That’s two games in this defining three-game road trip.
It’s also two losses.
The Los Angeles Chargers didn’t just beat the Dolphins 23-17. They raised other questions about this offence. Here are 10 thoughts on the night:
1. Course of the game: Fourth at the Chargers 1-yard line with 18 seconds to go. This was set up by a third-and-17 screen pass where a defense set up by the goal line failed to react, and Austin Ekeler took it for 16 yards. So, for the second time, the Chargers had fourth down near the goal line. The Dolphins stopped them on the Chargers’ first practice. On this one just before halftime, Ekeler went over the left tackle for the touchdown. Instead of the Chargers 10-7 halftime lead that would have seemed like good news for the Dolphins given their poor play, it was 17-7 at halftime and the Dolphins were fighting. uphill the rest of the night.
2. What happened to Tua Tagovailoa? He completed 10 of 28 passes for 145 yards and a 65.3 rating. Neither of those numbers are up to snuff for the second week in a row. Did he lose confidence missing open receivers against San Francisco that were carried over? Was it as simple as obstructing midfield with security to act as a border guard on Dolphins passing patterns? That’s what the Chargers’ understaffed defense did on Sunday. Something happened. Tua didn’t miss wide-open receivers on Sunday like he did in the San Francisco game. But he’s not the player he was in November, especially considering San Diego entered as the 30th-ranked defense and was short four starters since last week, including their most important player. in safety Derwin James. Those four don’t even involve the Pro Bowlers in defensive end Joey Bosa and cornerback JC Jackson, who have been out for weeks. One thing is certain, it will not be easier in Buffalo next Saturday. Can they pull off that 700 part reel again to remind Tagovailoa what he can do?
3. If this game has been moved on Sunday night television because of Tua and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, there was a clear winner. Tua struggled. Herbert played. He was also constantly under pressure by the Dolphins defense. He completed 39 of 51 passes for 367 yards and a rating of 102.1. And close the game? The Chargers got the ball at their 17-yard line with over 11 minutes left. Herbert headed them for 79 yards in 16 plays on a drive that ended at the Dolphins 6-yard line for a 28-yard field goal. He left the Dolphins down 23-14 with 2:40 left in the game. On the drive, Herbert completed 5 of 7 passes for 43 yards and ran for 10 yards.
4. Game statistics: Take any number from the Dolphins’ worst first half of the season. The Chargers had 16 first downs to the Dolphins’ five, 249 total yards to the Dolphins’ 47, and averaged 5.6 yards per play to the Dolphins’ 2.2. Cow cow.
5. Even the craziest game since the Miami Miracle filled with full-backs could not push the Dolphins to this victory. Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 6 yards midway through the second quarter and fumbled. Those 6 yards gave the Dolphins 13 total yards for the game up to that point. But this fumbling… oh, this fumbling. Tackle Terron Armstead came across it in a rugby scrum of players and intentionally or unintentionally kicked the ball to Tyreek Hill standing outside the pile. Could a rough night land a random stray ball better? Hill picked it up and did what he does best. He started running. The only thing missing was Rob Gronkowski diving for him on the goal line. No flatfooted charger was near Hilll at this time. He ran for 56 yards for the kind of fumble-rooski touchown that could have provided the spark.
6. Hill continued to offer his weekly portfolio as that team’s undisputed MVP on the night, he broke the Dolphins’ single-season receiving record. When the Chargers blitzed and put cornerback Michael Davis alone on Hill in the third quarter, it was no contest. Hill ran deep. Tua threw deep. And in one room, the Dolphins looked like the Dolphins again. They had 57 yards of attack in the first half. That touchdown lasted 60 yards. Oh, and one more thing: Hill was listed as doubtful to return at halftime due to an ankle injury. So he made this game on a healthy ankle. Earlier, with a first-quarter catch of 13 yards, Hill broke the team receiving record of 1,389 yards held by Mark Clayton since 1984. Now the race is on with Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson for the lead. the league. Hill had the lead by one yard before Sunday. Jefferson had a monster 11-catch, 223-yard game against Detroit.
7. The Dolphins defense failed had a lot of good days on the road this year. But they did their part on Sunday. They kept the Dolphins in this game with their constant pressure on Herbert. The Chargers are battered on the offensive line with both tackles and a guard, but their full playmaking roster was healthy on Sunday for the first time in a long time. Herbert was sacked twice and hit seven times in three quarters. Jaelan Phillips had a sack and a second taken away by a questionable passer-roughing penalty. The Chargers have been moving the ball all night. They had 106 yards in the third quarter, for example — but that was on four possessions and the Charges only got three points from it.
8. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins heads towards a big salary this offseason. The 2019 first-round pick entered Sunday ranked second in defensive tackles with 66 tackles after his 10-tackle game at San Francisco. He had nine more on Sunday, including six solo tackles. He also had a sack and two tackles for losses in the first quarter on Sunday to give him a career-high 14 for the season.
9. Sunday Quick Hits:
– The crowd was about 40% Dolphins fans on Sunday night, and you could hear them at different times.
– Kader Kohou can hit people for a cornerback.
– Mike White, who grew up in Pembroke Pines and went to college school, resembles the New York Jets prospect in a way that Zach Wilson does not.
“Maybe the Dolphins defense didn’t play so badly in San Francisco last week?” Brock Purdy completed 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and a 134 rating in a 35-7 win over Tampa Bay.
10. Next week: Dolphins in Buffalo. The AFC East lead is up for grabs in this game. The Dolphins beat Buffalo 21-19 on a scorching September day in South Florida. The first weather forecast for this rematch? It looks about the same as Sunday in the Bills’ 20-12 win over the Jets. There is a 58% chance that it will snow and/or rain depending on the temperature at the time. Saturday’s prediction calls for a high of 35 and a low of 28 – and expect the low as it is an overnight game. The wind should also be 18 mph. Once again, it is early and the weather is fine. It’s going to change – but mid-December in Buffalo doesn’t change much.