Miami Dolphins

Dolphins defense pitches shutout in a blowout win of Chargers

Putting on the pressure: Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon strips the ball from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the third quarter. The Dolphins sacked Rivers four times in the game.
Putting on the pressure: Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon strips the ball from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the third quarter. The Dolphins sacked Rivers four times in the game. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Philip Rivers was sacked, hit, rushed and intercepted frequently by a smothering Dolphins defense.

The Chargers star quarterback put it simply when describing his team’s Sunday afternoon.

“They flat out beat us,” Rivers said. “For 60 minutes they wore us out. There’s really not much to explain other than we played poor and they got after us. They played very well.”

The Dolphins’ secondary recorded three interceptions in a game for the second time this season, led by Brent Grimes’ pair of third-quarter picks that highlighted the Dolphins’ 37-0 rout of San Diego.

It was the team’s first shutout since Dec. 10, 2006 against the Patriots.

“That was an awesome game,” Grimes said. “You don't see 37-0 often in the NFL. But we have to enjoy it for a couple of days and then put it behind us.”

Grimes increased his team-leading total to four interceptions.

Safety Reshad Jones accounted for the other.

The Dolphins also sacked Rivers three times with the last of the three coming on a strip-sack by Olivier Vernon that led to Miami’s final touchdown.

The defense had four sacks overall, forced four turnovers and held San Diego to 178 total offensive yards.

The Dolphins have nine interceptions for the season.

Rivers completed only 12 of 23 passes for 138 yards and was benched with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Having confidence

“We always have confidence we can play like this, it’s just a matter of coming out and doing it,” Grimes said. “If we play solid ball technique wise, we have the talent and the athletes.”

Grimes credited the Dolphins’ pass rush for facilitating the turnovers, although the secondary did not give San Diego’s receivers much of a break either.

“I want to thank our defensive line because they played incredible,” Grimes said. “They pressured him and didn’t let him step up and make easy throws. We just played good technique in the back end and made the plays when we had a chance to.”

Grimes kept tight coverage on Chargers receiver Keenan Allen, beating him to the ball on both of his interceptions.

Grimes timed the first one perfectly, jumping the route and returning it 26 yards to the Chargers’ 19. On San Diego’s ensuing drive, Grimes again timed his jump better than Allen on a deep ball by Rivers and came down with it for his second interception.

Jones easily snared an overthrown pass rushed by Rivers in the second quarter for his interception with 10:51 left in the second quarter.

Jones made an even more crucial play on the Chargers’ opening drive of the game that set the tone for the defense’s day.

Facing fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins’ 22, the Chargers came away empty after a 12-play, 57-yard drive when Jones surged through the line and dropped running back Branden Oliver in the backfield for a 1-yard loss.

“The gap opened up and I shot it and made a good play,” Jones said. “We just knew this game was going to be huge. We just went out and played our style of hard-nosed defense.”

Innocent mistake

About the only noticeable mistake by the Dolphins secondary led to a little playful banter between Jones and Grimes over what could have been.

Jones accidentally disrupted what could have been an interception by Grimes when he dove for an overthrown pass by Rivers early in the third quarter.

“I told him, my bad,” Jones said. “We just go out there and try to make plays. I just saw the ball and I went airborne trying to make a play.”

Grimes said: “We made up for it later on so it’s OK.”

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