Win Puts Chargers in AFC Playoffs Conversation.
The Los Angeles Chargers, 7-6, moved closer to the AFC playoffs as the No. 7 seed, beating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. The wild card picture could change if the Patriots beat the Cardinals on Monday night, then the Patriots would move ahead of the Chargers. For now, the Chargers hold the final AFC playoff spot. The loss drops Miami to two games behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The two teams have met each other 36 times, with the Chargers winning 17 games.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert led the Chargers to the 23-17 victory over quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins. Herbert, 24, played spectacularly. He finished the day throwing for 367 yards, completing 39 passes on 51 attempts, a touchdown with zero turnovers.
Wideout Keenan Allen finished the day with 12 of 14 passes for 92 yards, and wide receiver Mike Williams caught six passes for 116 receiving yards and one touchdown. Chargers running back Austin Ekeler did not have a great day, with 45 yards on 15 carries with a one-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter. Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker kept the Chargers in the winning seat, kicking a 33-yard field goal in the 2nd quarter, a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter, and a 28-yard field goal during the fourth quarter.
At the post-game conference, Charger head coach Brandon Staley had this to say about the play of his team:
“That’s the offense that we like to play, where people touch the ball,” he said. “Justin was fantastic with his decision-making.”
The Chargers played well on both sides of the ball, with the defense limiting the Dolphins to 219 total offensive yards. Although the Chargers were without key defensive players, safety Derwin James, cornerback Bryce Callahan, and defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, the defense pressed the Dolphins at the line of scrimmage, completely disrupting Tagovailoa’s offensive efforts.
Tagovailoa was 10-of-28 for 145 yards and a single touchdown. He finished the first half with less than four completions, and his struggles would continue throughout the second half of the game. Tagovailoa’s favorite target Tyreek Hill scored two touchdowns, including a 57-yard fumble recovery and a 60-yard touchdown reception to bring the Dolphins within three points in the third quarter. Hill would finish the game on the sideline with an ankle injury. The loss left the Dolphins with an 8-5 record.
As the Chargers await the outcome of the Patriots/Cardinals game on Monday, they will host the Tennessee Titans next Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Tonight, the Chargers are sitting pretty.