Chargers are shut out for 1st time in 15 years, losing to Miami 37-0

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MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — Following a third-down incompletion, Philip Rivers sprinted 30 yards downfield to lobby in vain for an interference call.

The San Diego Chargers never got closer to the goal line than that.

Unable to block or stop the Miami Dolphins, the Chargers endured their third consecutive defeat and were shut out for the first time since 1999, losing 37-0 Sunday.

The Chargers took the opening kickoff, drove to the Miami 22 and were stopped on fourth-and-1. They never crossed midfield again, while the Dolphins scored on six of their first seven possessions.

"We got destroyed," said safety Eric Weddle, an eighth-year pro. "This is as bad a game as I've ever been a part of. It's very humbling and extremely disappointing the way we came out today with so much on the line."

The Chargers (5-4) remained winless in South Florida since January 1982, a stretch that includes eight consecutive losses to the Dolphins.

A midseason swoon intensified with their third loss in a row heading into a bye week, and their most lopsided defeat since 1996.

"We'll get this back on track, I promise you," coach Mike McCoy said. "No doubt in my mind."

The Dolphins (5-3) earned their third consecutive victory, this one for coach Joe Philbin, whose father died Friday. Weddle said he had the sense the Dolphins rallied around their leader.

"They sure played with energy and passion," Weddle said. "Credit their whole organization for the way they played today, because that was as good a win as I've seen."

Afterward, Philbin's shirt was soaked, thanks to a sports-drink dousing by his players.

"We promised him we would play our best game of the year, and we did that for him," guard Mike Pouncey said.

Miami's Ryan Tannehill had a career-high passer rating of 125.6 when he called it a day after three quarters. He took full advantage of the Chargers' ailing secondary by going 24 for 34 for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 47 yards on four carries.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins' front four dominated the Chargers' line, harrying Rivers into a lost fumble and three interceptions, two to Brent Grimes.

"They flat-out beat us," Rivers said. "For 60 minutes they wore us out."

The turnovers were especially surprising from a team that committed a total of five in the season's first eight games.

Rivers passed for only 138 yards and had a quarterback rating of 31.0, his lowest since 2007. He went to the bench for good late in the third quarter, and the Dolphins ended his Chargers-record streak of at least one touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games.

"I was terrible," Rivers said. "When the quarterback's terrible, it's hard to win."

The Dolphins, prone to slow starts this season, broke that habit and mounted touchdown drives of 77 and 61 yards on their first two possessions. Reshad Jones then intercepted Rivers to set up a field goal that made it 17-0 after just 21 minutes.

The onslaught continued from there. In the Dolphins' first seven possessions, the only time they didn't score was when Caleb Sturgis missed a 45-yard field goal at the end of the first half.

The final score could have been even more lopsided, but the Dolphins stalled four times inside the Chargers 10-yard line, and those possessions netted a total of only nine points.

"The easiest way to say it is in all phases, we got beat," McCoy said.

Things went wrong for the Chargers from the opening possession, when McCoy gambled by going for a first down at the Miami 22. Branden Oliver was stopped for a 1-yard loss, and Miami marched for a touchdown.

"Then it just unraveled," Rivers said.

Notes: Chargers C Rich Ohrnberger (ribs) and DT Sean Lissemore (quad) were sidelined in the second half. ... The Chargers announced during the game that Rivers hurt his hand, but McCoy said the injury wasn't significant. ... Dolphins RB Lamar Miller left the game in the second half with an injury. He said he suffered a stinger that wasn't serious. ... Chargers RB Donald Brown, back after being sidelined by a concussion, carried four times for 23 yards.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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