It was an evening of frustration in prime time for the Miami Dolphins.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, amid all of the fixed comparisons with the Dolphins quarterback taken one choose forward of him in 2020, performed like he was in a unique weight class than Tua Tagovailoa.
Behind Herbert’s stellar play and Tagovailoa’s ineffectiveness towards a protection that was lacking 5 starters, the Chargers gained, 23-17, dominating in just about each statistical class whereas the Dolphins nonetheless managed to maintain the rating shut on Sunday evening at SoFi Stadium.
“Soccer is a humbling sport,” coach Mike McDaniel stated. “These are the issues that you must be taught as a workforce. Sadly, we needed to be taught it the onerous approach.”
Miami (8-5) loses back-to-back video games on the West Coast after additionally falling to the San Francisco 49ers final week. The Dolphins stay within the No. 6 slot within the AFC, however their lead within the standings for a wild-card spot is down to 1 sport over the Chargers and New York Jets, each which now personal a tiebreaker over Miami.
Los Angeles (7-6) has gotten again into the playoff image at No. 7 with the win and Jets’ loss earlier Sunday to the Buffalo Payments. The Dolphins now path the Payments by two video games within the AFC East with a sport in Buffalo to come back on Saturday evening.
Herbert made all of the throws, whether or not it was a deep ball to huge goal Mike Williams throughout his physique to the other facet of the sector, a superbly positioned go to the again of the top zone or any of a variety of sensible checkdowns to operating again Austin Ekeler. He threw for 367 yards and a landing on 39-of-51 passing, methodically choosing aside the Dolphins protection, even because it didn’t lead to many factors.
Tagovailoa, by no means in a rhythm, was a pedestrian 10 of 28 for 145 yards and a deep landing to Tyreek Hill. Los Angeles, regardless of lacking security Derwin James, cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Bryce Callahan and edge rusher Joey Bosa, determined it could keep true to its id and play man protection towards the Dolphins’ standout receiving tandem of Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and it labored.
“For us to go on the market as an offense and form of present us what we confirmed, that’s to not our normal,” stated Tagovailoa after struggling for a second straight sport. “That’s not how we play soccer right here, and that was very disappointing.”
The Chargers outgained the Dolphins, 432 yards to 219. They gained time of possession, 39:38-20:22. They went 9 of 18 on third downs whereas Miami was 3 for 11.
Williams, who had solely performed six offensive snaps since Week 7, had six receptions for 116 yards and a landing. Keenan Allen went for 12 catches and 92 yards. Ekeler had 59 yards receiving, plus 45 on the bottom and a speeding rating.
Whereas Hill accounted for 81 receiving yards and two whole touchdowns, Waddle was restricted to 2 catches for 31 yards and was focused simply 4 instances.
“I used to be simply form of disillusioned within the connection between [Tagovailoa] and a few of the eligible [receivers],” stated McDaniel, whereas including there have been additionally alternatives his quarterback missed and different cases the place the safety failed.
Dolphins go catchers themselves shouldered a few of the blame.
“Tua performed effectively sufficient for us to win this sport, and for myself, I simply bought to make performs for him,” stated Hill, who on one early alternative was streaking throughout the sector on a deep route the place it appeared he couldn’t discover the ball. “I felt like I had quite a lot of drops on the market that’s not going to be counted and go towards him, so I bought to make performs for my boy.”
“Obtained to offer credit score to the Chargers and their protection and the way they performed us,” Waddle stated. “We bought to go on the market, make performs for [Tagovailoa].”
Trailing 23-14, Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders made it a one-possession sport with a 55-yard area objective with 1:10 remaining, however Miami couldn’t recuperate the following onside kick to remain alive.
The Chargers constructed a 10-point lead earlier than halftime due to a questionable defensive play name on third-and-goal from the 17-yard line. The Dolphins put eight defenders at or close to the objective line in a forestall look, which allowed a display go to Ekeler to realize 16. He ran it in from a yard out on the following play.
Miami bought again to inside 3 when Hill burned Chargers cornerback Michael Davis, who fell in protection, for a 60-yard landing.
A pair of later field-goal drives and a collection of defensive stops secured the two-possession benefit for Los Angeles within the second half that in the end stood.
As a lot was going incorrect for the Dolphins within the first half, Hill, on the evening he broke the franchise document for receiving yards in a season, electrified with a landing that didn’t come via the air.
The speedster recovered a fumble by teammate and operating again Jeff Wilson Jr. and, with a lot of the 22 gamers on the sector centered on a pile that had developed, Hill was capable of scamper across the crowd and blaze 57 yards into the top zone. The fumbled ball was flipped to Hill from left sort out Terron Armstead in a pile.
“As soon as he dove in, he form of popped the ball proper to me, after which I used to be capable of make a play,” Hill stated. “It regarded like he form of [saw] me. He form of rolled it to me.”
The Chargers, after forcing a fast three-and-out to kick off Sunday’s motion, got here up empty on their opening drive that consumed 8:36 when cornerback Kader Kohou got here up with a giant cease within the flat two yards shy of the objective line on a fourth-down play. It set the tone for the evening, although, that the Chargers would dominate time of possession.
Los Angeles, driving into Miami territory once more on its second collection, settled for a area objective early within the second quarter after a first-quarter sack from Christian Wilkins put the Chargers into third-and-long.
Hill’s offensive fumble return landing got here after three irritating drives the place Miami might solely muster 5 yards. In the meantime, Los Angeles had its authentic 10-0 benefit with a formidable Herbert throw to Williams behind the top zone for a 10-yard landing. The Dolphins have been outgained, 249-55, within the first half.
Hill broke the Dolphins’ single-season receiving yards document along with his first catch Sunday, a 13-yard reception within the first quarter. He wanted 11 yards towards the Chargers to go Mark Clayton and his 1,389-yard mark established in 1984.
Wilkins, Jerome Baker, Jaelan Phillips and Eric Rowe every had a sack. Phillips had one other one which was known as off as a consequence of a roughing-the-passer name that was questionable, to say the least.
“[The official] simply talked about the entire rule concerning the physique weight,” Phillips stated. “He known as it. That’s the way in which it stands. Nothing we are able to do about it.”
Wilson left Sunday’s sport with a hip harm within the first half and didn’t return. Hill was introduced as having an ankle ailment however rapidly returned to motion. Rowe sustained a hamstring harm.
The Dolphins have a fast turnaround from journey again to South Florida that can get them dwelling early Monday morning. They play towards the division-leading Payments (10-3) in Buffalo on Saturday evening.