Another loss compounded by more injuries

The Denver Broncos' problems keep getting worse. They have lost four of five games, suffered another serious injury on defense, and the offense is beat up as well.

Denver's 26-17 loss against Miami was another significant blow to the team, which started 3-0.

"We're definitely struggling right now, there's no secret about it," receiver Brandon Marshall said. "I think everybody in the National Football League sees it, our fans see it, and we need to ... I don't know what we need. But we're definitely struggling right now."

The biggest blow for the Broncos might have been a knee injury to linebacker D.J. Williams. Williams injured the MCL in his left knee in the fourth quarter and will miss some time. Rookie Wesley Woodyard and Louis Green are the candidates to replace him.

Denver's defense will be without cornerback Champ Bailey for a few more weeks with a groin injury and linebacker Boss Bailey will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Denver's defense played better against Miami, holding the Dolphins to only 2.6 yards per rushing attempt. But late in the game, when Denver needed a stop, Miami went on a 15-play, 80-yard drive.

The Broncos offense was a bigger problem against the Dolphins. They have not scored 20 points in a game since September, after a torrid start to the season. Quarterback Jay Cutler has really struggled lately. He threw three interceptions against Miami. Two led to short drives and field goals, one was returned for a touchdown.

"You have good games and bad games as a quarterback," Cutler said. "This was (a) bad game."

Denver rushed for only 14 yards, the second-lowest total in franchise history. Michael Pittman re-injured a stinger he suffered two weeks ago against New England, and questioned whether he could play this week, or when he might be able to play again. The Broncos play Thursday against Cleveland, so they don't have long to get injury replacements ready to go.

Denver is still in first place in the AFC West at 4-4, but in a deep slump. The players have a quick turnaround this week and a lot of injuries, but they said they wanted a chance to play again as soon as possible and put forth a better performance.

"You've always got a chance to redeem yourself, but there's going to come a time when we don't have any more chances," Marshall said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Anytime you lose, you want to get on the field as soon as possible. It'll be good to get back out there." -- Broncos WR Brandon Stokley.

BY THE NUMBERS: 116 -- Fullback Peyton Hillis became the third running back in Broncos history to get 100 receiving yards in a game when he had 116 against Miami. Hillis was a good receiver in college at Arkansas, and he can add a different dimension to the Broncos offense going forward. He earlier lost his job to Spencer Larsen but was back in the lineup for Sunday's game. With the Broncos offense struggling, they can use another playmaker, and Hillis looked like he can be a weapon depending on matchups.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--DE Jarvis Moss had two sacks in what may have been a bit of a breakout game. Moss had one-and-a-half sacks before Sunday's game.

--WR Brandon Marshall had only two catches for 27 yards against Miami. He is facing constant double teams from opponents. However, his numbers would have looked better had he not been flagged for a pass-interference call on a 77-yard touchdown.

--TE Tony Scheffler was inactive for the third straight game with a groin injury. There's a chance he could return this week against Cleveland.

--CB Karl Paymah had Denver's first interception since Oct. 5 with his third-quarter pick against Miami. Paymah started for injured Champ Bailey.

--CB Josh Bell was the Broncos' nickel cornerback against Miami ahead of rookie Jack Williams. Bell was signed off the practice squad in the week leading up to the game.



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