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Scouting Report: Dolphins vs. Chargers
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The Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-0) in the first regular season game at StubHub Center. It also marks the first of three consecutive home games for the Bolts. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PST.
A Look Back at Last Week
The Chargers fell 24-21 to the Denver Broncos as a furious fourth-quarter rally came up just short when Younghoe Koo’s field goal attempt was blocked in the waning seconds. Philip Rivers threw a trio of touchdown passes, including strikes to Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin. Meanwhile, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa paced the defense with 1.5 sacks each. The Bolts also forced two fourth-quarter turnovers, including an interception by Adrian Phillips and a forced fumble by Korey Toomer that Casey Hayward recovered.
What to Watch for…
On Offense for the Chargers
Head Coach Anthony Lynn vowed to recommit to the run game, believing the offense got away from it too early in the second half last week in Denver. Melvin Gordon will carry the load, having toted the rock 18 times in the season opener. He also added five catches, totaling 79 yards of total offense with one touchdown. Gordon tied for the team-high in receptions along with Tyrell Williams (five for 54) and Keenan Allen (five for 35, one TD). Finally, Philip Rivers enters Week 1 having completed 22 of 33 passes for 192 yards and three TDs for a 99.5 passer rating.
On Offense for the Dolphins
Sunday marks the season opener for Miami as their Week 1 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. It marks the beginning of the Jay Cutler era as the quarterback came out of retirement after Ryan Tannehill was lost for the year during training camp. He has a trio of dangerous wideouts in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, as well as tight end Julius Thomas. Finally, look for Jay Ajayi to be a focal point on offense as the running back is fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ajayi carried the ball 260 times a year ago for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
On Defense for the Chargers
The Chargers’ pass rush lived up to the hype in Week 1, and the duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will lead the way once again vs. Miami. They’ll have added help this week as Tenny Palepoi will make his season debut. Meanwhile, Jatavis Brown enters Week 2 as the Bolts’ leading tackler (14) while Hayes Pullard ranks second (seven).
On Defense for the Dolphins
Miami boasts one of the top defensive lines in the NFL, led by defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips, as well as defensive ends Cameron Wake and Andre Branch. A tackling machine, Kiko Alonso totaled 115 in his first year in South Beach last season while also adding a pair of interceptions.
The Dolphins lead the all-time series 17-15, but the Bolts hold an 11-7 advantage at home.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 22nd in total offense (249.0 yards per game), 18th in passing (185.0 ypg), 19th in rushing (64.0 ypg) and 13th in points (21.0).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 17th in total defense (321.0 ypg), 12th in passing (181.0 ypg), 26th in rushing (140.0 ypg) and 22nd in points allowed (24.0).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers’ next 300-yard passing game will be the 52nd of his career, which will set a new franchise record.
Rivers has 46,025 career passing yards, which ranks 12th all-time. He’ll need just 209 yards to pass Vinny Testaverde (46,233) for 11th.
Antonio Gates has 111 career touchdown catches, tied with Tony Gonzalez for most all-time by a tight end. Gates will set a new record for tight ends with his next touchdown catch.
Rivers and Gates have combined for 84 touchdowns during their careers, third-most all-time between a quarterback and receiver/tight end. With one more, Rivers and Gates will move into a tie for second with Steve Young and Jerry Rice.
Noteworthy vs. the Dolphins
In an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Miami on Jan. 2, 1982, the Chargers racked up 564 yards of total offense, the sixth-highest total for a game in franchise history.
In 2015, Jerry Attaochu shared an 11-yard sack and two tackles for loss in a 30-14 win over Miami. In that same game, Melvin Ingram had a career-high 2.5 sacks.
On Dec. 11, 2005, Antonio Gates had a career-best 13 catches for 123 yards vs. Miami. He also had a touchdown catch with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Playing for Green Bay in 2014, Casey Hayward had an interception against the Dolphins.
In 2014, safety Adrian Phillips made his NFL debut against the Dolphins.
In 2015, Philip Rivers had three touchdown passes in the Chargers’ game against Miami, raising his season total to 26. It marked his eighth-straight 25-touchdown season and he joined Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to achieve the feat. Rivers passed for 311 yards in the game to raise his career total to 40,942 and pass Kerry Collins (40,922) for 14th all-time. Rivers’ 300-yard performance was his eighth of the season, which tied Dan Fouts’ team record.
Last season, Tyrell Williams caught five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Melvin Gordon totaled his second most receiving yards in a single game in 2016 against Miami. Coming off a 65-yard performance the week before against Tennessee, Gordon hauled in five passes for 62 yards against the Dolphins.
Dolphins Wide Receivers Coach Shawn Jefferson played for the Chargers from 1991-95.
Chargers Linebackers Coach Richard Smith coached in Miami (2005).
Chargers DE Chris McCain played in Miami (2014-15).
CBS – Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst) and Jamie Erdahl (sideline)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 - Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across 11 radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ-AM (Palm Springs), KALZ-AM (Fresno), KBFP-AM (Bakersfield), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).