The San Diego Chargers squeaked out another win over an inferior team by defeating the Miami Dolphins 26-16 to improve their record to 3-1. Philip Rivers threw for one touchdown and had no interceptions for the first time this year and Nick Novak had four field goals to lead the Chargers to the victory over the 0-4 Dolphins.
Miami Dolphins who came into the game winless was able to open the scoring when Lex Hilliard scored on a 1 yard run to give Miami a 7-0 lead. Once again the San Diego defense is not playing up to their capabilities or maybe they are just not that good. The Miami drive started at the Dolphins eight and they went on an 11 play, 92 yard scoring drive. During the drive Miami lost their starting quarterback Chad Henne to a shoulder injury, but Matt Moore stepped in and led Miami to the touchdown. San Diego answered back just 1:12 later to tie the score at 7-7. Philip Rivers spotted Vincent Jackson wide open and he stretched out to make a great catch and had time to get up and run into the end zone for a 55 yard touchdown reception. It took just 3 plays for San Diego to even the score and take the momentum away from Miami.
The second quarter turned out to be a field goal fest with San Diego kicking two field goals and Miami splitting the uprights one time. San Diego took a halftime lead of 13-10 as they had a couple of long drives, but had to settle for Nick Novak field goals.
San Diego favored to win this game easily was able to score a touchdown on their first possession of the third quarter to open up a 10 point lead. The big play of the drive was when Ryan Mathews caught a screen pass from Rivers and rambled all the way down to the Miami 5 yard line for a 42 yard pass and run play. Three plays later Mike Tolbert ran it in from the one yard line and San Diego had a 20-10 lead on an 8 play, 54 yard drive. Miami refuses to go away and keeps the game close as they get a 37 yard field goal from Dan Carpenter to narrow the score to 20-13 on an 8 play, 61 yard drive. San Diego countered with a field goal of their own as they are having trouble finishing off drives having to settle for field goals. Nick Novak kicked a 23 yard field goal to once again give San Diego a 10 point lead at 23-13. San Diego looks like they are slowly taking control of the game as they are getting the run game going and the Miami defense is starting to fade.
In the fourth quarter the teams traded field goals and San Diego won the game 26-16. Once again San Diego escaped with a victory, but did not look very impressive considering they were playing against a winless team that was playing with their backup quarterback. When they start playing tougher competition they won’t be able to get wins if they continue to play like this.
Antonio Gates did not play for the second consecutive game with a foot injury and Vincent Jackson played sparingly in the second half with an abdominal injury.
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Written by Kevin Kelly