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Dolphins hand Chargers third straight loss
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Tannehill completed 22-of-35 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown to lead the Miami Dolphins to a 20-16 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Charles Clay caught six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown and Daniel Thomas ran for 57 yards and a score on 10 caries for the Dolphins (5-5), who had dropped five of their last six games entering the contest.
"We knew we were going to have to make some plays in the fourth quarter. That has been the story all season. Today it was nice for our guys to make some plays," said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.
With the win, Miami tied AFC East rival New York Jets for the final AFC Wild Card spot.
Philip Rivers was 22-of-34 passing and finished with 298 yards, one touchdown and an interception, and Ryan Mathews rushed for 127 yards on 19 carries for the Chargers (4-6), losers of three straight.
"We made too many mistakes from start to finish," Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said. "We hurt ourselves way too much today."
Nick Novak's 27-yard field goal with 59 seconds left in the first half tied the game at 10-10.
After forcing a San Diego punt on the opening possession of the second half, Tannehill led the Dolphins on a quick five-play touchdown drive.
On 1st-and-5 from the San Diego 39, Tannehill hit Clay with a short pass and the tight end raced into the end zone for a 17-10 lead.
The Chargers answered back with a 50-yard field goal after Rivers' pass on 3rd-and-7 fell incomplete to make it a four-point game.
San Diego forced a punt on the ensuing drive and took it down to the Miami 11, but Rivers couldn't connect with Keenan Allen in the end zone and the Chargers were forced to settle for a 29-yard Novak field goal.
After trading punts, Miami added to its lead with a 37-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal for the decisive 20-16 advantage with 8:34 to play.
Rivers got the Chargers into the Dolphins zone, but his desperation heave as time expired was batted away and the Dolphins held on for the win.
Miami got on the board on the game's opening drive. Back-to-back passes of 17 and 16 yards got the Dolphins across midfield. Tannehill then found Clay and Mike Wallace for gains of 18 and 13 yards, respectively, to get the ball inside the San Diego 10-yard line.
Rishard Matthews was stopped short of the goal line on 3rd-and-long and the Dolphins settled for a 22-yard Sturgis field goal.
Rivers and Tannehill then traded interceptions, and the Chargers took over at midfield.
After a 32-yard pass to Ladarius Green down the right sideline got San Diego inside the red zone, Rivers found Antonio Gates for a 5-yard TD to make it 7-3.
The Dolphins responded with a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. After Miami got down to the Chargers' 12, Tannehill found Hartline for a short pass over the middle. Hartline fumbled and the Chargers recovered, but the turnover was negated by a roughing the passer penalty, and two plays later Thomas leaped over the line for a 10-7 edge.
Miami rushed for 104 yards after being held to just two yards in its Week 10 loss to Tampa Bay ... Rivers has thrown 59 touchdown passes to Gates, the most by a quarterback/tight end combo in NFL history ... Grimes has three interceptions this season ... Miami will host the Carolina Panthers next week ... San Diego will visit the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday.
11/17 20:33:38 ET
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