Miami Dolphins at the Chargers recap

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Wide receiver DeVante Parker
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Wide receiver DeVante Parker /

In a game that had most of its scoring from field goals it was the win by a Chargers missed field goal that counts.

And you take it every time, a win’s a win as the saying goes. The final result is what matters but the game will be broken down some here for your reading pleasure.

Only one of the Pro Football Focus talking heads had called for a Dolphins win. That was Jeff Ratcliffe among eight other analysts including Cris Collinsworth.

A kicker that was a reason last season for a Miami Dolphins victory playing the Browns has done the same to start off this season. Cody Parkey was good on all four of his FG attempts this game and remains perfect on all his attempts of over 50 yards. And all those missed FG’s when he played for the Browns during the game against the Dolphins turned out to be the only misses for the rest of that season.

On the other side we have Chargers kicker YoungHoe Koo who missed two FG’s including the would be game winner by pulling it to the right. At this rate it’s not looking like he will become an old hooker.

Coach Gase seemed to have called a conservative game with Jay Ajayi being a workhorse throughout it even though concerns had arisen prior to the game about his knee. And most of the passing downfield came on the shorter side of things with Jarvis Landry who had the most targets with 15. Jay Cutler went 24 of 33 for 230 yards, a 101.8 rating without an interception or turnovers and only one sack.

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The Chargers opened the game trying to run the ball to no avail. Surprisingly the linebackers and run defense held stout that first drive even the rookie Chase Allen got in on a tackle for a loss. Things started to open up for the Chargers when they took to the air. Which is also surprising as the Miami Dolphins defensive secondary is said to be the strong suit.

Running stat line for the Chargers this game were 14 rushes for 44 yards with one touchdown.

As advertised

Jay Ajayi rushed 28 times for 122 yards with his longest run being for 20 yards. He was also targeted twice catching both, one was for three yards, the other was for only one yard. He showed no signs of wear or breaking down getting all of the work with Damien Williams having only three offensive snaps with no stats and Kenyan Drake with only one offensive snap that was a rushing loss of three yards.

DeVante Parker had one more offensive snap than Landry that was the most of the WR’s. While he wasn’t targeted as much as Landry he did have a highlight play taking the ball away from CB Casey Hayward from behind on his longest play of 31 yards. He seems to be getting constant production at these type of contested plays while earning Cutler’s trust. Parker had 9 targets catching 4 netting him 85 yards.

Jarvis Landry caught 13-of-15 targets for 78 yards which was the most targets by six and his longest reception was for 18 yards. Like Ajayi was running the ball Landry was the workhorse for receptions. Which was surprising as the lead up to the game had been clamoring for deep balls.

Jay Cutler looked to have been reeled in by coach Gase especially during the first half. He did have good stats and high ratings with no interceptions or turnovers. The lone sack of the game can be attributed to Tunsil who wasn’t focused on an edge rush.

Still missing in action

One on one open field tackles and bad coverage on the Antonio Gates TD everyone on earth knew that was coming as Gates was attempting to set a new TD record for NFL TE’s. Speaking of TE’s Hunter Henry caught all seven of his targets for 80 yards as the tradition of TE’s having their way with the Miami Dolphins defense continues.

Converting red zone offense into TD’s – 3 trips 3 FG’s

Special teams were not very impressive outside of kicking/returns however there was a partially blocked punt by Senorise Perry. And on returns Jakeem Grant had 3 punts for 21 yards averaging 7 yards with the longest being for 14 yards. Kenyan Drake had 3 kick returns for 71 yards averaging 23.7 yards with the longest being for 34 yards.

Lawrence Timmons was AWOL the Miami Dolphins filed missing persons report on him and police located him at the LAX airport according to a TMZ report. Other reports have him still wanting to play the next game and some teammates are showing support for him.

Pleasant surprises

Byron Maxwell every time I looked to see who got an open field tackle it was him. He finished with five solo tackles which was tied for fourth overall with Kiko Alonso they both trailed Reshad Jones, Xavien Howard and Mike Hull having one more tackle each in succession. There is a lot of mix and match going on for this defense. And there is no reason to think that won’t continue.

Defensive stop down by one with under four minutes to play then Grant has a nice return from his 35 yard line to the 49 setting up a go ahead score a Parkey 54 yard FG.

Cody Parkey hitting all his FG attempts including the eventual game winner. He has yet to miss a FG over 50 yards and the one that won the game was clutch with just 1:05 left to play.

Mike Hull had to be thrust even more into a starting role while still having to play his special teams duties and lead the defense in tackles with seven solo tackles and three assisted.

Chase Allen also had to move up a notch filling in more than what he had expected by starting his first game and he held up well gaining three solo tackles.

Gase calling a conservative game was smart. Although a time out at the 10 second mark called when the Chargers were in disarray setting up the would be winning FG with no time-outs left was not. But back to the game plan. With Timmons out unexpectedly it put some disarray on the Miami Dolphins before even starting. So why make things harder on the defense by going status quo with things like uptempo and hurry up? Although there was some used setting up the Kenny Stills 29 yard touchdown.

Also Cutler averages one interception a game if you tally up all his full seasons and along with those came an amount of fumbles and turnovers. So what Gase called for pretty much eliminated those game killing mishaps.

When the defense is in better shape (although they held up well) then things should open up more on offense and they can start stretching the field and taking more chances at a faster clip. Rey Maualuga and Timmons are still in the works.

Some are questioning Gases’ play calling which is foolhardy. When facing a team with two stalwart edge rushers in Bosa and loudmouth Ingram running the ball and short passing is ideal especially when the Miami Dolphins offensive line isn’t exactly ready for prime time playing only the first game of the season.

Note: this is late due to my internet going down as I was readying it to post – it just came back (at least it was on for me on game day) Due to time restraints I left out highlights.