On a day when the Chargers played their first home game in Los Angeles in nearly 57 years, one of the franchise's all-time greats decided to make some history of his own.
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers in the third quarter — the 112th of Gates' career — that broke a tie with Tony Gonzalez for all-time touchdowns among tight ends. But kicker Younghoe Koo missed what would have been a game-winning 44-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining and the Miami Dolphins beat the Chargers 19-17 Sunday at StubHub Center.
Eighty-five of Gates' career touchdown receptions have come from Rivers, who finished the game 31-of-39 for 331 yards and the one historic touchdown.
Miami's first offensive possession of the game was a 13-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a 30-yard Cody Parkey field goal to make the score 3-0 Miami.
The Chargers' first scoring drive was set up by a 23-yard punt return by wide receiver Travis Benjamin. Six plays later, Koo connected on a 41-yard field goal — the first of his NFL career — to tie the game at 3-3.
The first-ever regular season touchdown at StubHub Center was a one-yard rush by running back Melvin Gordon with 5:01 remaining in the second quarter to make it 10-3 Bolts after a Koo extra point. The score was set up by two big plays: a 26-yard rush by running back Branden Oliver, and a 24-yard reception from Rivers to wide receiver Keenan Allen that got the ball to the Dolphins' four-yard line.
The Chargers took a 10-3 lead into halftime, but Miami swiftly responded. Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler found wide receiver Kenny Stills for a 29-yard touchdown on the seventh play of a 75-yard drive to open the second half.
The next Chargers drive resulted in Gates' historic touchdown to make the score 17-10 Los Angeles after another Koo extra point.
Miami responded with nine unanswered points, including a 54-yard field goal by Parkey with 1:10 remaining in the game to put the Dolphins up 19-17.
Allen finished the game with nine catches for 100 yards. Gordon was held to 13 yards on nine rushes, but chipped in with seven catches for 65 yards. After being shut out Monday night, tight end Hunter Henry caught seven passes for 80 yards.
Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi had 122 yards on 28 carries and wide receiver Jarvis Landry hauled in 13 receptions for 78 yards. Cutler finished the game 24-of-33 for 230 yards and a touchdown.
The Chargers (0-2) will continue their three-game home stand next Sunday, Sept. 24th against the Kansas City Chiefs (2-0). Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m. Pacific Time on CBS.
The Bolts take on the Dolphins for the regular season home opener.