The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 30-10, at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday, thanks to two touchdowns and 310 yards passing from Philip Rivers on 24-of-30 and two touchdowns and 122 scrimmage yards for running back Austin Ekeler.
After allowing Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen to complete 12 of 16 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown in the first half, the Bolts defense shut him down, giving up just 21 yards passing the rest of the way and intercepting the second-year signal caller.
On the first drive of the game, Rivers engineered a nine-play, 49-yard drive that culminated in a 44-yard field goal from punter Ty Long with 10:21 remaining in the first quarter. Long, handling kicking duties in place of the injured Michael Badgley for the fourth consecutive week, scored 12 points and was perfect on the day, drilling three field goals and three extra points.
On the ensuing Dolphins possession, Rosen completed all four of his passes for 75 yards passing, the last of which a 34-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Devante Parker at the 6:32 mark in the first quarter. After the extra point by Jason Sanders, the Dolphins took their first lead of the season, 7-3.
The Chargers stormed back with a side-armed touchdown pass from Rivers to running back Troymaine Pope with 2:45 left in the first quarter, the first score and second catch of Pope's NFL career.
A key 24-yard, third-and-four conversion by Rivers to veteran tight end Lance Kendricks two plays earlier and a subsequent defensive holding call gave the Chargers a first down in the red zone.
After a Long extra point, the Chargers held a three-point lead, 10-7. The drive took seven plays and spanned 75 yards.
The Dolphins responded with a 12-play, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 30-yard Sanders field goal, tying the game at 10 with 11:15 remaining in the second quarter.
After the Chargers failed to score on the following possession, Sanders missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with 3:34 left in the first half.
On the next Bolts drive, Rivers found Ekeler for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds remaining in the half. Ekeler caught the ball near the left sideline and ran it about 15 yards into the end zone.
The eight-play, 60-yard drive featured wide receiver Andre Patton's first career NFL reception, a short pass to the left the rookie wide receiver grabbed for 15 yards. Long's extra point gave the Chargers a 17-10 advantage.
Sanders kicked a 52-yard field goal with time expiring in the half, but his attempt again went wide right, as the Chargers brought a 17-10 lead into halftime.
On third and four on the Dolphins' first drive of the second half, veteran linebacker Thomas Davis, in his 15th NFL season, and rookie defensive tackle Jerry Tillery collaborated to sack Rosen, resulting in a Dolphins punt. It was Tillery's first career regular season half sack in the NFL after he recorded eight in his final year at Notre Dame and one during the Chargers preseason.
The next Chargers possession, a 16-play, 66-yard drive, took 10:33 off the clock and culminated in a successful 45-yarder by Long, extending the L.A. lead to 20-10 with 1:33 to play in the third quarter.
With time expiring in the third, defensive back Desmond King sacked Rosen at Miami's 1-yard line, leading to a punt on fourth down. King finished with 2.5 sacks and four total tackles on the afternoon.
The Chargers then drove 56 yards on seven plays, scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard Ekeler run with 11:20 remaining in the game. After the extra point, the Bolts led 27-10.
On the next Miami drive, cornerback Michael Davis managed to stay inbounds to secure his first career NFL interception after missing the past two weeks due to injury.
This led to a 51-yard field goal by Long with 7:32 remaining in the game, lengthening the Chargers lead to 30-10.
In the victory, Bolts receiver Dontrelle Inman recorded five receptions for 76 yards.
The Chargers improved to 2-2 and return home to face the Denver Broncos next Sunday in L.A.'s first divisional matchup of the season. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PT from ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park.