The stage was set for the top rated offense in the AFC to run up points and yardage on the Dolphins' defense as the Cardinals did three weeks ago, but Miami had something to say about it on Sunday, holding the San Diego Chargers to a season low 10 points.
LaDainian Tomlinson gained only 35 yards on 12 attempts, and Phillip Rivers had his least productive game of the year, with 159 yards passing. The entire team combined for only 202 total yards.
Miami would score all the points they needed in the first half. Former Charger Greg Camarillo would become the first Dolphins wide receiver to score a touchdown, as Chad Pennington threaded a pass to Camarillo in the middle of the end zone. Later in the second quarter, the Dolphins would again unleash their Wildcat offense, with Ronnie Brown running off tackle on the right side for a five-yard touchdown.
On the play, Ricky Williams made a key block as Brown coasted into end zone untouched and then gathered with his teammates as they broke into something that looked like a cross between the River dance and the Rockettes.
The only touchdown for the Chargers would come from former Dolphin Chris Chambers, who made one of his patened tip-toe touchdown catches for 17 yards. Chambers would later be carted off the field on his third reception of the game with a leg injury; the Chargers are awaiting X-ray reports for his leg.
Sunday was not going to be a walk in the park for the Bolts, as the Miami secondary played their best game of the year. They were led by Yeramiah Bell, who had five tackles and two passes defended. Roth and Porter harassed Rivers all day long as Miami's defensive line got a ton of push from Kendall Langford and Jason Ferguson.
The Chargers were shut out in the fourth quarter for the first time this season when Tomlinson ran into a stone wall on 4th-and-goal. The Dolphins would later get the ball and march 60 yards, using up the final five minutes and 55 seconds of the game, a trademark of the NY Giants back in the Bill Parcells era.
It's a trademark that coach Tony Sparano has instilled in this new Dolphins team. Miami controlled the clock, winning time of possession by over 13 minutes.
The next stop for Miami is the struggling Houston Texans, who, by the way, have never lost to the Dolphins. But this is truly a different team; one that prides itself on its play. The players have bought into the Sparano system. This team is never too high and never too low, and that is a credit to this new coaching staff.
They will enjoy their win for 12 hours, and then back on the practice field, adding more looks to that Wildcat offense. Dolphins fans are going to really enjoy watching the emergence of a new winning era in Miami Dolphins football, hopefully for years to come.