1. Dolphins playoff hopes: The Dolphins appeared on their last legs just a week ago. They were coming off a loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers and didn’t handle the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin controversy well. However, the Dolphins fixed things and had a good week of preparation against San Diego. Miami picked up a key win and are now tied with the New York Jets for the sixth seed in the AFC. With two games against New York, Miami has a chance to control whether it makes the playoff.
2. Brent Grimes, cornerback: Not many people nationally thought much of the one-year contract the Dolphins gave Grimes this offseason. However, Grimes is playing like a true No. 1 corner and is having a strong season. Grimes recorded another interception and had a key pass defense on the final play in the end zone to preserve Miami’s victory over the Chargers. Grimes will be a free agent after this season and the Dolphins should make him a priority.
3. Sam Brenner, guard: It was easy to predict disaster for Miami’s offensive line when center Mike Pouncey could not play due to an illness. But Brenner did a good job filling in at guard, while Nate Garner moved to center. Miami rushed for 104 yards and kept the Chargers off balance. Brenner played a key role coming off the practice squad just one day before the game.
1. Dolphins focus: The Dolphins say they will be 100-percent focused on preparing for the Carolina Panthers. But focus has to be impacted with the NFL investigators in town to interview players and coaches. This takes time and concentration away from the task at hand.
2. Lamar Miller, tailback: Miller’s workload decreased this week as backup Daniel Thomas took most of the work. Miller rushed for just 17 yards against the Chargers. Miller needs to work on his consistency to get more carries.
3. Brian Hartline, receiver: Hartline has been the model of consistency this season. But he didn’t have his usual performance against the Chargers. Hartline was targeted 13 times but had just five receptions. Hartline also had two drops, which was uncharacteristic of the sure-handed receiver.