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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Dolphins

The San Diego Chargers look to even their record at 5-5 before their bye week when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.  Kickoff at Qualcomm Stadium is set for 1:05pm PT. 

A Look Back At Last Week

Melvin Gordon authored one of the greatest games in franchise history to lead the Bolts to a 43-35 win over the Tennessee Titans. The running back totaled 261 total yards from scrimmage, which is the third most in Chargers history.  He carried the ball 32 times for 196 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.1 yards per carry while also catching all four passes thrown his way for an additional 65 yards.  Meanwhile, San Diego’s defense forced three turnovers and scored two touchdowns of their own.  Korey Toomer poked the ball loose from Marcus Mariota and Melvin Ingram knocked it out of the quarterback’s grasp.  It ended up in the arms of Dwight Lowery, who raced 41-yards for the scoop and score.  Later, Brandon Flowers iced the game with a pick-six in the fourth quarter.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

The Bolts boast the NFL’s leading touchdown scorer as Melvin Gordon has found pay dirt 11 times (nine rushing, two receiving).  Overall, Number 28 has carried the rock 193 times for 768 yards (4.0 ypc) and 28 catches for 284 yards. He’s brought balance to Philip Rivers’ aerial assault as number 17 remains among the league leaders at quarterback.  Rivers is 206 for 325 (63.4%) for 2,560 yards and 17 touchdowns for a 96.2 QB rating.  He has been spreading the ball around as Travis Benjamin paces the club with 39 receptions, while Tyrell Williams leads the team in receiving yards (595) and Antonio Gates is the top red zone threat with four touchdowns.

On Offense for the Dolphins

Perhaps the only running back hotter than Melvin Gordon right now is Miami’s Jay Ajayi.  After surpassing 200 yards on the ground in consecutive weeks, he ran for 111 yards on 24 carries in last week’s win over the New York Jets.   Overall, he’s rushed for 529 yards in the Dolphins last three games.  Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill has completed 156 of 241 passes (64.7%) this season with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions for an 87.4 QB rating.  He’s also a threat on the ground with 22 rushes for 75 yards and another touchdown.  His main weapon is Pro Bowl WR Jarvis Landry, who has 49 receptions on the year for 605 yards and one TD.  Fellow wideout Kenny Stills is their deep threat, leading the team with three touchdowns while averaging 19.3 yards per catch.

On Defense for the Chargers

The Bolts have forced 18 turnovers on the season, led by Casey Hayward whose five interceptions are the most by a Charger since 2011 and tied for most in the NFL.  Korey Toomer has also been a turnover machine, forcing three fumbles while recovering another. Despite missing last week’s game with a knee injury, Jatavis Brown continues to lead the team in tackles (52) and tackles for loss (seven).  Melvin Ingram has a team-high five sacks while Joey Bosa leads the way with 12 QB hits.

On Defense for the Dolphins

Ndamukong Suh remains a force to be reckoned with, amassing 37 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his second season in South Beach.  He is just 0.5 sacks shy of the team lead as Cameron Wake has 5.0.  Meanwhile, Kiko Alonso has a team-high 67 tackles in his first year with the Dolphins while Isa Abdul-Quddus has two picks.

Series History

The Dolphins lead the all-time series 16-15, but the Bolts have won the previous three in San Diego including last year’s 30-14 victory.

By the Numbers

The Chargers rank ninth in total offense (378.0 yards per game), seventh in passing (271.3 ypg), 18th in rushing (106.7 ypg) and third in points (29.8). The Dolphins rank 21st total offense (340.1 ypg), 29th in passing (218.0 ypg), sixth in rushing (122.1 ypg) and 20th in points (21.6)

Defensively, the Bolts rank 19th in total defense (364.7 ypg), 26th in passing (279.3 ypg), fifth in rushing (85.3 ypg) and 26th in points allowed (27.4).  Miami ranks 17th in total defense (362.6 ypg), eighth in passing (226.5 ypg), 30th in rushing (136.1 ypg) and 16th in points allowed (22.8).

Milestones on the Horizon

Philip Rivers is two touchdown passes shy of 300.  He would become only the eighth player in NFL history to reach that mark, tying John Elway for eighth all-time in the process.

Rivers’ next 300-yard passing game will be the 50th of his career.

Rivers has completed 10 passes this season of 40 yards or longer, second in the NFL to Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (13). Rivers needs just five more 40-plus yard completions to set a new career high. In 2010, he led the NFL with 14.

Rivers has passed for 2,560 yards this season and he needs just 440 more for an 11th-consecutive 3,000-yard season. His 10 in a row are fifth-most in the NFL. The only players with longer streaks are Brett Favre (18, 1992-09), Peyton Manning (13, 1998-10), Drew Brees (12, 2004-15) and Eli Manning (11, 2005-15).

Antonio Gates has 108 career touchdowns, and is three shy of tying Tony Gonzalez (111) for most in NFL history by a tight end.

Melvin Gordon is the NFL’s third-leading rusher with 768 yards this season. He needs just 232 more for the 20th 1,000-yard rushing season in franchise history.

Should Gordon top 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, he’d become just the 11th player in franchise history and first since Tomlinson in 2008 to reach both benchmarks in a single season.

Melvin Gordon leads the Chargers with nine rushing touchdowns and needs one more for this to be the 16th season a running back had 10 or more in franchise history. Mike Tolbert (2010) was the last to do so.

Josh Lambo has hit 46 career field goals, which ranks seventh in franchise history. Lambo needs four more to reach 50 and move into a tie for sixth on the franchise’s all-time list with George Blair (1961-64).

What to Watch for vs. the Dolphins

San Diego has at least one takeaway in every game this season. The Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles are the only teams in the NFL with at least one takeaway in every game this season.

Should the Bolts return an interception for a score on Sunday against the Dolphins it would mark the first time since 1961 that the Chargers have scored touchdowns on interception returns in three straight games.

The Chargers lead the NFL with six touchdowns on their first offensive possession this season, including the last four straight.

Noteworthy vs. the Dolphins

In the “Epic in Miami” AFC Divisional Playoff game 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, 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.

Melvin Ingram had a career-high 2.5 sacks in last year’s win.

On Dec. 11, 2005, Antonio Gates had a career-best 13 catches for 123 yards vs. Miami.

Adrian Phillips made his NFL debut in Miami in 2014.

Playing for Indianapolis in 2013, Griff Whalen logged his first NFL receptions in a game against the Dolphins.

Connections

Wide receiver and kick returner Travis Benjamin and inside linebacker Jatavis Brown are both natives of Belle Glade, Florida and both prepped at Glades Central High School. Benjamin played collegiately at the University of Miami.

Defensive end Joey Bosa is from Miami. He attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. His father, John Bosa, was a first-round pick by the Dolphins in 1987 and his uncle, Eric Kumerow, was a first-round pick by the Dolphins in 1988.

Safety Jahleel Addae is a native of Valrico, Florida (Riverview High School).

Tight end Asante Cleveland played collegiately at Miami as did inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (Coral Gables).

Cornerback Brandon Flowers and guard Orlando Franklin both prepped at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Florida. Franklin then played collegiately at Miami.

Kicker Josh Lambo spent time as a teen training with the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team at their headquarters in Bradenton, Florida.

Defensive tackle Corey Liuget is from Miami (Hialeah High School).

Fellow defensive tackle Damion Square’s uncle, John Square, played football at the University of Miami, while his cousin, Derek Curry played for the Dolphins.

Outside linebacker Tourek Williams is from Miami. He attended Norland High School and Florida International University.

Wide receiver Griff Whalen spent time with Miami, attending training camp with the Dolphins earlier this year. He was released in the final roster reduction.

Fellow wide receiver Jeremy Butler is from Sarasota, Florida. He prepped at Booker High School.

Chargers Assistant Offensive Line Coach Dave DeGuglielmo coached the Dolphins’ offensive line from 2009-11.

Defensive Quality Control Coach Chris Shula’s grandfather is former Miami Dolphins and Hall of Fame Head Coach Don Shula.

Director of College Scouting Kevin Kelly played collegiately at University of Miami and won a national championship with the Hurricanes in 1983.

Senior Executive Randy Mueller spent three years in Miami (2005-07) as the Dolphins’ general manager.

Dolphins linebacker Donald Butler spent six seasons with the Chargers after being drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Wide Receivers Coach Shawn Jefferson played the position for the Chargers from 1991-95.

Running back Damien Williams is a native of San Diego and prepped at Mira Mesa High School.

Tight end Dominique Jones is from San Diego and attended Horizon Christian Academy.

Practice squad tackle Terry Poole played collegiately at San Diego State.

Know Your Opponent

Broadcast Information

CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS-TV, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst) and Jamie Erdahl (reporter)

Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Mike Costa (reporter)

Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego)– Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)

All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Nick Hardwick (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.

Download the Chargers Official Mobile App for live game coverage, stats, and game day news.

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