Professor Will's report card: Dolphins vs. Chargers


What makes for a perfect Sunday in Miami? Clear blue skies, cool weather and a dominating shutout win from the Dolphins.

"Dominating" and "shutout" aren't words Dolfans hear too often. In fact, the Dolphins haven't shut out an opponent since they did it to the New England Patriots eight years ago.

Although they left some points on the board this week, the Dolphins rallied behind their head coach who had an emotional week, and came up with a 37-0 victory over a good San Diego Chargers team.

Here's how the Dolphins graded out in week 9:


Although he won't admit it, Ryan Tannehill had arguably the best game of his career. The third-year player went 24-34 for 288 yards and three touchdowns, not to mention his 47 yards rushing.

Tannehill was accurate and consistent throughout the entire game and his best play may have not even come on a touchdown. On 3rd and 12 with the pocket collapsing, Tannehill launched a ball into triple coverage and hit Mike Wallace where only he could catch it. The drive continued and the Dolphins would later score.

As for the offense as a whole, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor called almost a flawless game. The running and passing game was balanced throughout, and the play calling on third down was outstanding. The Dolphins converted on eight third downs and kept the defense off the field.

Many will argue that the Dolphins deserved an A+ performance, but frankly 37 points does not account for how many points they should have scored. Three times the Dolphins failed to score a touchdown from inside their own 15-yard line, two of those being inside the 10. Those nitpicking situations may be called "champagne problems" today, but in a close game those situations must be taken advantage of.


37-0... ZERO! NIL! LOVE! NADA! When a defense doesn't allow a single point, an A+ is automatically given.

The Chargers started off the game converting on two third and long situations. On 4th and 2, the Chargers elected to go for it, assuming they'd convert, but ultimately failed. From there on Miami held on to the momentum.

The Dolphins were a plus 4 on the turnover margin. Brent Grimes had two spectacular picks in traffic, while Reshad Jones had another. And for the second straight week, former Hurricane Olivier Vernon made a heads up play, hitting Phillip Rivers right before threw the ball, causing him to fumble the ball.

As for Cameron Wake, he continues to prove himself as one of the top two defensive ends in the NFL. After Phillip Rivers left the game, Wake welcomed the incoming QB Kellen Clemens with the sack heard around Sun Life. Wake got to Clemens in less than two seconds and delivered a blow that made Rivers sigh with relief.


Although he's not the fastest player on the team, Jarvis Landry might be the quickest. The rookie out of LSU had five punt returns.

What's not mentioned in the stat sheet is Landry's approach to the punts. He stands farther than where the ball is expected to land, which allows him to gain speed and momentum at the point of the catch. Landry is gradually turning into a threat on special teams, which is something the Dolphins haven't had since Wes Welker.

Joe Philbin: A+

With his father's death being just two days before kick off, it's admirable that Philbin was there for his players and his coaches. Losing a family member is one of the most difficult experiences of life, and for all the hate that Philbin receives from fans and the media, his players were there for him when he needed them the most and came through a complete performance. That says something about the impact Philbin's had on his team.

The Dolphins are now winners of four out of their last fie games, and with the toughest stretch of the season coming up this team is clicking at the perfect moment