Charging Back: San Diego Chargers vs Miami Dolphins, 2011 Week 4

Stephen Dunn

Relive the last time the Chargers and Dolphins played each other, this game being week 4 of the 2011 season when the Chargers moved to 3-1 after a 26-16 victory.

All time Record: 12-12 Regular season, 2-2 Postseason

Notes: as of 1995, the Chargers were 12-7 all time before Miami won 7 straight until 2009 and 2011, where Chargers once again tied the record all time to 14-14. The last time San Diego scored more than 26 points against Miami was 20 years ago. This year, they average 24 points per game.

Chad Henne is 0-3 against the Chargers in his career (as the starter or participating QB). He's lost twice as the Dolphins quarterback and once as the Jaguars quarterback. He's actually never even scored against the Chargers. Although, he did throw a touchdown pass to Eric Weddle in 2009 when he came in for an injured Chad Pennington. In this game from two years ago, he would actually end up being replaced due to injury instead of replacing someone else due to injury. The Dolphins and/or Chad Henne have not had a good bill of health resulting from games against the Chargers. Let's break this one down.

As was typical from the Chargers offense in the post–2009 Norv era, they came out in perfect 3–and–out form. The Dolphins, having Chad Henne as their quarterback, decided to come out throwing. It didn't work well, and we saw then–rookie Marcus Gilchrist make a nice leaping interception to tease us with talent he's yet to consistently demonstrate.

Typical Chargers football ensued: when the bolts took over they went 3–and–out. The Dolphins came back out, and on a scramble from what looked like a busted play, Henne hurt his shoulder and left the game. Matt Moore came in for him and led Miami down the field where Lex Hilliard dove in for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 7-0 lead.

The Chargers quickly responded with a 55 yard bomb from Rivers to a wide open Vincent Jackson.

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The Dolphins punted on a stalled drive, and after getting the ball back, the Chargers again went deep to Vincent Jackson again (don't you miss those plays? I do) to get near the red zone.

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Eventually, the offense got to the 6 yard line before shooting themselves in the foot when Jeromey Clary got flagged for a personal foul that transformed a 2nd–and–goal from the 6, to a 2nd–and–goal from the 21. The Chargers would settle for a field goal to make it a 10-7 ballgame.

The Dolphins responded by punting away on a stalled drive and the Chargers went 3–and–out. San Diego's punt, however, got the Dolphins into field goal range before the half courtesy of a 22 yard return and another shot in the foot by Richard Goodman's personal foul penalty. Miami converted the field goal to tie the game at 10.

Thankfully, there was enough time for the Chargers and their two minute offense to get into field goal range, capped off by a 15–yard gallop by Philip Rivers to get them to a 13-10 lead.

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After halftime the Dolphins went 3–and–out and the Chargers responded with what looked to be another 3–and–out, but turned out to be a screen pass to Ryan Mathews that went for an awesome 42 yards.

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Mike Tolbert eventually leapt the line for the one yard touchdown and extended the lead to 20-10.

The teams then swapped field goals twice to get the score to 26-16, with the last field goal by Nick Novak coming after a 7–minute drive that left the Dolphins with just over 4 minutes in a two–score game. Eric Weddle, for the second consecutive game, sealed the game with an interception at the end.

This game was the fourth of the five consecutive games where Ryan Mathews had over 100 yards from scrimmage to start the 2011 season. He averaged 17 carries for 82 yards and 4 receptions for 52 yards in those games, good for 4.9 yards per rush and 13 yards per reception. That's impressive considering in the fifth game he had just one seven yard catch, (he had 24 carries for 125 yards against the Broncos). That's why we're mad at the lack of his usage this year. He's an offensive weapon that's barely used.

Miami's defense overall is solid this year, but their run defense is weak. Will Ryan Mathews get more than 15 touches? It would be smart to do so. Their defense is also weak covering tight ends. Could Ladarius Green get more touches? Let's just stop hoping until they hire John Fearless Leader as their common sense manager.

Prediction: Chargers 27 Dolphins 20

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