The past two games have been a brutal stretch for the Miami Dolphins. It does not help they are during a three-game road trip.
Justin Herbert threw for 367 yards and a touchdown, and a short-handed defense got the best of the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa as the Los Angeles Chargers beat Miami 23-17 on Sunday night.
The Chargers (7-6) moved into position for the final AFC playoff berth ahead of the New York Jets.
The Dolphins (8-5) have lost two in a row and are clinging on to the sixth playoff spot in the AFC.
Herbert — the sixth overall pick in 2020, one behind Tagovailoa — completed a career-high 39 passes on 51 attempts for his 21st 300-yard game. In his first three seasons, he became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 13,000 yards.
But Tagovailoa had his worst game as an NFL starter, completing 10 of 28 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The Chargers held Miami to 219 yards despite not having safety Derwin James, linebacker Joey Bosa, cornerback Bryce Callahan, and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day because of injuries. The Dolphins came in with the league’s top-ranked pass offense.
Tyreek Hill scored two touchdowns for the Dolphins, one of them on an improbable recovery of Jeff Wilson Jr.’s fumble that Hill took 57 yards to the end zone.
In just his 13th game as a Dolphin, Hill broke Mark Clayton’s single-season franchise receiving yardage record of 1,389 yards set in 1984. Hill established the Dolphins’ new mark on a 13-yard catch during the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Chargers. The NFL’s leading receiver through 13 weeks, Hill entered Sunday’s game with 1,379 yards on 96 receptions.
Hill is the only player in the Super Bowl era to record a TD in the following ways: Receiving – Rushing – Kick Return – Punt Return – Fumble Return.
My final thoughts from the game and Dolphins season at this point.
Let it be clear. I have always preferred the Dolphins selecting Herbert over Tagovailoa.
Herbert put on a quarterback clinic.
The Dolphins’ offense has arrived at a considerable speed bump, and how they respond will go a long way in defining the rest of the season.
The Dolphins could have put themselves in an excellent position to play for the division when they visit the Buffalo Bills next week. The Bills have a commanding lead at the moment. They had an opportunity to go against a banged-up Chargers defense without Bosa and James.
Herbert outplayed Tagovailoa, and it was not even close. Tua had no response. The Chargers’ defense had a fantastic scheme. Outside of Hill, the Dolphins did not generate an offensive threat.
Tagovailoa did not have a great game visiting the 49ers last week. They schemed it up by playing tons of zone coverage. They jammed up the middle of the field, where Tagovailoa has been highly accurate at throwing. The Chargers took the defense playbook from the 49ers that were successful last week. The Dolphins need to adjust quickly to get the offense back on track.
It is hard to say this loss is on the Dolphins’ defense; they were defending the Chargers’ offense forever on the field. Herbert was brilliant. He played one of the best games any quarterback has played all season long. A combination of Herbert playing lights out and the Dolphins were running out of gas to get a win. Chargers wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen played amazingly; it showed how impressive Herbert is when they are healthy and playing with him on the field. Christian Wilkins and Jaelen Phillips played well on the defensive side; however, it was an opportunity the Dolphins let slip away.
The extent of Hill’s ankle injury was not shared; however, he will be needed for a chance to win on the road in Buffalo next week. He is a durable player who rarely misses time. The Dolphins are going to need him for them to have any shot in Buffalo. Hill’s play will go down as one of the most dramatic plays of the season and Dolphin’sDolphin’s history. The odds of a fumble winding up in Hill’s hands, going the distance, and outrunning the entire defense was a critical play that kept the dolphins in it while they were being outplayed.
The Dolphins visiting the Bills next could determine the fate of the season.