Even though the Chargers trailed 21-17 early in the fourth quarter, momentum was on the Chargers' side.
Darrell Stuckey had just recovered a muffed punt with 13:41 remaining in the game to set San Diego up at the Miami five-yard line.
It looked like the game would follow a script the Bolts have seen many times with Philip Rivers under center, as he's authored 22 fourth quarter comebacks over his career. Unfortunately, the goal line series kicked off a miserable quarter as Rivers ended the game with a career-high four interceptions, all coming in the final 13 minutes.
The first was by Dolphins CB Tony Lippett in the corner of the end zone as Rivers launched a fade for Tyrell Williams.
"(I) haven't had a game like this that I can remember," he said. "With those critical turnovers, I'm not the first quarterback to have some, and I won't be the last to have some crucial ones. I can't remember one quite like this. I hate it for the guys in there. There were plenty of opportunities and I know they count on me to make those, and I do as well. I just didn't get it done today."
While the four picks were costly, they weren't the only reason the team lost. Each one of Rivers' teammates defended the quarterback, placing equal blame on themselves. For one, Melvin Gordon lamented his inability to find pay dirt on the plays immediately before Lippett's pick in the end zone.
"It was a mistake," Gordon said. "You can't fault Philip. We had more than numerous opportunities to get the ball in; I could have made bigger runs. It's not the time to point fingers at Philip. He made a couple mistakes, but he's human. He's our leader. We're going to regroup and see what we can do moving on."
The self-inflicted mistakes made the loss particularly difficult to swallow for the offense.
"I'm upset and angry," Matt Slauson said. "We let this one slip. We had ourselves in somewhat of a position to (win). We had too many breakdowns within the course of the game that led to all the stuff at the end that wasn't good."
The ending Slauson is referring to is the final three minutes when the Bolts were marching for a game-winning drive. Despite a pair of early fourth quarter interceptions, it still looked like the Bolts would pull out the victory after Rivers found Williams for a 51-yard TD with 4:04 left to take a 24-21 lead. However, Ryan Tannehill hit DeVante Parker for a 56-yard gain on Miami's next snap, leading to a game-tying field goal.
Back with the ball, the Chargers moved down to the Miami 42 on three plays and were looking to get in range for a game-winning field goal. Unfortunately, with 1:13 remaining, linebacker Kiko Alonso jumped the route on a pass intended for Williams, returning the ball 60 yards for the game-winning pick six. Lippett iced the game with his second interception of the day with 0:44 seconds left as the Bolts' record fell to 4-6.
"Obviously (interceptions) can't happen down in there," Rivers said. "There were two of them right there fixing to score, and then obviously the last one there was a chance to win the game with a field goal. The guy made a great play. The one in the end zone to Tyrell, (Lippett) had a good play, fell off his man and made the play on the fade in the end zone. Then I just missed the throw on that one to Gates on the corner route. There were obviously too many missed opportunities in the game. We scored late and then took the lead a few times, but we just didn't get it done."