Quick-read, quick-thought observations on Sunday's 19-17 Dolphins season-opening victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles:
The excuses were all lined up. Neat, right in a row.
Hurricane Irma. A delayed opener. A quarterback new to the team. Practices moved across the country. Philip Rivers. A late distraction involving one of their own players, Lawrence Timmons, going AWOL on the eve of the game.
The Miami Dolphins didn't need any of those excuses.
They did need some luck -- a narrowly missed 44-yard Los Angeles Chargers field goal in the last seconds -- but that seemed fitting, didn't it?
The Dolphins endured a lot in the buildup to this season. Sunday? It felt like a reward.
Trust this offense. No, 19 points isn't a lot, but all the J's showed up. New QB Jay Cutler was a sharp 24 for 33 for 23- yards and TD, a 101.8 passer rating. Jay Ajayi rushed 28 times for 122 yards. Jarvis Landry caught 13 bvalls for 78 yards. (Oh, and DeVante Parker was the deep threat we envisioned, and Kenny Stills caught a TD pass). This offense will percolate once everyone is comfy with it.
The issue? Pass defense.
Rivers sliced through Miami 31 of 39 for 331 yards and a TD. He led the game-winning late drive, but for the providence of an inexperienced kicker missing wide-right on a very makeable field goal.
Bottom line? Yeah, the Dolphins were lucky to win in the end.
But, after this week, it felt like this team sort of deserved that luck.