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3 Reasons Why The Dolphins Beat The Chargers In Week 1

In this weekly column, I outline 3 reasons why the Dolphins won or lost their previous game, and provide a short preview for next week’s game.

Miami Dolphins v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Game Summary:

First of the season.

The Miami Dolphins kicked off the 2023 NFL season with a 36-34 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1. The Dolphins are now 1-0, and currently sit atop the AFC East.

Here’s three reasons why Miami was able to take down Los Angeles:

Reason 1: Tua Tagovailoa

466 passing yards, 28/45 (62%), three touchdowns, and a passer rating of 110. In a matchup where he looked so poor last season, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa absolutely delivered in Week 1, and then some.

The Chargers’ offense was cutting through the Dolphins’ defense like butter on Sunday, but Tagovailoa refused to back down, and forced the game into a shootout. Off-script, through the middle, the deep ball, you name it. Tagovailoa put on a show all over the field today, and he’s a big reason why the Dolphins came away with a victory.

Reason 2: Protected The Quarterback

Part of the reason Miami had so much success offensively against the Chargers, was due to the stellar performance by the Dolphins’ offensive line.

Even without star tackle Terron Armstead, the Dolphins gave up ZERO sacks all game, and allowed just three tackles-for-loss. The likes of Kendall Lamm, Liam Eichenberg, Connor Williams, Robert Hunt, Austin Jackson, and Isiah Wynn managed to keep both Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack off their quarterback. For that, they deserve their flowers.

Football games are won in the trenches, and on Sunday, the Dolphins clearly won that battle.

Reason 3: Stayed Aggressive

In a game with seven lead changes, Miami’s aggressiveness on both sides of the football helped them get over the line with a win.

On a crucial 4th-and-7 towards the end of the first half, head coach Mike McDaniel opted to keep his offense on the field. The decision proved worthwhile, as the Dolphins not only converted on 4th down, but promptly marched down the field to score a touchdown, making the score 17-14 and reclaiming their lead over the Chargers.

Less than a minute later, with 0:09 left in the first half, the Dolphins again decided to stay aggressive. Inside his own territory, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a deep shot down the field, and a defensive pass interference call gave the Dolphins the ball at the Chargers’ 23-yard-line. Kicker Jason Sanders drilled his field goal attempt through the uprights, giving the Dolphins a 20-17 lead heading into the second half. Those three points proved to be the difference between a win and a loss, and while most teams would’ve taken a knee to close out the half, the Miami Dolphins aren’t most teams.

To cap it all off, on the game’s last play, the decision to send heavy pressure on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was a masterstroke by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, as Miami’s defense sealed the game with a walk-off sack. Scared money don’t make money, right?

Game Preview:

The Dolphins stay on the road next week, traveling up to Foxborough to take on the 0-1 New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots are coming off a 20-25 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.

The Dolphins are 2-2 in their last four visits to Gillette Stadium, and will look to win their first divisional matchup of the year next week.

What did you think of the Dolphins’ performance in Week 1? Let us know in the comments below, or at @ThePhinsider and @flameosumeet on Twitter!