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Isaiah McKenzie, Broncos’ rookie returner, fumbles away his second chance

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Isaiah McKenzie got a second shot as the punt returner for the Broncos on Sunday. It didn’t go well.

The rookie fifth-round pick, who lost his job after muffing a punt that was recovered by the Patriots last month — his second such play of the season — returned to the role against the Dolphins after being inactive the previous two weeks. The Broncos had turned to Jordan Taylor, who played the position without incident, in games against the Bengals and Raiders.

McKenzie’s performance had been nondescript (three fair catches) until late in the fourth quarter. He compounded the cardinal sin of catching a punt at the 2-yard line by losing the ball. Miami linebacker Chase Allen dislodged it from his hands. McKenzie could do little but dive on the ball in the end zone for a safety, the second of the game surrendered by the Broncos.

The mistake by McKenzie was hardly the only problem for Denver’s maligned special teams. The Broncos had a punt blocked and gave up an average of 15.3 yards on four punt returns by Miami’s Jakeem Grant. Miami also recovered an onside kick.

“That’s what we expect from our special teams,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “We’ve invested a lot of time, we’ve invested our resources into that area, and we want to be dominant at special teams.”

Injury update. The Broncos held their collective breath in the first half Sunday when all-pro linebacker Von Miller had to be attended to by trainers as he lay on the field. The trainers appeared to stretch out Miller’s legs, and he soon returned to the game. Miller said afterward he was suffering from cramps.

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