This was undoubtedly the Chargers biggest win of the season.
The Bolts were strong from start to finish, leading to a 23-17 win over the Dolphins on Sunday Night Football.
The Chargers are now 7-6 (and in a playoff spot). Here's a game recap.
Keenan Allen and Khalil Mack were tonight's captains. The Bolts won the toss and elected to defer. The Chargers defense started strong by forcing three incompletions and a three-and-out to open the game. The Bolts started at their own 20 and gained 22 total yards on their first two plays. The offense soon faced third-and-10 and the Dolphins were called for holding on an incomplete pass. Mike Williams, playing in his first game since Week 7, then announced his presence with a juggling catch from Justin Herbert down the right sideline for 23 yards on third down. The Bolts later went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but Herbert's pass to DeAndre Carter was short of the end zone. But the Chargers defense continued a strong start by forcing another Miami punt. The Bolts began at their own 43 and quickly moved into Dolphins territory on a 19-yard pass to Williams. Herbert then hit Joshua Palmer for 13 yards on third-and-5 to move the sticks. The game was scoreless at the end of the quarter.
The Bolts struck first early in the second quarter with a 33-yard field goal from Cameron Dicker for an early 3-0 lead. Defensively, the pass rush got to Tua Tagovailoa as Kyle Van Noy sacked him on third down to force another quick three-and-out. Carter reeled off a 23-yard punt return to set up the Bolts offense at the Miami 43 to begin the drive.
The offense took advantage with points, as Joshua Kelley converted on a third-and-1 run for 22 yards that put the Bolts in the red zone. That led to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Williams for a 10-0 Chargers lead. It was Williams' fourth touchdown catch of the season.
The Dolphins then cut into the lead on a wild and lucky play. Alohi Gilman forced a fumble that forced a scrum for the ball, but the ball squirted away and was picked up by Tyreek Hill, who raced 57 yards for a touchdown. The Bolts offense couldn't respond as they went three-and-out and punted it away. The Chargers defense then forced Miami's fourth punt of the half that landed at the Chargers 10. But the offense got in gear with 10-plus yards plays to Allen (twice) and Ekeler to get into Miami territory at the 2-minute warning. Herbert then hit Palmer to move the chains on 3rd down and get the ball inside the 10-yard line. The Chargers goal-to-go offense came alive at the right time, as Ekeler powered his way in for a 1-yard score on fourth-and-goal with 18 seconds left in the half. The Bolts led 17-7 at the break.
The Bolts offense, hampered by a delay of game penalty, went three-and-out to open the second half. The Dolphins did the same as the Chargers offense took over at their own 17 after a punt. But the ensuing offensive possession for the Bolts went nowhere and they were forced to punt again. Miami's quick-score offense finally appeared as the Dolphin hit on a 60-yard touchdown to Hill that cut the Bolts lead to 17-14. But the Bolts responded, as Herbert hit Williams on a 55-yard strike to get the Bolts in the red zone. The big play couldn't lead to the end zone, however, as Dicker hit a 31-yard field goal to put the Bolts up 20-14.
The Bolts faced fourth-and-1 from their own 22 to begin the quarter but punted it away. Yet the defense continued a strong game by forcing the seventh Miami punt of the night as the Chargers took over at their own 11 with just over 11 minutes to play. Herbert and Allen helped their cause by converting twice on third downs early in the drive. The offense then picked up chunk plays to get into Miami territory before Herbert scrambled for 10 yards on third-and-8. Miami used up all of its timeouts and the Chargers came away with a field goal that extended the lead to 23-14. More importantly, the Bolts used up 8 minutes and 39 seconds off the clock. Miami drove into Bolts territory before the Dolphins kicked a 55-yard field goal to make it 23-17. But the Chargers recovered the onside kick and salted the game away for a massive win to move to 7-6.
Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 14 Sunday Night Football matchup against the Miami Dolphins at SoFi Stadium!
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