphins G Solomon Kindley (foot) left briefly but returned and Broncos S Trey Marshall (lower leg) got hurt.
Dolphins: visit the New York Jets on Nov. 29.
Broncos: host the New Orleans Saints Nov. 29.
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