Professor Will's report card

Will Manso breaks down Dolphins-Chargers


MIAMI – Team Turmoil finally got a win! Funny what a victory does to controversy for a bit. Okay, so the Dolphins were far from perfect on Sunday against the Chargers, but they didn't need to be.  What they needed was a win, and that's exactly what they got.  So, let's get to the grades.

Offense- C+

Ryan Tannehill threw one interception and was sacked four times.  That's not ideal, but he managed to stay upright long enough to hit a big play to Charles Clay for a 39 yard score.  That was part of a big day for Clay.  He continues to develop and finished with six catches for 90 yards. 

The running game quietly did enough by averaging over 5 yards per carry and rushing for over 100 yards.  Daniel Thomas had a touchdown, while Tannehill showed his ability to make plays with his legs by rushing for 21 yards.  Again, the offensive line is still a mess, but given that three normal starters were out, I'd say they did a respectable job.

Defense- B

This unit frustrated Philip Rivers most of the game.  They intercepted him once and sacked him three times.  For the second straight game, the run defense looked suspect, as the Chargers Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and San Diego averaged almost six yards a carry.

But, in key situations, in particular with the Chargers driving, the defense made the stops to hold the Chargers to field goal tries or punts. 

Special Teams- B

I'll keep this simple, the special teams was solid.  No real problems here on Sunday.  Caleb Stugis made both his field goal attempts and Brandon Fields continued to boom kicks, as he averaged over 52 yards per punt.

Coaching- B

It's easy to knock Joe Philbin when the Dolphins show up unprepared and lacking focus, but credit needs to be given when they perform well enough to win.  This win was probably more a case of the Chargers making some boneheaded mistakes, but Miami capitalized and held on.  We know the team has dozens of distractions to deal with off the field, and no matter what Philbin says, this has to start affecting his players. 

Bottom line, when you win in the NFL, most issues are set aside for a game.  Believe it or not, the Dolphins are now 5-5 and currently tied for the second Wild Card spot in the AFC.  Are they really looking like a playoff team?  Let's not kid ourselves, or course not.  But one average team will represent the AFC in the postseason -- it might as well be the dysfunctional Dolphins.