As impressive as the offense was, the defense was equally as bad. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailo and wideout Tyreek Hill took everything they wanted and it was simply too much in the end, despite the offense putting up over 400+ yards, themselves.
Even at 0-1, it’s tough not to come away from the game believing the Chargers are still one of the better teams in the NFL. The defense is not going to face Hill and Tua each week and even with their dud, the offense looks like it can carry them a bit this year.
Curious to see how the media landscape views the Bolts after Week One? Let’s go ahead and take a look.
ESPN - #10
“Moore kickstarted the rush offense in his first game with Los Angeles. Austin Ekeler benefitted from the new scheme, netting 55 more rush yards than expected, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. RB Joshua Kelley, who had a career-high 91 rushing yards, appreciated Moore’s willingness to stick with what was working on the ground. “Once you get in that rhythm you get a feel for the defense, how everything’s going, so he’s calling it, man. I love it,” Kelley said. If opposing defenses have to commit an extra man to the box going forward, it can make the Justin Herbert-led passing game even more dangerous.” - Daniel Greenspan
NFL.com - #12
“On a day when the offense was terrific, the defense turned in a mostly abysmal performance — the kind that makes me question the Chargers. The defense, which is littered with talent, has continuity with nine returning starters. But it was picked apart by the Dolphins, one chunk play at a time, to the tune of 466 passing yards, the most allowed by any team with Brandon Staley as its head coach or coordinator in his career, per NFL Research. Yes, Staley’s defense looks worse than it did a year ago, even if one game is too small a sample size. The Chargers must find a way to avoid squandering Justin Herbert’s prime, and right now that starts on D.” - Eric Edholm
Bleacher Report - #12
“The Los Angeles Chargers had quite the game offensively against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. They put up well over 400 yards of offense and 34 points.”
“Quarterback Justin Herbert didn’t post huge numbers, but he was efficient, finishing 23-of-33 for 228 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The Chargers gouged the Dolphins for a whopping 230 yards on the ground, with Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley both finding the end zone.”
“But once again, in a big game against a quality opponent, the Chargers came up short. This time, it was the Los Angeles defense that folded under pressure.”
“‘When he served as the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2020, Brandon Staley called plays for the No. 1 defense in both points and total yards allowed,’ Moton wrote. ‘Since becoming the head coach of the Chargers, his units have ranked 20th or worse in points and yards allowed.’”
“‘On Sunday, the Chargers gave up a whopping 536 yards and 8.2 yards per play to the Miami Dolphins. And no, we shouldn’t cut Los Angeles any slack because wideout Tyreek Hill is an elite playmaker. He ate the Chargers defense alive with 11 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.’”
“‘While we can assign blame to a number of general factors that highlight the Chargers’ defensive futility, Staley’s defensive expertise has to make a better impact with stars such as Derwin James Jr., Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack on his side of the ball.’” - Taylor Moton
USA Today - #13
“Felt like the last team to have the ball would win … except the Bolts had it with the chance to win and folded in their 36-34 setback to Miami. But give new OC Kellen Moore points for cutting against his reputation by running 53% of the time, while we have to dock HC Brandon Staley for again fielding a D that’s less than the sum of its parts.” - Nate Davis
CBS Sports - #15
“The defense was gutted in the loss to the Dolphins, especially the pass defense. Where was the pass rush? That unit has to get better.” - Pete Prisco
Sporting News - #15
“The Chargers’ defense ran into a buzzsaw of the Dolphins’ offense, exploiting plenty of holes in their scheme that usually holds up well against the pass. They can leave their 0-1 start confident that the new offense looks great on a more expensive Justin Herbert.” - Vinnie Iyer
Pro Football Talk - #16
“Hey, I have an idea. Let’s put only one guy on Tyreek Hill.” - Mike Florio
The Athletic - #18
“A year ago, Los Angeles held Miami to 219 yards, and Chargers coach Brandon Staley was hailed as the Dolphins Stopper. On Sunday, Miami had 536 yards of offense, including 466 through the air. Now Mike McDaniel is going to be hailed as the Staley Stopper because this was the beginning of the end of that head coaching tenure.” - Josh Kendall