It wasn’t exactly an offensive masterpiece, but the Bolts will take it.
The San Diego Chargers defense contained Miami's vaunted 'Wildcat' offense and the Bolts rode the arm – and legs – of quarterback Philip Rivers to defeat the Dolphins 23-13 in front of a fired-up sellout crowd at Qualcomm Stadium.
For the second straight game, the Chargers struggled putting the ball into the end zone once they got the ball inside the 20-yard line. Rivers put an end to that ominous streak.
Late in the third quarter with the Chargers trailing 6-3, Rivers took care of business with a 5-yard touchdown run to put the Chargers ahead for good 10-6. The touchdown drive was sparked by one of several brilliant long pass plays during the game – a 47-yard strike from Rivers to Malcolm Floyd.
The Chargers added two Kaeding field goals in the fourth quarter, followed by Weddle's interception return. For the game, Kaeding hit on field goals of 25,23, and 26-yards.
Miami added a late touchdown - a 14-yard run by Patrick Henry High School graduate Ricky Williams with 2:51 left in the game.
After taking the lead on Rivers' rushing touchdown, the Chargers had another scoring opportunity. A dazzling 56-yard pass from Rivers to Vincent Jackson put the ball on the Miami 15-yard line, but for the eighth time in the last two games, the Chargers settled for another field goal attempt. Kaeding’s 23-yarder gave the Bolts a 13-6 lead with 12:30 left to play in the game.
The Chargers defense played a magnificent game, despite playing without Shawne Merriman. Merriman was only involved in a few plays before re-aggravated a groin injury. His status for next week’s game in Pittsburgh is uncertain.
The defense also had a little bit of luck on their side. On Miami’s opening possession, the Dolphins marched 95-yards down the field and were poised to score. But a Ronnie Brown fumble squirted through the end zone for a touchback and the ball was returned to the Chargers.
After the Miami turnover, the Bolts were able to drive down to the 8-yard line, but again were unable to score a touchdown, instead settling for a Kaeding 25-yard field goal to give San Diego a 3-0 lead.
The teams then exchanged field goals. After a Rivers fumble, the Dolphins answered with a Don Carpenter 24-yard field goal to tie the game at halftime 3-3.
In the third quarter, Miami’s starting quarterback Chad Pennington was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. The Dolphins, though, took a brief 6-3 lead after a Carpenter 23-yard field goal.
The rest of the game belonged to the Chargers, who now improve their record to 2-1. The Bolts next play at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh against a tough Steeler team on Sunday night.