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Chargers given solid ‘B’ for performance in shootout vs. Dolphins

Overall, the Chargers weren’t bad against the Dolphins, just too one-sided and that cost them in the end.

LA Chargers and Miami Dolphins at Sofi Stadium. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Lost in the immense defensive debacle against the Dolphins was the complete turnaround of the Chargers rushing attack. They rushed for an eye-popping 234 yards on a whopping 40 carries, a true jump off from their 89.6 yards they averaged in 2022. The front five had their way with Miami all throughout the game, but 234 yards on the ground isn’t nearly as valuable as 466 through the air, the number which quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for in a historic night for the Miami offense.

In the end, they still had a chance, but Justin Herbert and the offense couldn’t muster any forward momentum on their final drive and ultimately turned it over on downs to fall 36-34 at home.

Overall, it was an impressive performance for a handful of positive reasons, but those were fairly washed out by the plethora of red flags and negative events, as well. In the end, CBS Sports NFL analyst decided to give the Chargers a solid “B” as a game grade for their performance on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s everything he had to say about the Bolts:

“They could’ve easily won this game, and Austin Ekeler deserves an “A” for his efforts alone. Joshua Kelley was also efficient for L.A.’s surprisingly dynamic rushing attack. But the red flags were perhaps even more jarring than those of Miami: Herbert committed a critical intentional-grounding penalty with the game on the line, the in-game coaching from Brandon Staley remained suspect, and it’s debatable at this point if Staley even intends to field a productive defense. The secondary was torched over and over. We just can’t fail them for going blow for blow in an offensive showcase.”

By the end of the game, one could have easily felt confused, believing the year was actually 2021 and not 2023 with the way this game went. In that first season under Brandon Staley, the Chargers got into numerous shootouts throughout the year as the defense struggled to get stops while the offense was forced to match opponent’s score-for-score until the very end. That’s essentially what happened in this game. In fact, the Chargers and Dolphins traded scores five times beginning in the second quarter.

Again, it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fun to watch at the end, but things could have been so much worse (Bengals anyone?).