The Chargers (4-6) fell to the Miami Dolphins (5-4) 31-24 Sunday in another game that fans will want to forget about as soon as possible. The Bolts once again held the lead late in the fourth quarter, and right when the Chargers looked to have turned it around, they lose because of late turnovers.
Philip Rivers might have had the worst games of his career, definitely the worst fourth quarter, throwing four interceptions in the final period, one of them leading to the game-winning touchdown. The Chargers sorely missed Travis Benjamin, and when Miami sold out to stop the run, the Bolts didn’t have the pass-protection or talent at receiver to make them pay.
The game started out slowly with both teams punting on their first two possessions but the Chargers couldn’t capitalize on two early fumbles, letting the Dolphins recover both.
The Chargers would open the scoring on a Josh Lambo field goal set up by two Miami penalties and a 19-yard Melvin Gordon run. After forcing a third Miami punt the Chargers would add to their lead as Rivers would find Gates on consecutive plays the second being an 11-yard touchdown to put San Diego on top 10-0.
The Dolphins would get into a rhythm offensively on their next drive and would score their first points of the game as Ryan Tannehill delivered a 39-yard strike to Kenny Stills in the end zone, taking a huge hit as he released the ball. The Dolphins would hold the Chargers on the next drive to end a quiet first half with the score 10-7 Chargers.
The third quarter started exactly opposite of the first as Miami would get off to a fast start going 75 yards on their first drive sprung by a 40-yard run by Jay Ajayi, and Damien Williams finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Now trailing 14-10, the Chargers uses a long balanced drive get down to the goal line and on 3rd-and-goal from the Miami 7-yard line Rivers found tight end Hunter Henry in the back right corner of the end zone to reclaim the lead.
The lead would not last very long, however, as Ryan Tannehill made one of the plays of the game scrambling for 18 yards on 3rd-and-11, after almost being taken down for a sack on an inexcusable play by the San Diego defense. This would keep the drive alive and the Dolphins would find success on another third down as Tannehill found Damien Williams matched up on Kyle Emmanuel, an outside linebacker playing inside, and exposed them for an 18-yard touchdown pass to give them a 21-17 lead going into the fourth.
The Chargers would catch a huge break to start the fourth quarter as Dolphins punt returner Jakeem Grant mishandled his second punt of the day, but this time the Chargers were all over it, recovering at the 5-yard line of Miami. Any momentum thought to be gained by the Chargers didn’t last very long as they did the only thing they could not do as Philip Rivers tried to force a ball into double-coverage in the end zone and his pass was intercepted.
After forcing another Miami punt, the Chargers took their next drive into field goal range before Philip Rivers once again made a bad throw, this time on first down, and was picked again, failing again to put points on the board.
Credit the Chargers defense as once again they would get the ball back to their offense in only three plays, and this time they cashed in. Tyrell Williams never seemed to be on the same page as Philip Rivers, but still came through with the biggest play of the game catching a lofted pass from Rivers, weaving through the defense and pulling away for a 51-yard touchdown catch to give the Bolts a 24-21 lead with 4:04 remaining.
Down by three, the Dolphins needed only one play to get into field goal range as Ryan Tannehill again stepped up into heavy pressure and delivered a 56-yard bomb to Devonte Parker, and they would tack on 15 more for a roughing the passer. San Diego’s defense stood strong again, holding Miami to only three and not surrendering the lead.
The game was tied at 24 a piece, and Philip Rivers received the ball with 2:57 remaining needing only a field goal to take the lead. Even with Rivers’ struggles the Chargers elected to keep on throwing, and after Melvin Gordon almost put them in field goal range to possibly win the game the worst possible scenario came true. On 2nd-and-10, coming off of their last timeout, Rivers faced heavy pressure from the Dolphins and failed to see Kiko Alonso drop back in front of Tyrell Williams and he intercepted the ball easily and there was no-one left to stop him as he returned it 60 yards putting the Dolphins up seven with a touchdown.
Now missing the wasted timeouts, the Chargers had a chance with 1:01 remaining to tie the game but as three of the previous four drives went, this on also ended in an interception, his fourth of the quarter, sealing the victory for Miami and leaving one of the all-time great quarterbacks scratching his head.
The Chargers injuries definitely caught up to them in this one, and with the other two AFC West teams winning in dramatic fashion, the hope for a playoff push seems to have to come to an end. The team will now have a bye week to try and recover some of their lost players, but it might be too little too late for the Chargers, but they will not give up as I’m positive even after a four-interception game, Philip Rivers still believes he can lead his team to a 6-game winning streak.