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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Dolphins
A Look Back At Last Week
Trailing 28-6 early in the second half, the Chargers battled back to make it a one score game, but couldn’t get over the hump as they fell to the division rival Denver Broncos at home. A seven-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead and a one-yard plunge into the end zone by Ryan Mathews trimmed a one-time 22 point lead to just eight points. With a chance to tie the game, the Bolts were unfortunately forced to punt and the Broncos picked up enough first downs enabling them to run out the clock to secure their victory.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
The man making the offense tick continues to be Philip Rivers. The quarterback is on track to set a new NFL single-season record for completion percentage, connecting at a clip of 71.6 percent. Overall, he’s completed 232 of 324 attempts for 2,691 yards with 18 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. In addition to his outstanding completion percentage, Rivers is also on track to set a new career-high for season passer rating and his current mark of 105.9 is more than 10 points higher than his career rating of 95.5. Rivers is averaging 299.0 yards per game, which if it continues would also set a career high as his previous best was 294.4 in 2010.
On Offense for the Dolphins
Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill will line up under center for the Dolphins on Sunday. He’s completed 202 of 331 attempts (61.0 percent) for 2,206 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for an 81.2 passer rating. While he’s had his fair share of success this year, he’s also been hit hard, having been sacked 37 times. Tannehill’s top targets include Brian Hartline (43 catches for 534 yards and two touchdowns) and free agent acquisition Mike Wallace (40 receptions for 495
On Defense for the Chargers
The Chargers are coming off an outing against Denver in which they held the Broncos to just 84 yards on the ground, only the third time this season the Broncos failed to reach the century mark. Injuries have opened the door for several young players to contribute big plays, particularly at outside linebacker where last week Thomas Keiser managed to get a team-high three
On Defense for the Dolphins
Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler pace the team in tackles with 66 and 63 respectively. A dangerous pass rusher, Cameron Wake leads the Dolphins with 5.5 sacks, followed by Jared Odrick with 3.5. The team has also had a knack for picking the ball off, totaling 12 interceptions on the season, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Dmitri Patterson boasts four of them, while Brent Grimes has two, including a 94-yard pick six against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The series between the Chargers and Dolphins is even at 14-14 with the Chargers having won the last two, both in San Diego (23-13 in 2009 and 26-16 in 2011). The Dolphins have won eight of the 12 meetings in Miami, including the last six. The Chargers’ last win in Miami was a 41-38 overtime win in the 1981 Divisional Playoffs at the Orange Bowl.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank seventh in total offense (395.4 yards per game), fourth in passing (288.7 ypg), 19th in rushing (106.8 ypg) and 16th in points (23.6). The Dolphins rank 30th in total offense (303.9 ypg), 21st in passing (216.9 ypg), 25th in rushing (87.0 ypg) and 20th in points (21.4)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 29th in total defense (394.1 ypg), 28th in passing (279.6 ypg), 20th in rushing (114.6 ypg) and 13th in points allowed (22.4). Miami ranks 20th in total defense (357.1 ypg), 16th in passing (238.0 ypg), 25th in rushing (119.1 ypg) and 14th in points allowed (23.2).
Milestones on the Horizon
Antonio Gates is 67 yards away from 9,000 career receiving yards and could reach that mark in fewer games than any tight end in NFL history. Gates will play in his 157th career game on Sunday. Dallas’ Jason Witten (160 games) and Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez (163) are currently the two fastest.
Gates has 694 career catches, six shy of 700. Should he reach 700 against the Dolphins, again in his 157th-career game, he would become the third fastest tight end in NFL history to reach the 700-career catch plateau. Only Witten (145) and Gonzalez (154) did so in fewer games.
Gates is closing in on second place on the team’s all-time receiving yardage list. He’s currently third with 8,933 yards, needing 271 to pass Hall of Fame wide receiver Charlie Joiner (9,203) for second.
Philip Rivers has three games this season in which he’s completed at least 20 passes and 80 percent of his pass attempts. Brett Favre (2009) and Drew Brees (2011) are the only other quarterbacks in NFL history to do so three times in a season. If Rivers does it again in 2013, it will set a new NFL single-season record.
Rivers is the first quarterback in team history to throw for over 400 yards in consecutive games. He has three 400-yard games already this season, a new team record, and he has six for his career, tied with Dan Fouts for most in team history.
Ryan Mathews (3,015 career rushing yards) is currently sixth on the team’s all-time rushing list. He needs 295 to move past the late Chuck Muncie (3,309) for fifth.
Mathews has 16-career rushing touchdowns. He needs one more to break into the team’s career Top 10. Hank Bauer, Rod Bernstine, Dick Post and Clarence Williams all scored 17 rushing touchdowns during their Chargers’ careers.
Nick Novak has 283 career points, good for ninth on the team’s all-time scoring list. He needs 66 more to move past Gary Garrison (348) for eighth.
Vincent Brown caught his first-career NFL pass against the Dolphins on Oct. 2, 2011. Meanwhile, Marcus
Antonio Gates had a career-high 13 catches against Miami.
Playing for Denver, Eddie Royal had a career-long 95-yard kickoff return against the Dolphins on Nov. 2, 2008 and he had a career-high 164 total kickoff return yards in the game.
Playing for Baltimore, Jarret Johnson had the only interception returned for touchdown of his career on Jan. 2, 2005.
Playing for New England, Danny Woodhead caught his first-career touchdown pass against the Dolphins on Oct. 4, 2010. And in a game on Dec. 4, 2011, he had the longest kickoff return of his career (37 yards) and his most yards in a game (83).
Chargers running back Ronnie Brown was a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2005. The second overall pick in the ’05 draft, Brown played six seasons in Miami (2005-10) and he still ranks third on their all-time list for career rushing yards (4,815) and touchdowns (36).
Cornerback Richard Marshall played for the Dolphins in 2012, recording 17 tackles and an interception.
Defensive end Corey Liuget is from Miami and attended Hialeah High School.
Outside Linebacker Tourek Williams is also from Miami and attended Norland High School.
Chargers Assistant Offensive Line Coach Andrew Dees worked at Miami’s training camp in 2004 through the NFL Minority Intern Coaching Program.
Chargers Senior Executive Scout Randy Mueller was the Dolphins’ general manager from 2005-07.
Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor is from San Diego and attended Helix High School in La Mesa.
Safety Jimmy Wilson is from San Diego and attended Point Loma High School.
Tackle Will Yeatman is from San Diego as well and he prepped at Rancho Bernardo High School.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)
All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage after the game ends.
For a unique, one-of-a-kind look at the Chargers, be sure to tune in each week to Chargers Insider on Fox Sports San Diego. The half-hour program will be the go-to destination for fans that want behind-the-scenes coverage and unique features on the team. Chargers Insider airs each week throughout the season on Thursdays at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. PT as well as Saturday’s at 11:35pm on KFMB, Channel 8.