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Chargers-Dolphins: Five things to watch

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    By Jay Posner
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    September 26, 2009

    DOLPHINS (0-2) at CHARGERS (1-1)

    Kickoff: 1:15 p.m. / Caliente line: Chargers by 6 / Series: Dolphins lead 14-12 TV: Channel 8 (Dick Enberg, Dan Fouts) / Radio: 105.3-FM, 1360-AM; in Spanish on 107.3-FM

    1. RUNNING FISH: All the talk last year was about the wildcat formation, but the Dolphins actually had more success with their “normal” running game. Regardless of the formation, the Chargers must find a way to get some stops against Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, who have 287 yards rushing in two games. And doing it before halftime would be a good idea, unlike the Chargers' first two games. The Chargers need to keep Chad Pennington out of third-and-3 and make him try to beat them on third-and-8 (or more). Unlike San Diego, Miami does not have a big-play offense, at least not yet; Pennington is 27th in the league, averaging 5.8 yards per attempt, while Philip Rivers is fifth at 8.5.

    2. SACKMASTERS: Both teams have sack-happy outside linebackers who are off to slow starts. Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips combined for 21 sacks in 2007, the last full season they played together; through two games this year they have zero and the team has just two. Jason Taylor and Joey Porter have combined for more than 200 career sacks, although each has only one this year. Whichever of these duos gets cranked up today could decide the winner, and both offensive lines have had their troubles at times in pass protection. Neither team can afford to lay back and let the other QB pick its secondary apart.

    3. SIX POINTS, NOT THREE: The teams combined for seven field goals and four touchdowns last week, which is a big reason why they went 0-2. No matter how good Baltimore's defense might be, for the Chargers and their offensive talent to have first-and-goal four times and not score a touchdown was a disgrace. Could they not exploit a matchup with one of their tall wide receivers even once? Miami has scored just three TDs in two games after its offense produced more than three per game last year. Look for both teams to try something different in the red zone.

    4. THE TIGHT END: And here we think the Chargers have trouble covering opposing tight ends. Miami has faced two top tight ends this year and Tony Gonzalez (73) and Dallas Clark (183) combined for 256 yards and two scores. When these teams played in 2005, Antonio Gates had 13 catches for 123 yards and a TD. When they played last year, Gates had one catch for 12 yards. But with the way Miami has defended this year, figure either Gates has a huge game, or Miami overcommits to him and Vincent Jackson and others have huge games.

    5. CLOSE CAN BE TROUBLE: After going 4-9 in his first 13 Chargers games decided by 7 points or fewer, Norv Turner won three straight – against Kansas City and Indianapolis at the end of last season and this year's season opener. But it was back to form against the Ravens, with Turner suffering his 10th loss in 17 such games as Chargers coach. He is 37-56-1 (.399) in tight games during his career. Tony Sparano is 7-3 in similar situations as Miami's coach, winning six straight to close last year but losing Monday to the Colts. One more thing about Sparano: His team will be desperate. It's been 12 years since a team lost its first three games and made the playoffs.
  2. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

    Mar 10, 2007
    Norv is 20-14 as the Bolts head coach in the regular season. Time to be 21-14.:tup:

    I do see Gates and Jackson having big days, but if Miami overplays them then maybe it will open up some short screens to the Lightning Bug out of the backfield.

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