Broncos 10

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Dolphins 34

(1-0, 1-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 11, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
DEN 0 3 0 710
MIA 3 3 7 2134

Top Performers

Passing: G. Frerotte (MIA) - 275 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Chambers (MIA) - 1 CAR, 61 YDS

Receiving: M. Booker (MIA) - 5 REC, 104 YDS, 1 TD

Broncos routed; all-time record in Miami is 0-7

MIAMI (AP) -- When the Miami Dolphins scored their first touchdown for new coach Nick Saban, he celebrated by pacing the sideline with a stoic expression.

Randy McMichael strutted into end zone with the score, Jason Taylor jumped for joy and Gus Frerotte did a jig. But Saban kept his game face, well aware that one touchdown -- and one win -- is merely a start.

It was over when ...
the Dolphins responded immediately to a Broncos' fourth-quarter TD that cut the lead to 10. On Miami's next play from scrimmage, Gus Frerotte threw a 60-yard scoring pass to Marty Booker, putting the Dolphins ahead 27-10.
Game ball goes to ...
Frerotte. He rewarded the Dolphins' confidence in making him the starter by completing 24 of 36 passes for 275 yards and two TDs.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen I wasn't very surprised by the Dolphins' effort against the Broncos because they always play well at home early in the season. Last season was an aberration because the rug on their offensive plan was pulled from under them with the retirement of RB Ricky Williams. They seem to have settled the quarterback situation and Gus Frerotte has faith in his receivers, especially his tight end. The Dolphins' backs as a whole were effective and were able to pound the ball against the Broncos. -- Eric Allen

Frerotte led a creative offense by throwing for 275 yards, Taylor returned a fumble 85 yards for a score and Miami successfully kicked off the Saban era by routing the Denver Broncos 34-10 Sunday.

"It's important how you respond to good things and bad things," Saban said. "We should enjoy this for 24 hours, but this is one game in a long season."

It was a long day for the Broncos. They lost cornerback Champ Bailey and running back Mike Anderson to injuries, wilted in the 90-degree South Florida heat and fell to 0-7 in Miami.

"We knew it was going to be difficult to come in here and deal with the elements in their backyard," said coach Mike Shanahan, now 10-3 in season openers with Denver and Oakland.

Frerotte, starting his first game for his sixth NFL team, went 24-for-36 with touchdown passes of 2 yards to McMichael and 60 yards to Marty Booker. Receiver Chris Chambers ran 61 yards on a reverse to set up a field goal, and the defense did the rest.

Taylor punctuated the victory on the final play by knocking the ball out of Jake Plummer's grasp, scooping up the fumble and sprinting for a touchdown.

"The longest 20 seconds of my life," the weary Taylor joked. It was his fifth fumble return for a score, tying the NFL record set by Jessie Tuggle.

The game was 20 minutes old before Plummer completed a pass on his seventh attempt, and the Broncos' lone touchdown was set up by a fumbled punt. Miami mounted a goal-line stand in the second quarter to protect a 6-0 lead, stopping the Broncos five consecutive times after they had a first down at the 3.

It was a lot to cheer about for Miami fans who endured a 4-12 record in 2004, the Dolphins' first losing year since 1988. The dismal season led to the hiring of Saban.

"He came in and did things his way," McMichael said. "And his way works."

The Dolphins took little time to fulfill Saban's pledge for a more imaginative offense. On their second possession, Chambers took a handoff from Ronnie Brown on a reverse and dashed down the sideline, accompanied by a convoy of blockers including Frerotte. That set up a field goal.

The first touchdown came with a new wrinkle: Defensive end Taylor lined up as a tight end and took two defenders with him to clear out the flat for McMichael, who caught the scoring pass.

Saban allowed himself a grin during his postgame news conference.

"I'm really pleased for the players," he said. "They've suffered a little bit over the last year or so. They all wanted to prove something, and I'm happy we could help them do that."

The Dolphins occasionally looked as self-destructive as last season. Five false-start penalties in the opening half prompted boos by the crowd, and twice they failed to convert a fourth-and-1.

But as often happens in early season games in Miami, the visitors wilted in the sweltering weather. Denver cornerbacks Darrent Williams and Lenny Walls went to the sideline with cramps, and the Dolphins scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions in the second half.

"We're in this heat for 2½ hours every day, and we used it to our advantage today," McMichael said.

On the goal-line stand, two carries by Tatum Bell went for no gain, stopped by Zach Thomas. After an offside penalty on Miami, Plummer again threw incomplete. Bell was stopped for a 1-yard loss by Thomas and Taylor on fourth down.

"We got beat in all phases," Plummer said. "It's one game. We're all running out of here mad, but there are 15 more games."

Game notes

Anderson, who missed all of last season with a groin injury, departed in the first quarter with bruised ribs. Pro Bowl cornerback Bailey left in the third quarter with a separated left shoulder. ... The crowd was announced as a sellout at 72,324, but actual attendance was about 55,000. ... The Dolphins' point total was their highest since beating Detroit in the 2002 opener 49-21.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1921
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6969
Total Yards312426
Yards per play4.56.2
Total Drives1412
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-40-4
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

miaFG5:54Olindo Mare 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 69 yds, 3:49
miaFG12:39Olindo Mare 36 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 74 yds, 9:00
denFG2:00Jason Elam 19 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 32 yds, 2:22
miaTD4:52Randy McMichael, 2 yd pass from Gus Frerotte (Olindo Mare kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 56 yds, 4:18
miaTD13:17Sammy Morris, 9 yd run (Olindo Mare kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 68 yds, 10:17
denTD9:24Kyle Johnson, 2 yd pass from Jake Plummer (Jason Elam kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 43 yds, 3:37
miaTD9:19Marty Booker, 60 yd pass from Gus Frerotte (Olindo Mare kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 60 yds, 0:00
miaTD0:04Jason Taylor, 85 yd fumble return (Olindo Mare kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yds, 2:02