Team Adversity is coming home with a win. But not before it gave us more drama on Sunday -- both before the game and during.
During the game the Dolphins seemed out of sorts. Strangely tentative at times -- except when Jay Ajayi was carrying the football. The defense gave ground, although not too many points. The special teams were inconsistent.
And amid that uneven performance, these Miami Dolphins delivered.
Cody Parkey connected on a 54-yard field goal inside of 2 minutes to play to give the Dolphins a 19-17 victory.
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The Dolphins are in first place in the AFC East, friends.
Don’t celebrate. The reason the Dolphins won this game is because the Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo missed a 44 yard field goal with 5 seconds to play.
This game measure guts. It was rugged. It was chippy. The two teams got in something of a shoving match on the field and even in the tunnel they shared on the way to their locker rooms at halftime.
And despite taking some blows, the Dolphins gave, too.
This game was going to measure which team could deal with a last-minute change that was unexpected for both teams. The Dolphins had linebacker Lawrence Timmons go AWOL from the team on Saturday and knew that was going to force them to use Mike Hull as one of the two linebackers in the nickel package.
(It also would make Chase Allen a starter in his first NFL game, replacing Timmons in the base defense).
So could the Dolphins coaches cover up the obvious and late loss to their defense?
And could the Chargers, with a new coaching staff, use that unexpected advantage? Could they pick at Hull? Could they run without one of the Dolphins better run-stoppers in the lineup?
I have to tell you, the Timmons issue didn’t really affect the game.
And that speaks well of the Dolphins covering it up on the field. And that speaks poorly of the Chargers not finding the weakness and going after it.
My guess is the New England Patriots would have gone after that weak point time and again. The Chargers didn’t.
That didn’t mean, however, the Dolphins dominated this game.
The Dolphins had only a field goal and 121 total yards in the first half. And here I thought only Timmons went AWOL prior to this game.
The strategy seemed to be to get rid of the football as quickly as possible so as to not get quarterback Jay Cutler hit too often. Or at all.
The problem with that is it limited the Dolphins to checkdowns and short crossing routes. The Dolphins longest attempt of the half was Cutler's heave Hail Mary as time ran out in the half.
It only went some 30 yards and landed harmlessly out of bounds.
This didn't look like an offense that had an extra week to figure things out. But it was good enough.
That’s kind of all that matters.