SDUT: Dolphins have good weapons, bad record

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

By Jay Posner

Chargers’ next opponent: Miami Dolphins (5-7)

1:15 p.m. Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium

Coming off their worst season since the 1970 merger, the Miami Dolphins have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance under new coach Nick Saban. A 2-1 start disintegrated into a 1-6 slump, capped by a 22-0 shutout at Cleveland, but Miami rallied the past two weeks by beating Oakland and Buffalo.

The latter victory included the team’s second-largest comeback win ever and its best ever in the fourth quarter (from 3-23 to 24-23). Miami gained 218 yards in the fourth quarter alone, led by backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels.

The offense has some talented players, including wide receiver Chris Chambers, tight end Randy McMichael and running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, but quarterback Gus Frerotte is the league’s 30th-ranked passer. He missed last week’s comeback with a concussion but is expected to start Sunday. The offensive line has improved under former Chargers assistant Hudson Houck. Defensively, the Dolphins have struggled against the run but they have not allowed a 300-yard passer in their past 42 games.

Three players to watch

Ronnie Brown – The No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, Brown has overcome a slow start to rank among the league’s top 20 rushers with 811 yards, one fewer than the other top rookie, Tampa Bay’s Cadillac Williams. Brown is averaging 4.6 yards per carry while sharing time with Ricky Williams (4.1).

Zach Thomas – A star linebacker for a decade, Thomas is expected to play this week after missing the past two games with a high ankle sprain. He has made 12 or more tackles in eight of the 10 games he’s played and 24 of his past 27. He leads all AFC inside linebackers in fan voting for the Pro Bowl.

Chris Chambers – The five-year veteran is coming off the most productive day by an NFL receiver since 2002: 15 catches and 238 yards, both club records. Chambers needs 163 yards for his first 1,000-yard season and the first by a Dolphin since Tony Martin in 1999. He has 60 receptions and six touchdowns.

Familiar faces

The Dolphins have three former Chargers players – quarterback Cleo Lemon (2003-05), tackle Damion McIntosh (2000-03) and wide receiver Wes Welker (2004) – plus former offensive line coach Hudson Houck (2002-04). Running back Ricky Williams is a San Diego native who starred at Patrick Henry High.

Injury report

Like Zach Thomas, wide receiver Marty Booker (calf) is expected to resume practicing today and should be able to play. Booker missed last week’s game and saw limited action in the previous two.

Last meeting

On Oct. 27, 2003, what was supposed to mark Junior Seau’s first game against the Chargers and the first “Monday Night Football” game at Qualcomm Stadium in seven years instead was moved to Arizona because of wildfires in San Diego. Drew Brees threw three early interceptions and Miami took a 24-3 halftime lead en route to a 26-10 victory.

Series history

The Chargers have lost five straight to Miami – scoring 14 points or fewer each time – since beating the Dolphins 22-21 in the 1994 playoffs. The overall series is tied at 12-12, including 2-2 in postseason games. The Chargers are 8-4 in games played in San Diego, although Miami has won the past two (1995, 2000).

Did you know?

Miami has won six of its past eight and 18 of its last 21 games against teams from the AFC West, dating back to 1997. The only losses were at Kansas City in 2002, at Denver in 2004 and home against the Chiefs this season. Four of those wins came against the Chargers. In each of its 18 wins, Miami held its opponent to 22 points or fewer.Did you hear?

“I’m sure he (Sage Rosenfels) doesn’t have a problem with it until you make it an issue. The more you (reporters) make it an issue, the more I’ll need to talk to him.”

– Coach Nick Saban, on his backup quarterback’s feelings about not starting

Key stat

The Dolphins have been outscored in each of the first three quarters this season but have a huge 105-48 advantage in the fourth quarter. Overall they have been outscored 240-219. The Chargers have outscored their opponents in every quarter and 357-229 overall.