The Dolphins entered Sunday's game against the Chargers looking to get back to .500 while hoping to return to serious contention for an AFC wild card slot. Check and check.
The Fins beat the Bolts Sunday night 20-16. Ryan Tannehill finished 22-35 for 268 yards, one TD, and one INT, while TE Charles Clay led the way in the passing attack, with six catches for 90 yards and one juggernaut touchdown in which he steamrolled over two Chargers defenders.
The Dolphins played the game with quite possibly the worst offensive line in the history of the storied franchise. Already without starters Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, they also lost Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey for the game because of a reported gall bladder illness. The makeshift line, including practice squadder Sam Brenner, kept Tannehill upright most of the game, allowing just four sacks (hey, that's reason for celebration this season), and providing a run game rush at some critical times.
Just by looking at the box score of this game, you wouldn't run to give the Dolphins' defense all the credit, but that's where the true accolades go for this win. Phillip Rivers went 22-34 for 298 yards and a TD, while Chargers running back Ryan Mathews rushed 19 times for 127 yards. The Dolphins pass rush got to Rivers only three times but pressured him into hurried throws all game long and held his biggest receiving threat, rookie Keenan Allen, to just three catches for 45 yards.
It wasn't the prettiest, most memorable, or exciting game, but it's a win, and at this stage in the soap opera that is this Dolphins season, we'll take anything positive.
The Dolphins win was just the second in their last seven games, after a promising 3-0 start. The loss was the Chargers third in a row.
Play of the Game
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Charles Clay BEAST MODE. This 39-yard TD midway through the second quarter ended up being the difference in the game.
Miami dolphins win?!
— Nick Gillette (@gillettenick) November 18, 2013
Yup, that just happened. On to Carolina next week.