Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are reunited, raise Chargers

The Chargers beat Miami 23-17 on Sunday evening to enhance to 7-6 and transfer into the AFC’s seventh and remaining playoff spot, not less than for a day. If visiting New England defeats Arizona on Monday evening, the Patriots will take over the seventh place.

The victory was the Chargers’ first over an opponent with a profitable document, the Dolphins getting into at 8-4.

The Chargers play 7-6 Tennessee at SoFi Stadium subsequent weekend earlier than visiting 4-8-1 Indianapolis on “Monday Night Football” the day after Christmas.

They conclude the common season at residence towards the 4-9 Rams (Jan. 1) after which at 3-10 Denver (Jan. 7 or 8).

Some observations about their newest victory:

Prime targets workforce up once more (lastly): Mike Williams returned after lacking many of the final 5 video games due to a excessive ankle sprain, and the distinction was apparent early.

On the Chargers’ opening sequence, Williams adjusted in midair to make a glowing catch over Miami cornerback Xavien Howard, a three-time Professional Bowl choice. The play went for 23 yards and transformed a 3rd and 9.

“Justin [Herbert] gave me an opportunity to make a play,” Williams stated of his quarterback. “I love those types of situations, one-on-one. I feel like the ball is mine. I was just able to make a play on it.”

Williams later added a landing on a 10-yard reception. He additionally had a 55-yard catch within the third quarter. Williams completed with six receptions for 116 yards.

Sunday marked the primary time this season that the Chargers began and ended a sport with each Williams and Keenan Allen — their high two extensive receivers — wholesome.

Williams stated his ankle tightened up late within the sport however in any other case felt high-quality.

“I just wanted to be available the whole game for my team,” he stated, “just make plays and help us come out with the win.”

Document-setting Herbert rolls on: With 4 video games nonetheless to go, Herbert topped Andrew Luck for probably the most yards passing by a participant in his first three NFL seasons. Herbert’s complete is now 13,056.

“He’s just getting better,” Allen stated. “He’s just starting. He’s about to blow this league away.”

Herbert was 39 for 51 for 367 yards. That’s his single-game excessive in completions and his fourth-best yardage output for one sport.

“He’s the X factor,” Williams stated. “He’s been doing it since he’s been here. Everybody knows what type of player he is. He’s a leader on this team. We just got to continue to follow him.”

One among Herbert’s greatest — and most pinpoint — completions got here to Allen to transform a important third down on a fourth-quarter drive that every one however sealed the victory.

Justin Herbert prepares to throw towards the Dolphins. The Chargers quarterback set the NFL document for many yards passing in a participant’s first three NFL seasons.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

Herbert led the offense on a 17-play, 79-yard march that consumed 8:39 and ended with a 28-yard discipline aim by Cameron Dicker, placing the Chargers up by two scores — 23-14 — with 2:40 to go.

Alongside the way in which, the Herbert transformed a 3rd and 5 and a 3rd and three with completions to Allen and a 3rd and eight by scrambling for 10 yards.

“Playing the game he way always plays,” Allen stated. “He always plays with that confidence. He always makes those plays. We were just able to capitalize on a lot of them.”

Let’s get bodily: Dealing with some excessive pace — particularly in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle — the Chargers pressed Miami’s high two extensive receivers, complicating issues for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Cornerbacks Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis broke up passes because the Chargers clamped down on the Dolphins.

“Don’t let fast guys run down the field,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley stated when requested to clarify the workforce’s technique. “When you let fast guys run down the field and you let them run through zones with no one around, then it’s going to turn into a track meet.

“Guess what? You’re not as fast as they are. No one is. No one is as fast as they are. That’s why you see them do to people what they do because they’re really, really good. If you want a chance, you have to get closer to them.”

Hill had 4 receptions for 81 yards, 60 of which got here on one play when Davis was in protection and fell down because the ball arrived. Waddle had solely two catches for 31 yards.

Extra defensive dominance: The Chargers held Miami to a few three and outs, together with two on the Dolphins’ first three possessions.

Kyle Van Noy had his first sack as a Charger, and Morgan Fox had a sack that resulted in a 12-yard loss. Each got here on third down and compelled punts.

“It was a hell of a game plan by our defensive staff, led by Renaldo Hill,” Staley stated of his coordinator. “All of the guys that played tonight were committed to playing a complete game. We knew that if we played the way that we played, that it would look like that.”

The Chargers restricted Miami to a few for 11 on third down, the 27.3% success price one of the best efficiency of the season for Staley’s protection.

The Dolphins completed with solely 49 offensive performs in contrast with 78 for the Chargers, who had a time of possession benefit of greater than 19 minutes.

Information, information, information: Sunday marked the tenth profession sport of 12 or extra catches for Allen, an NFL document. He had entered the sport tied with Wes Welker at 9.

With eight receptions, Austin Ekeler pushed his profession complete to 375, probably the most for an undrafted working again within the frequent draft period, which dates to 1967.

Ekeler has 93 catches for the season, probably the most of his profession and likewise an NFL document for a working again by 13 video games.

Herbert’s 39 completions had been the second most in a sport by a Chargers quarterback. Philip Rivers accomplished 43 passes towards Inexperienced Bay in 2015.