Sunday, October 2, 2011
Wrap-up: Chargers 26, Dolphins 16
By James Walker
Let's take a look at the San Diego Chargers', 26-16, victory over the Miami Dolphins.
What it means: Sunday's loss was another big blow for the future of Miami coach Tony Sparano. He could be the NFL's first coaching casualty of 2011. The Dolphins are 0-4 this season and overall has lost seven straight under Sparano. The bye week is a dangerous time for embattled coaches. The two-week break gives Dolphins' ownership plenty of time to rethink the direction of the franchise. Time will tell if Miami gives Sparano the quick hook now or provides more time. Miami defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is on staff and has head-coaching experience. Nolan probably would get the interim tag if the Dolphins chose to make a coaching change now.
Injured quarterback: As if things couldn't get worse, Miami starting quarterback Chad Henne suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and didn't return. Henne was having a decent season compared to previous years. He was replaced by backup Matt Moore, who threw for 167 yards and an interception. The Dolphins have two weeks to determine if Henne can return for their next game. If not, Miami has to decide whether to move forward with Moore, or try calling another veteran quarterback (David Garrard?).
What I liked: The Dolphins were somewhat competitive for three and a half quarters. This was another game Miami was not expected to win. Miami has been solid on the road dating to last year. The difference is Miami isn't winning those close road games this season.
What I didn't like: Miami didn't get much from its running game and the defense gave up several big plays. The 55-yard touchdown play to Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson was a perfect example. It was a blown assignment and no Miami defender was in the vicinity of Jackson. There has been poorly-executed plays like this all season for the Dolphins. It's one of several reasons Sparano is on the hot seat.
What's next: The Dolphins have a bye in Week 5. They return Oct. 17 to play a road game against the New York Jets on "Monday Night Football."