SAN DIEGO --
Takeo Spikes' 8-yard sack on a second and 10 play, followed by Eric Weddle's interception of a Matt Moore pass intended for Anthony Fasano with 2:53 to play, pretty much slammed the lid on any Miami hopes of getting its first victory. The Chargers ran out the clock and came away with a 26-16 victory Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, and at 3-1 moved into first place in the AFC West.
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The Chargers burned more than seven minutes on the drive that led to Nick Novak's 38-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, and a 26-16 lead with 4:28 left.
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It's now 23-16, Chargers, after Dan Carpenter kicked a 51-field goal with 11:34 left in the game. Key play in the 46-yard drive, an 18-yard pass from Matt Moore to Lex Hilliard on third-and-3 at the Dolphins' 17.
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Nick Novak drilled a 23-yard field goal with 1:15 left in the third quarter to pad the Chargers' lead over Miami, 23-13, after an exchange of pass interference penalties.
Malcolm Floyd appared to have caught a 31-yard pass from Philip Rivers down to the Miami 3, but was called for "illegal touching" -- i.e., stepping out of bounds and coming back in to catch the pass. On the very next play, Floyd and Miami safety Yeremiah Bell got tangled up downfield, and Bell was called for pass interference, giving the Chargers a first down at the 13.
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Igor Olshansky, the defensive tackle who played here for so long and got wild cheers every time his name was announced -- to the point where I speculated the fans were cheering the idea of an Igor Olshansky rather than anything specific he did -- was in on his first tackle late in the third quarter.
No cheers, this time, when his name was announced. Just a few scattered boos.
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Dan Carpenter's 37-yard field goal with 6:46 left in the third quarter cut San Diego's lead to 20-13. It was helped along, natch, by another Chargers' miscue, rookie cornerback Marcus Gilchrist's 25-yard pass interference penalty that nullified Eric Weddle's interception and instead gave Miami a first-and-10 at the Chargers' 41.
Matt Moore found Brandon Marshall for 14 yards and a first down, setting up the field goal.
Watching the Dolphins' pass defense, it's not hard to understand why they're 0-3.
They've now allowed six Philip Rivers completions of 15 or more yards, Two of them, a 20-yarder to Vincent Brown and a 42-yard play on a short pass to Ryan Mathews, set up Mike Tolbert's touchdown leap from the 1 with 9:24 left in the third quarter, giving San Diego a 20-10 lead.
Essentially, the Dolphins' coverage and tackling ability have been lacking today. If the Chargers pay attention, they could still turn this into a rout.
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Nick Novak drilled a 48-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the first half, and the Chargers left the field with a 13-10 intermission lead over the Miami Dolphins ... the 0-3 Dolphins, for those who have forgotten.
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Halftime statistical notes: Vincent Jackson already has 108 receiving yards, on three catches, The Chargers have 34 rushing yards, total, but Philip Rivers has thrown for 191 yards (14 of 19) with a touchdown and no picks.
Matt Moore, the former UCLA and Oregon State quarterback summoned after Chad Henne injured his shoulder late in the first quarter, completed 8 of 9 passes for 85 yards in the half. Reggie Bush has 38 yards on 10 carries to lead all rushers so far.