Can Chargers win over L.A. and take dent out of Rams’ recognition?

Halfway by way of the second quarter of their Sunday night time tussle with the Miami Dolphins at SoFi Stadium, the swarming Chargers protection compelled the Dolphins’ Jeff Wilson Jr. to fumble.

Besides, within the ensuing scrum, the ball popped unfastened from the pile and into the palms of the quickest man on the sector, whereupon Tyreek Hill raced 57 yards with the newfound present to attain the Dolphins’ first landing.

They’re nuts, these Bolts.

Halfway by way of the third quarter on this identical sport, the Chargers’ Michael Davis was completely masking a streaking Hill on a go route down the appropriate sideline.

Besides Davis’ toes grew to become twisted up with Hill’s toes, and Davis fell, whereupon Hill broke free to catch a 60-yard landing go from Tua Tagovailoa for the Dolphins’ second landing.

They didn’t break, these Bolts.

Within the six seasons since their return to Los Angeles, the Chargers have stumbled and staggered and slapsticked their means out of seemingly each vital alternative, however it wasn’t occurring Sunday.

Knocked backward by two freak performs, the Chargers and their unbelievable quarterback stored hurtling ahead till they lastly secured a dominating 23-17 victory over the NFL-darling Dolphins, setting themselves up for an important month of their Los Angeles existence.

Win and so they’re in. Win their remaining 4 video games in opposition to 4 beatable opponents and this 7-6 group absolutely will make the playoffs. Win at residence in opposition to the Tennessee Titans and Rams, and on the highway at Indianapolis and Denver, and the Chargers will crawl by way of an open window of alternative greatest described in three phrases.

Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill heads for the top zone after a recovering a fumble by teammate Jeff Wilson Jr. and working 57 yards for a landing.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Instances)

The Rams stink.

The area is there for the Chargers to make their first actual mark on this metropolis since they moved again right here. There will be just one playoff group on the town this winter, and the Chargers have to fill that void.

They’ve outlasted the cries to ship them again to San Diego. They’ve constructed a strong fan base equal in noise to the Rams’ fan base — even when each groups’ followers are often outnumbered. Now they’ve an actual probability to make a dent within the domination of the defending Tremendous Bowl champions.

They’re prepared for that subsequent step. Now they should take it.

 Justin Herbert signals first down after the Chargers quarterback scrambled past the Dolphins defense.

Justin Herbert indicators first down after the Chargers quarterback scrambled previous the Dolphins protection.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Instances)

But when Sunday night time’s victory over the favored and playoff-bound Dolphins was any indication, yeah, the journey goes to be nuts.

The Chargers outgained the Dolphins 432-219. Herbert almost tripled the output of his struggling counterpart Tagovailoa. The beforehand injured Mike Williams and Keenan Allen caught 208 yards’ price of passes within the first sport this season that they’ve began and completed collectively. The Chargers managed the Dolphins in each nook of a nationally televised sport that initially felt like a Dolphins coronation.

“I felt like it was the hardest we played all season,” coach Brandon Staley stated.

And nonetheless, the Chargers almost blew it once more ultimately, Joshua Palmer fumbling a Dolphins onside kick within the remaining moments, Nick Niemann saving the day with a last-gasp restoration.

“Incredible team win for us … the way our guys competed out there … guys trying to prove themselves,” Staley stated.

If the Chargers are going to get this finished, they’re in all probability going to need to do it like that younger boy who, with “Bolt Up” scrawled throughout his naked chest, led Sunday night time cheers on the large videoboard.

The child was screaming however, in these chilly temperatures, he additionally was shivering.

Regardless of pushing the Dolphins all around the discipline, the Chargers didn’t actually clinch it till Herbert used each his arm and legs — a 10-yard scramble! — on a 79-yard, fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a 28-yard Cameron Dicker discipline aim with 2:40 remaining.

Chargers linebacker. Chris Rumph II, pressures Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had to throw the ball away.

Chargers linebacker. Chris Rumph II, pressures Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who needed to throw the ball away.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Instances)

“We’ve got to keep going,’’ said Herbert, who completed passes to nine receivers in throwing for 367 yards and a touchdown without an interception. “If we want to get to where we want to go … it starts with watching film, fixing our mistakes … there’s a lot of football to be played … we just got to keep going.”

The Chargers’ clinching discipline aim marked not solely the top of the sport, but in addition the start of a final-month push.

The advantages of a Chargers playoff berth are apparent. The results of falling wanting the playoffs are also apparent, and never fairly.

Falling brief might, and doubtless would, end result within the firing of longtime normal supervisor Tom Telesco. That is his tenth season, and his groups have made the playoffs solely twice, and that kind of extended inefficiency would spell doom for just about any normal supervisor on this league.

Telesco struck gold with draft picks comparable to Herbert, Joey Bosa and Derwin James Jr., however struggled to construct the kind of depth that will have allowed the Chargers to resist a few of their quite a few accidents.

It’s extra unlikely, however nonetheless remotely potential, {that a} failure to make the playoffs additionally might put Staley’s job in danger. If there’s a brand new normal supervisor, he might hunt down an offensive guru to hone Herbert’s large expertise. It’s solely Staley’s second season, however after blowing a few video games and doubtless a playoff berth with poor sport administration in his rookie yr, this season his specialty — protection — routinely has ranked among the many league’s backside three.

That very same struggling protection definitely shined on Sunday, holding Tagovailoa to 10 completions on 28 makes an attempt for simply 145 yards. The new younger quarterback appeared utterly misplaced. The evolving younger coach appeared fairly good.

“Our secondary tonight really answered the call,” Staley stated. “Our guys came with the right mindset tonight.”

That mindset should proceed.

These subsequent 4 video games are large.

On this night time, anyway, the nutty Bolts have been greater.