For the first time this season, Miami seemed to gain some rhythm in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sure, mistakes were made, and it's clear the team have to get better. But for the first time it seems Miami have gained some momentum heading into this week's game against San Diego.
San Diego lost last week to the Denver Broncos, but still have a record of 5-3. They'll be a different type of opponent in comparison to the games against the Bears and the Jaguars. Lets check out the depth chart to see what Miami are up against this week.
It just wasn't San Diego's day on Thursday against Denver, and it told judging from Philip Rivers' reaction anytime something went against the Chargers. Whether it was his reaction to the fumbled kickoff being overturned or his reaction after his two interceptions. Yet while Rivers vented his anger, he wore his heart on his sleeve, and was still able to play at a high level on Thursday, throwing for 252 yards and three touchdowns, albeit with two interceptions.
Tight end Antonio Gates made history by becoming the all-time leading receiver in franchise history, with a 31-yard catch in the second quarter. Gates now has 9,610 yards in his Chargers career. He hauled in two touchdowns to make it a total of 9 in the first 8 games. Wide receiver Keenan Allen had 9 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, his first of the season.
As for the offensive line, the unit has been abysmal this year, especially in the middle where the loss of Nick Hardwick at the beginning of the season has been telling. The result means that Philip Rivers has been forcing some throws, whilst the run game has stuttered. Undrafted rookie running back Branden Oliver played well early on in the season, but has been struggling after teams have learnt how to play against him. Miami's stable full of stellar pass rushers can really make an impact here.
|Position||First String||Second String||Third String||Other|
|WR1||Keenan Allen||Seyi Ajirotutu||Dontrelle Inman|
|LT||King Dunlap||Willie Smith|
|LG||Chad Rinehart||Chris Watt|
|C||Rich Ohrnberger||Trevor Robinson|
|RG||Johnnie Troutman||Chris Watt|
|RT||D.J. Fluker||Willie Smith|
|TE||Antonio Gates||David Johnson|
|TE||Ladarius Green||John Phillips|
|WR2||Malcom Floyd||Eddie Royal|
|QB||Philip Rivers||Kellen Clemens|
|RB||Ryan Mathews||Donald Brown||Branden Oliver||Shaun Draughn|
Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano finds a way to help his team win football games. He keeps the opposing defense on their toes, and gets the best out of his players. San Diego's 15 sacks this season have come from 13 different players. Even more impressive, their defense has allowed the third-fewest pass yards per game. That wasn't enough against the Broncos on the weekend, who were well and truly put to the sword by the brilliant Peyton Manning, but Pagano has proven time and time again that he can keep offensive units guessing and encourages his unit to make plays that can prove decisive.
As for cornerback Jason Verrett, the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft exited the stadium against Denver in a sling, and is likely to miss the game against the Dolphins. He'll be a big loss for the team, who has been one of the Chargers' best defensive players and a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
|Position||First String||Second String||Third String|
|DE||Kendall Reyes||Ricardo Mathews|
|NT||Sean Lissemore||Ryan Carrethers|
|DT||Corey Liuget||Tenny Palepoi|
|OLB||Dwight Freeney||Jeremiah Attaochu||Cordarro Law|
|ILB||Manti Te'o||Reggie Walker||Andrew Gachkar|
|ILB||Donald Butler||Kavell Conner|
|OLB||Jarret Johnson||Tourek Williams|
|CB||Brandon Flowers||Richard Marshall||Steve Williams|
|CB||Shareece Wright||Jason Verrett||Chris Davis|
|SS||Marcus Gilchrist||Jahleel Addae|
|FS||Eric Weddle||Darrell Stuckey|
Veteran kicker Nick Novak still has a 100 percent record this season, converting 14 from 14 field goals in 8 games. He's joined by punter Mike Scifres, considered one of the best punters in the NFL by pinning opposing offenses inside their 20 yard line.
|Position||First String||Second String|
|H||Mike Scifres||Eric Weddle|
|KR||Donald Brown||Branden Oliver|
|PR||Eddie Royal||Keenan Allen|
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.