Following a touchback by the Dolphins, the Chargers took the field in their powder blues. Austin Ekeler got the first carry of the game and picked up a short gain going from left to right. On the next play, Keenan Allen motioned into the backfield and with time to throw, Philip Rivers found Lance Kendricks down the seam to the left side for a big gain. With Ekeler and Troymaine Pope both in the backfield, Rivers handed off to Pope who went for 8 yards. Allen motioned across the formation on 2nd down, and Dontrelle Inman got open across the middle to move the sticks. Tyrod Taylor took the next snap with Rivers lined up wide and a short run play was wiped out by a Dan Feeney holding penalty. With Allen in motion again, Rivers surveyed the field then checked down to Ekeler who got back to the original line of scrimmage for an 8-yard gain. Geremy Davis got his first action of the game on the next play picking up 6 on a crossing route. On 3rd & 4, nobody was able to get open and a pass to Kendricks was knocked down by the defense. Ty Long’s first field goal attempt of the day was good, but it was wiped away by a delay of game. He attempted again from 5 yards farther away, but he was just as true.
Chargers 3 - 0 Dolphins
After a touchback, Josh Rosen and company took the field. A quick swing pass to Kenyan Drake picked up 8. An illegal formation penalty moved them back 5 yards. Kalen Ballage took a handoff up the middle for a 6-yard gain to set up a 3rd & manageable situation that was converted after a lucky tipped pass landed in the lap of a Dolphins receiver who was laying on the ground. A goofy trick play by the Dolphins then ended in a 1-yard loss. That was then followed by a 34-yard touchdown pass to Devante Parker who could not have been more wide open. It gave the Dolphins their first lead of the season.
Chargers 3 - 7 Dolphins
Keenan Allen saw his first target of the game and picked up 5 yards. With both Ekeler and Derek Watt leaking out of the backfield, Rivers connected with Watt who picked up the 1st down and more before a personal foul tacked on 15 more. Ekeler tried to bounce his next run outside but the defense played it well and stopped him for a short gain. Ekeler got the call again on 2nd down, but he was able to make a defender miss this time and picked up 6 to set up 3rd & 3. Kendricks managed to get open again over the middle and hauled in a Rivers pass for another 1st down. Pope got another carry and took what was given picking up only 2. Rivers was flushed from the pocket, rolled left, and when the defender left Pope to rush him, Rivers flipped the ball to Pope who easily scored to put the Chargers back on top.
Chargers 10 - 7 Dolphins
After kicking off, Ty Long appeared to limp off the field. Kenyan Drake saw back-to-back carries picking up 8 yards. Illegal contact by Thomas Davis moved the sticks on 3rd down. A screen pass to Drake picked up 19. Drake got the call again on 1st down and picked up another 4 to end the 1st quarter. The Dolphins started the 2nd quarter with Drake carrying again for another 5 yards. Drake, again, rushed for another 1st down. A holding penalty on the Dolphins gave the Chargers defense a reprieve wiping away another solid run by Kalen Ballage. Rosen went after Michael Davis who got a hand on the ball, but Preston Williams came down with it anyway for a 12-yard gain. An offside penalty on the next play gave the Dolphins 2nd & 3. The run defense finally showed up stopping Ballage for a short gain. Davis broke on another pass on 3rd down, but he was flagged for pass interference this time. It was a questionable call, but it was also a new set of downs. On 1st and goal, Rayshawn Jenkins made a tackle for loss. On 2nd down, Ballage was open for what would have been a likely touchdown, but he dropped the pass to give Rosen his first incompletion. Drake got open in the end zone, but Rosen couldn’t put the ball where Drake could keep his feet in bounds. The Dolphins opted to try a field goal which they converted to tie the game.
Chargers 10 - 10 Dolphins
Desmond King returned the kickoff to the 25, but an illegal block in the back put the Bolts inside their own 9. A quick pass to Ekeler against zone coverage picked up 7 and got them out of the shadow of their own goal post. The offense lined up heavy to telegraph a run, then ran right into the teeth of the defense which shockingly stopped the play for a loss. Facing a potentially disastrous 3-and-out, Rivers took the snap from shotgun and waited for Allen to come open deep over the middle. Allen caught the pas and got down for an easy pitch-and-catch 1st down. Allen’s defender fell down after contact and Allen took a short pass the distance for a score, but that contact resulted in a pass interference call that brought it back. The defender initiated the contact, but because Allen lowered his shoulder, the flag was thrown. On 1st and 20, Davis caught a pass over the middle for a gain of 19. On 2nd & 1, Ekeler easily crossed the line to gain and a stupid penalty by the Dolphins added 15 more. After a botched snap, a pulling Feeney was able to fall on the ball to retain possession. A wide receiver screen to Allen was good for 5 and a more manageable 3rd down. Rivers found an open Dontrelle Inman, but Inman could not hold onto the ball. The play was initially ruled a catch, but Miami quickly challenged it and it was corrected to incomplete. Since they were in no-man’s land, Anthony Lynn opted to go for it on 4th down. Rivers was hit as he threw and the pass fell incomplete. To add insult to injury, Trent Scott gifted the Dolphins an additional 15 yards with an illegal hands to the face penalty.
After a 3-yard rush to start the drive, Rosen dropped back to pass and had all day before he found Mark Walton. On 3rd down, Rosen again had all the time in the world before he hit Isaiah Ford for a fresh set of downs. Walton rushed for another 3 yards on 1st down. Williams got open over the middle, but dropped a pass that hit him in stride to force 3rd & 7. Bradley blitzed Rosen and he just chucked the ball as far as he could to get rid of it. Jason Sanders came on to attempt a 50-yard field goal which he mercifully missed wide right.
Ekeler got the first carry of the ensuing drive and ran through contact to pick up 8. On 2nd & 2, he was met at the line of scrimmage again, but was unable to break free that time. On 3rd & 1, they gave him the rock again and he plowed through the line for 1st down. After the 2-minute warning, Rivers went back to Ekeler through the air and he got past the sticks and out of bounds to stop the clock. Pope got the target on the next play as they tried a screen to the right side, but Pope was stopped after a short gain. The next snap had nobody open and Rivers threw the ball away. Andre Patton caught a short pass to the left of the formation after coming all the way across the field and he was able to get upfield for a 1st down. As the pocket collapsed, Rivers stepped up, but kept his eyes downfield and found Ekeler who took the short pass all the way to the endzone for 6 points.
Chargers 17 - 10 Dolphins
The Dolphins attempted to return the ensuing kickoff and made it to the 23. Rosen took over with 37 seconds and 3 timeouts to work with. Drake took the handoff and gained 6 before ducking out of bounds. Jakeem Grant saw his first target of the day and escaped out of bounds after getting beyond the sticks. Parker caught another short pass and picked up another 1st down while getting out of bounds. Parker got the call again and went up for the ball and came down with another 1st down. Miami called a timeout to stop the clock with 14 seconds remaining. King and Bosa met at the quarterback on the next play for a sack and forced Miami to burn another timeout. After having success bringing pressure, Bradley dropped everyone into coverage and gave Rosen time to pick up the yards needed to get in field goal range because that’s what he does. Sanders came on to try from 52 yards. Lynn elected to call a timeout to try to ice the kicker, but really just gave him a practice kick. It did not matter because he missed again to the right to end the 1st half.
Miami got the ball to start the 2nd half and immediately went back to Kenyan Drake who responded with a 7-yard rush. On the next play, he got the ball again and crossed the line to gain, but he fumbled the ball. Miami recovered, and Uchenna Nwosu was slow to get up. Walton came in for Drake and rushed for 8 on his first carry but was met in the backfield by Perryman on his next try. Miami tried to run a screen, but the entire defense recognized it and when Rosen tucked it and tried to run they were able to bring him down. Miami’s punt went for 57 yards when King elected not to field it.
On 1st & 2nd down, Ekeler got stoned in the backfield to force 3rd & 9. Philip Rivers came up huge again, though, and hit Inman for a 1st down near the left sideline. Ekeler rushed to the right and picked up 9, but a penalty against Allen for a blindside block took it away. On 1st & 21, Ken Whisenhunt called a pointless run up the middle with Pope. On 2nd & 21, Rivers threw a perfect pass to Allen who came up just a yard short of the sticks. On 3rd & 1, they lined up in shotgun, motioned Inman across the formation, and Ekeler took a quick handoff right up the middle where he broke a tackle and picked up a nice gain and the 1st. Hit in the backfield again on 1st down, Ekeler fought forward for 5 yards. Rivers handled a high snap and looked left for Inman who was open by nearly 5 yards. Pope took the handoff and cut up field quickly for a 7-yard gain on 1st down. Ekeler took a pitch on an endaround on the next play and worked around a Sean Culkin block for the 1st down. Pope’s next carry was stopped at the line where he was met by Christian Wilkins. Ekeler got the ball again, this time through the air, and he picked up the 1st and more before being tackled out of bounds. Pope took another handoff where there was zero room to run and this time could not even make it to the line of scrimmage. Afterward, Rivers burned his second timeout of the drive. After a play fake, Taco Charlton got to Rivers who has been pressured all season. On 3rd & 19, Rivers took the snap from shotgun and tried to float a pass to Patton who was well-covered, and the pass fell incomplete. Long then came on to try a 45-yard field goal, which he easily converted.
Chargers 20 - 10 Dolphins
After a hold on the kickoff, Miami started on their own 8. Pressue from Bosa forced a throwaway by Rosen. Drake got the handoff on the next play and despite eluding multiple tackles, he was stopped for a loss. On 3rd & 12, Bradley rushed only 4, but they got immediate pressure and King brought late pressure to nearly force a safety and bring on Miami’s punting unit. It looked like a safety, but the Chargers were unwilling to challenge having wasted two timeouts on their previous drive.
After a holding penalty on the punt return, Los Angeles took over on their own side of the 50. They quickly crossed midfield, though, with a back shoulder fade to Inman. Ekeler picked up a tough 2 yards running wide left. On 2nd & 8, Inman made a very tough catch in traffic while being interfered with. The penalty was declined and Inman was slow to get up before being checked on by the training staff on the field. On the next play, Culkin appeared to suffer an injury while going up for another Rivers pass. He came up with it, but he also had to be helped off the field. Ekeler got the carry inside the 5 was stopped at about the 3. This time, a Dolphins player had to be checked on by the trainers. The Chargers tried to get tricky on 2nd down and ultimately dumped the ball off to Allen who barely got across the line of scrimmage. The Chargers then had to burn their final timeout with over 11 minutes left in regulation. Coming out of the timeout, the Dolphins had to call one of their own because they had the wrong personnel on the field. Taking the handoff out of shotgun, Ekeler punched the ball in for another touchdown and essentially iced the game.
Chargers 27 - 10 Dolphins
Grant received the kickoff at the goal line and was able to return it to the 29. Miami tried another screen, but Nwosu stopped it after a 3-yard gain. On 2nd own, Michael Davis stepped in front of another Rosen pass and this time he hauled it in for an interception.
The offense took over in plus territory and went back to feeding Ekeler who continued to look unstoppable with runs of 4 and 9 yards respectively before Pope got the next carry and picked up another 4. Pope’s next carry lost 2 yards, though, and put them in 3rd & 8. Rivers tried to go for it all, but he overthrew Patton deep down the right sideline. Long then came on to try a 51-yard field goal. He absolutely drilled it to convert.
Chargers 30 - 10 Dolphins
Down 20, the Dolphins took over on offense. Walton got a carry and easily rushed for a 1st down. Walton then took a swing pass for 7 more yards. On 2nd down, Bradley blitzed Rosen again and again he just threw the ball away. Unable to get to Rosen on 3rd down, the defense allowed a new set of downs on a short pass to the offense’s left. Williams caught another pass underneath and picked up 4. Miami then tried to run it up the middle again and the defense held strong forcing 3rd & 5. Bradley dialed up another blitz and they sacked Rosen and forced a fumble that the Dolphins recovered. It was King’s third sack of the day (well, 2.5). All the Dolphins could manage on 4th down was throwing a short pass that was nowhere near close to picking up the yards needed.
Tyrod Taylor came back on the field for the next drive, this time because the game was over. Taylor handed off to Pope and the clock continued to run. On the next play, Pope ran into Taylor, reversed field, then still somehow got across the line of scrimmage for positive yardage. On 3rd & 6, Taylor dropped back to pass and hit Patton for a 1st down. With that 1st down, the Chargers were able to go into victory formation.
Final Score: Chargers 30 - 10 Dolphins