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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Dolphins
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The San Diego Chargers close out the 2015 home schedule when they host the Miami Dolphins Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:25pm.
A Look Back At Last Week
After driving down the one-yard line with five seconds remaining, Philip Rivers couldn’t complete a pair of passes in the end zone as the Chargers fell 10-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs. It marked the sixth time this season the Bolts lost on the final drive of the game, and the third time on the very last play. On the bright side, the defense played lights out as they surrendered only 10 points for the second straight week. Jason Verrett also recorded an interception in back to back weeks, snapping Alex Smith’s consecutive streak of passes without a pick at 312 (second longest in NFL history).
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Philip Rivers and company look to get back in a groove after being held to only a field goal in three of their last four games. Despite recent offensive struggles, number 17 remains among the league leaders in many categories. He ranks first in completions (359) and attempts (541), third in total yards (3,976) and fifth in completion percentage (66.4) among starting quarterbacks. Javontee Herndon has made the most of his opportunity after many of his fellow wideouts have missed time due to injury. He caught five passes for 47 yards last week, including two key third down receptions and a clutch fourth down snare. Danny Woodhead leads all NFL running backs with 601 receiving yards, while Melvin Gordon paces the Bolts with 600 yards on the ground.
On Offense for the Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill continues to make waves in his fourth NFL season as his 84.9 career passer rating ranks third in Miami history. The quarterback also ranks third behind Dan Marino and Bob Griese with 14,565 passing yards and 85 TDs. This season, Tannehill has completed 292 of 476 passes (61.3%) for 3,313 yards, 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for an 88.0 passer rating. His top target is second-year pro Jarvis Landry with 89 receptions for 920 yards and four touchdowns. Landry enters Sunday one catch shy of tying O.J. McDuffie for the team’s franchise record for receptions in a season. Meanwhile, Lamar Miller has emerged as a workhorse on the ground, tallying 769 yards on 151 carries (5.1 ypc) with seven touchdowns.
On Defense for the Chargers
A young nucleus on defense looks to make it a third straight strong effort when they face Miami. After securing an interception in each of the last two weeks, Jason Verrett also looks to make it three in a row to push his team-high tally to four. Manti Te’o leads the Bolts with 80 tackles, while Melvin Ingram (6.0) and Jerry Attaochu (5.5) pace the squad in sacks.
On Defense for the Dolphins
Miami added perennial All-Pro Ndamukong Suh this season, and the defensive tackle has 48 tackles and four sacks in his first year in South Beach. With Cameron Wake (7.0 sacks) out for the season, Olivier Vernon paces the Dolphins pass rush with 6.5. In the secondary, safety Reshad Jones has a team-high four interceptions while cornerback Brent Grimes has three. Grimes has been one of the best cornerbacks since entering the league in 2009 despite missing nearly the entire 2012 campaign due to injury. His 24 interceptions rank fourth in that span while his 91 passes defensed rank sixth.
The Chargers and Dolphins have met 30 times since 1966, with Miami holding a narrow 16-14 series lead. The Bolts are 10-6 in games played at home, including wins in the last two games (23-13 in 2009; 26-16 in 2011).
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank eighth in total offense (372.8 yards per game), second in passing (293.2 ypg), 31st in rushing (79.7 ypg) and 28th in points (19.2). The Dolphins rank 27th in total offense (329.0 ypg), 22nd in passing (231.0 ypg), 20th in rushing (98.0 ypg) and 24th in points (20.3).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 24th in total defense (367.4 ypg), 14th in passing (240.8 ypg), 27th in rushing (126.5 ypg) and 27th in points allowed (25.7). Miami ranks 28th in total defense (393.3 ypg), 26th in passing (261.8 ypg), 30th in rushing (131.5 ypg) and 26th in points allowed (25.5).
Noteworthy vs. the Dolphins
Antonio Gates had a career-best 13 catches for 123 yards vs. Miami in 2005. He also had a touchdown catch with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Eric Weddle recorded his first career pick-six (31 yards) in 2009 vs. the Dolphins.
Ladarius Green set his career-high with 81 yards receiving in a single game at Miami in 2013.
Mike Scifres surpassed 30,000 career punt yards during the Chargers’ game at Miami in 2014.
Playing for Indianapolis on Sept. 21, 2009, Donald Brown had his first NFL rushing touchdown against Miami on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The touchdown tied the score, 20-20, in the fourth quarter and the Colts won, 27-23.
Playing for New England in 2010, Danny Woodhead had his first NFL touchdown catch (11 yards) in a 27-14 win at Miami.
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers has 23 touchdown passes this season, tied for fifth in the NFL. With two more, he will reach 25 for the eighth-consecutive season. Currently, Rivers is one of only three quarterbacks in NFL history with at least seven straight 25-touchdown seasons ( Peyton Manning ;1998- 2010 and Drew Brees 2006-14).
Rivers has passed for 40,631 career yards, good for 15th all-time. He needs 292 more yards to pass Kerry Collins (40,922) for 14th.
Rivers has thrown for more than 300 yards seven times this season, including a team-record five-straight games from Oct. 4-Nov. 1. He needs just one more to tie the team record of eight, set by Dan Fouts in 1980. Rivers’ 2015 performance includes a pair of 400-yard games (vs. Detroit and at Green Bay). He needs one more to tie his own single-season record for 400-yard games. He had three in 2013.
Rivers has 3,976 passing yards this season, leaving him 24 yards away from a seventh-career 4,000-yard season. Rivers’ six 4,000-yard campaigns are already most in franchise history and tied with Brett Favre and Dan Marino for fourth-most in NFL history. The only players with more are Peyton Manning (14), Drew Brees (9) and Tom Brady (7).
Malcom Floyd ranks 10th in franchise history with 34 career touchdown catches. He needs two more to move into a tie with John Jefferson (36) for ninth in team history, and he needs three more to move into a tie with Vincent Jackson and Anthony Miller (37) for seventh.
Chargers center J.D. Walton went to training camp this summer with the Dolphins.
Inside linebacker Denzel Perryman is from Coral Gables, Fla., and played collegiately at the University of Miami.
Guard Orlando Franklin also played collegiately at the University of Miami, and prepped at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Florida.
Defensive tackle Damion Square’s uncle, John Square, played football at the University of Miami, while his cousin, Derek Curry played for the Dolphins.
Defensive Quality Control Coach Chris Shula’s grandfather is former Miami Dolphins and Hall of Fame Head Coach Don Shula.
Linebackers Coach Mike Nolan spent two seasons (2010-11) in Miami as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator.
Assistant offensive line coach Andrew Dees spent time with Miami during training camp in 2004 as a part of the NFL’s Minority Fellowship Internship Program.
Director of College Scouting Kevin Kelly played collegiately at University of Miami and won a national championship with the Hurricanes in 1983.
Senior Executive Randy Mueller spent three years in Miami (2005-07) as the Dolphins’ general manager.
Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor is a San Diego native and he prepped at Helix High School in La Mesa.
Wide receiver Kenny Stills is from Encinitas and prepped at La Costa Canyon High School.
Running back Damien Williams hails from San Diego and prepped at Mira Mesa High School.
Center Sam Brenner prepped at Oceanside High School and is a native of San Diego.
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews is also a native of San Diego.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Darren Krein was drafted by the Chargers in the fifth-round of the 1994 NFL draft.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), Steve Tasker (analyst) and Steve Beuerlein (analyst) and Scott Kaplan (reporter)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Curtis Conway (analyst), Nick Hardwick (reporter) and Mike Costa (reporter)
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 Curtis Conway (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.
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