5 things you need to know about the Dolphins Week 1 clash with the Chargers

Dec 11, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is pursued
Dec 11, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is pursued / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers snapped playoff droughts a year ago. The former reached the postseason for the first time since 2016, while the Bolts made their first playoff appearance since 2018. Neither team came up with a victory.

Now the clubs meet for the second consecutive season. Will it be another close battle?

All-Time Series Record

Dating back to 2008 (which was the last time the Dolphins won the AFC East), this marks the 12th meeting in 16 seasons between the franchises. Including four postseason encounters, Miami owns a two-game overall edge in the series standings, 19-17. This will mark the second consecutive year and the fifth time in nine seasons that the Dolphins will be on the road in this setting, be it San Diego or Los Angeles.

The Last Time

Chargers 23, Dolphins 17 (2022): On a Sunday night in Week 14 at SoFi Stadium, the Chargers held off Mike McDaniel’s club for a six-point win. Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 367 yards and a pair of touchdowns despite being sacked four times. Los Angeles nearly doubled the Dolphins in total yards (432-219) and held the ball for 39:38. Brandon Staley’s team led 17-7 at halftime and never trailed.

Most Memorable Meeting

It didn't go Don Shula's way, but the 1981 AFC Divisional Playoff clash between the Chargers and Dolphins at the Orange Bowl was a classic. San Diego would come away with a 41-38 overtime victory and wound up staving off a Miami team that rallied from a 24-0 first-quarter deficit to take a 38-31 lead in the fourth quarter. Of course, there was that memorable Don Strock to Duriel Harris to Tony Nathan connection.

Key to the Game

In last year’s encounter, the Chargers’ defense came up big and frustrated Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He finished the evening hitting on just 10 of his 28 throws (35.7 percent) for only 145 yards and one score. That touchdown and 60 of those yards came on one play via wideout Tyreek Hill. Miami was just 3-of-11 on third-down conversions. Simply put, Tagovailoa has to be much sharper on Sunday.

Dolphins Player to Watch

This would be a good spot for the Miami ground game to get going. The Chargers’ run defense has been a trouble spot for the club in recent seasons. This past year, it ranked 28th in the league and in 2021, only the Steelers and Texans gave up more yards on the ground. Raheem Mostert, the team’s leading rusher in 2022, should get plenty of work and Salvon Ahmed and rookie De’Von Archane are in the mix as well.