Smiles spread across the faces of the coaching staff of the Miami Dolphins, their players and their fans as quarterback Josh Rosen connected with wide receiver DeVante Parker for a 34-yard touchdown strike with 6:32 remaining in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers. Parker beat safety Desmond King II down the right sideline, and Miami took its first lead of the season, 7-3.
However, the Dolphins (0-4) were unable to maintain their first lead of the season, and fell to the Chargers (2-2) 30-10.
LA did receive some positive news prior to the game however. This past week, starting running back Melvin Gordon ended his holdout and returned to the team amid his contract dispute. He did not play against Miami, although activated, but he traveled with the team to begin getting back into the rhythm of the season.
Miami’s positive takeaways
While Miami did not walk away today with the victory, it surely has some good to look at. Through the first four weeks of the season, all signs were pointing to Rosen giving the Dolphins at least the slightest chance to win some games this season and also being able to put drives together. Rosen finished the game going 17-for-24 for 180 yards, as well as one TD and one interception. This included a perfect 4-for-4 for 75 yards to begin the game and the score to Parker. Parker finished the game as the Dolphins’ leading receiver, hauling in four receptions for 77 yards.
Another positive to take away is the run game of Kenyan Drake; something that hasn’t been able to be said all season. Although it looks like Miami is still going with the RB by committee approach, Drake finished the game with nine carries for 44 yards. This lead the team on the day and was his season high.
Dolphins’ struggles continue
Unfortunately for Miami, it continues to struggle in protecting the QB. The offensive line gave up five sacks on the day, and the defense continues to give up a lot of points. In each game the Dolphins have played this season, they’ve given up at least 30 points in each game. However, they do still continue to give up fewer and fewer points each week. In order from weeks one through four, Miami has given up 59, 43, 31 and 30 points respectively, a trend, if it keeps up, will eventually get it its first win.
“I really don’t know. I mean you guys (the media) keep asking, and if I had an answer, we’d correctly adjust for it. I don’t know. We’re figuring it out, and hopefully we’ll give you guys a better second half the next time,” Rosen said.
Additionally, the running backs still have yet to crack 100 yards total in rushing on the season. Amongst the committee, the Dolphins rushed just for a combined 72 yards spread about between four players. Finally, with only scoring 10 points in the game, Miami has now been outscored 163-26 in four games to begin the season.
“We’ll self-scout everything. There has been some progress over the first four games. The first quarter of the season is over, and we’ll move on to the second quarter of the season,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said.
Chargers got rolling
It took a few drives, but the Philip Rivers-lead Chargers shook off the cross-country trip dust after falling behind early. Rivers finished 24-for-30 with 310 yards passing and two TDs with no INTs. RB Austin Ekeler led the way on the ground with 18 carries for 60 yards and one TD.
Another positive one can look at for Miami, was the way it limited star WR Keenan Allen. Coming into the game, Allen was the best wideout in the NFL this season, already hauling in 29 catches for 404 yards in three games. Although he only dropped one of six targets, he only had 48 yards in the game and was held out of the end zone. LA’s leading WR was No. 4 wideout (according to the team’s depth chart amid its injuries) Dontrelle Inman who finished the game with five catches for 76 yards.
Miami likely faces a winless Washington team after its bye
With the battle of two likely winless teams in week six, look for the game between the Washington Redskins and Miami to be very ugly and for both teams. Both teams will either come into it struggling the entire time on both sides of the football, or the defense will be lacking for both sides that both offenses will be on display (when they shouldn’t be).