An emotional victory for the Chargers on Sunday night time at SoFi Stadium was seen on the sphere — and off.
Moments after the Chargers defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-17, coach Brandon Staley was requested about his animated conduct following a key late completion by quarterback Justin Herbert.
“I saw a lot of winning plays out there tonight,” he stated. “They gave me a lot of reasons to be excited. That’s just the truth. There were a lot of big plays out there. … I want them to see me that way.
“Like I told them: ‘I’m not just doing that because I feel like it. I’m doing that because you guys made me do it.’ It was great for our team tonight. I thought our team played with a lot of energy.”
The Chargers stifled Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and an offense that entered as one of many NFL’s finest, notably by means of the air.
Tagovailoa, one of many league’s most correct passers by means of 13 weeks, completed 10 for 28 for 145 yards, 60 of which got here on one completion, a third-quarter landing move to Tyreek Hill.
His 112 passer ranking was on tempo to interrupt Miami’s franchise report for a season. Tagovailoa’s ranking Sunday night time: 65.3.
“Defensively, we just answered all the challenges in the game,” Staley stated. “They’re having a tremendous year offensively. They have a lot of weapons. We’re down a ton of guys.
“But you saw the competitiveness within our program, guys trying to prove themselves and showcase themselves to the league and also showcase our defense to the league.”
The Chargers performed with out Professional Bowl security Derwin James Jr., who missed the sport due to a quadriceps harm.
In addition they had been lacking cornerback Bryce Callahan (core muscle) and defensive sort out Sebastian Joseph-Day (knee).
In all, the Chargers performed with out six projected defensive starters, a gaggle that included three reigning Professional Bowl gamers.
Taking part in aggressive and tight in opposition to a speedy Miami offense that included Hill and fellow wideout Jaylen Waddle, the Chargers pressed and pushed the Dolphins all around the discipline.
Miami led the NFL in yards per passing try (8.11) and was second in passing yards per recreation (290.5). These numbers Sunday had been 5.2 and 127.
On offense, the Chargers welcomed again Professional Bowl middle Corey Linsley and vast receiver Mike Williams with apparent outcomes.
Williams completed with six receptions for 116 yards and one landing. His return opened up issues for Keenan Allen, who had 12 catches for 92 yards.
“When you get Mike back in this movie, it just looks different,” Staley stated. “It feels different. There’s just more available to you. Those guys were able to connect tonight.”
Herbert accomplished 39 of 51 makes an attempt for 367 yards. Austin Ekeler scored the Chargers’ different landing on a one-yard run late within the first half.
Due to the efficiency of the crew’s protection, the Chargers’ offense had room to be lower than environment friendly.
The Chargers scored solely two touchdowns in six red-zone journeys and only one in three goal-to-go conditions.
As an alternative, they had been compelled to accept three discipline targets by Cameron Dicker from 33, 31 and 28 yards.
However Herbert and the remaining had been ok, Staley noting how 9 gamers caught passes.
“That’s the offense that we like to play, where people touch the ball,” he stated. “Justin was fantastic with his decision-making.”
The win lifted the Chargers again into the seventh and remaining playoff place within the AFC. At 7-6, they’ve the identical report because the New York Jets however have a greater convention report. The Jets misplaced Sunday to Buffalo.
The Chargers are a half-game forward of New England, which performs Monday night time at Arizona.
Beginning with subsequent Sunday’s residence recreation in opposition to Tennessee, the Chargers determine to be favored in every of their remaining 4 video games.
Their domination of the Dolphins was fairly thorough. The Chargers capped a one-sided first half by shifting 90 yards in 13 performs to take a 17-7 lead after two quarters.
Ekeler keyed the drive by turning a brief completion right into a 16-yard acquire on the next-to-last play, giving the Chargers fourth and aim from the Dolphins’ one-yard line.
Staley handed on a brief field-goal try and as a substitute went for the landing. His resolution paid off when Ekeler ran over left sort out and bounced throughout the aim line behind blocks from tight finish Tre’ McKitty and fullback Zander Horvath.
Extra spectacular was what the Chargers’ protection did to Tagovailoa and Miami’s offense. The Dolphins quarterback reached intermission with three completions on 15 makes an attempt for 25 yards.
Miami had solely 5 first downs, totaling 55 yards on 24 performs, and 20 of these yards got here on one run by Jeff Wilson Jr.
“We weren’t surprised,” cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. stated. “That’s how we expected to play. With D.J. [James] and Bryce down, other guys needed to step in and make plays. That’s just what happened.”