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(Sunday, September 27th)
Final Score: San Diego 23, Miami 13
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Nate Kaeding kicked three field goals and Eric Weddle returned an interception for a touchdown, helping the San Diego Chargers take a 23-13 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Philip Rivers threw for 303 yards on 18-of-33 completions and ran for the other score for the Chargers (2-1), who rebounded from a loss to Baltimore last week. Vincent Jackson caught five passes for 120 yards in the win.
"I talk about toughness; hanging in mentally and physically. I thought Philip took a couple pretty good shots, battled back and then hits the big throws in the third quarter that got us some energy, got us some life," said Chargers head coach Norv Turner.
Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman left the game in the third quarter with a groin injury he had sustained earlier. He was listed as questionable for Sunday's contest and attempted to play before departing.
Meanwhile, Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington also left in the third quarter after sustaining a right shoulder injury. He was 8-for-12 for 54 yards before exiting, while substitute Chad Henne completed 10-of-19 passes for 92 yards with the interception Weddle returned for a score.
Ricky Williams ran for 55 yards and the only touchdown for the Dolphins (0-3), while Ronnie Brown had 75 yards on 18 carries.
"Nobody's going to feel sorry for us, certainly in our division," said Miami head coach Tony Sparano. "We're 0-3. It's not good. It's not acceptable."
Dan Carpenter connected on two field goals, including a 23-yard attempt with 4:09 left in the third quarter that gave Miami a 6-3 edge. But San Diego answered with a quick score to grab the lead.
On the first play, Rivers found Malcolm Floyd over the middle for 47 yards, bringing the ball to the Miami 28-yard line. He then passed to Antonio Gates for a 19-yard gain, and three plays later, Rivers ran five yards into the end zone as San Diego went in front.
The Chargers added another quick score shortly into the fourth quarter, as that drive began with another big play -- this time a 55-yard pass to Jackson.
It got the ball to the Dolphins' 13, and two runs by Darren Sproles put the ball at the five. On third down, Rivers' pass to Sproles fell incomplete, and Kaeding's 23-yarder made it a 13-6 game.
Kaeding later capped an 11-play drive, which lasted nearly five minutes, with a 26-yard field goal to increase San Diego's lead to 10. The Chargers then essentially put the game away on the ensuing Miami drive.
Henne threw a short pass to his left, intended for Davone Bess, but Weddle had a bead on the ball and stepped in front of Bess for the interception, then ran 31 yards into the end zone. The score put the hosts up 23-6 with 5:45 to play.
The Dolphins got their first touchdown on the next drive, a 14-yard run by Williams, but with only 2:51 to play, time had run out on Miami. San Diego recovered an onside kick and ran down the clock to seal the game.
In the first quarter, Miami was on the cusp of scoring a touchdown, having reached San Diego's one-yard line. But a Pennington fumble was knocked out of bounds, resulting in a touchback for the Chargers.
They turned that into the game's first points, a 25-yard kick from Kaeding almost six minutes into the second quarter.
Rivers later lost a fumble, which resulted in a 24-yarder by Carpenter with 3:26 left in the half. It was a 3-3 game at the break.
Sproles finished with 41 yards on 18 carries for San Diego, while Gates had five catches for 64 yards...The Chargers were 1-for-6 in the red zone, while the Dolphins were 1-for-4...Next Sunday, San Diego plays at Pittsburgh, while Miami goes for its first win of the season with a home contest against Buffalo.
09/28 00:23:25 ET
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