After not converting on their second fourth down attempt, Miami drove down the field before settling for a field goal.
Drew Brees set career-highs in pass completions and pass attempts on Sunday. He went 35-of-52 for 279 yards – surpassing the 29-of-50 mark he passed for on Nov. 17, 2003 against San Francisco. He threw two touchdowns, was intercepted once and lost a fumble. Brees has tossed 12 interceptions this year and has fumbled six times, losing three.
"We weren't getting big chunks, a little bit here and a little bit there," Brees explained of his 7.97 yard per completion mark.
Brees has passed for 3,092 yards this season and he is on pace to end the year with more than 3,800 yards. If he does so, he would become only the second quarterback in team history to pass for more than 3,500 yards, joining Dan Fouts, who did it five times during his Hall of Fame career. Drew is currently 192 yards shy of his career high of 3,284 yards that he passed for during the 2002 season.
Thirty of the passes Brees threw on the night came in the first half, attributed to the strong run defense of Miami. Tomlinson had just 11 rushes in the first half.
"They do a terrific job inside," Schottenheimer confided. "When Zack Thomas blitzes he is probably 230 pounds but it seems like he is coming at 300 pounds because he is coming at such a high rate of speed. He gave us some issues inside. That is a great player. I have great admiration for the guy. In the first quarter, I don't think we blocked him.
Thomas has intercepted three passes from Brees in three games.
"Our inability to run the ball as effectively as we would like and turnovers," Schottenheimer further explained of why they lost. "We gave up ten points on two givceaways."
LaDainian Tomlinson remains one touchdown shy of breaking Chuck Muncie's 24-year-old team record for single-season touchdowns (19). Tomlinson is currently tied with Muncie. Of his 19 touchdowns, 17 have come by rush and two by receptions.
Tomlinson was held without a touchdown for the second game in a row and the fourth time this year. You have to go back to September of 2003 to find the last time he was held without a touchdown in successive games when Kansas City and Denver held him in check. Only once in his career has he been held without a score over a three game span – his final four games in his rookie season of 2001.
"I feel OK," said the star back in reference to his rib injury. "Pain is not an excuse at all. You have to play through it."
With a ten-yard run in the second quarter, Tomlinson surpassed the 1,200 yard rushing barrier, accomplishing the feat in each of his first five NFL seasons. It is only the third time that feat has been accomplished in NFL history. Eric Dickerson rushed for at least 1,200 yards in his first seven seasons (1983-89) for the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts and Eddie George did it in his first five seasons (1996-2000) for the Houston/Tennessee Oilers and the Tennessee Titans.
Keenan McCardell tied a career-high with his eighth touchdown catch this season in the first quarter on Sunday, tying the mark he set with Tampa Bay in 2003.
Antonio Gates set a career-high in receptions with 13, topping the ten he notched against Kansas City on October 30.
"Early on in the game they doubled him a couple of times," said Schottenheimer.
It was the third-highest reception total by a Dolphins opponent in the regular season and tied for third overall, including playoffs. It is the most by an opponent since St. Louis' Isaac Bruce had 15 catches (210 yards) on December 24, 1995 at the Trans World Dome, the most-ever for a Dolphins opponent.
"We need to go back to the drawing board and do the things that got us five straight victories," said Gates afterwards.
Gates recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the year and seventh of his career, surpassing his career-high in receiving yards with 123 to push his total to 997 for the year, besting the 964 yards he had last year.
Gates is also five catches shy of tying the 81 receptions he had last year – and he missed the opening game of the year. He is averaging 6.3 catches per game and Sunday was the first time this year that San Diego has lost when Gates passes the 100-yard barrier.
Gates is the team's leading receiver with 76 catches 997 yards and nine touchdowns. He also is the NFL's leading tight end in all three categories. He's on pace for a 1,246-yard season, which would be the most yards by a Chargers tight end since Kellen Winslow had 1,290 yards in 1980.
Only 18 of Mike Scifres' 54 punts have been returned this season, the fewest in the league among punters with that many attempts.
In the last eight games, he's punted a total of 41 times. Nineteen of those have landed inside the 20-yard line, only four have gone for touchbacks and only 11 have been returned. His one touchback on Sunday ended a streak of 11 punts in a row without one.
"We will get it fixed," said Jammer. "Even good teams lose games."
Randall Godfrey recovered his fourth fumble of the year on Sunday – and it was the first one he has returned for a positive gain. Godfrey had never recovered more than one fumble in any season.
Darren Sproles has fumbled three times this year, losing two.
"Turnovers is always a killer," said Gates, who had a ball ripped from his grasp by Thomas.
Marty Schottenheimer is 4-11 all-time against the Dolphins and 0-3 with the Chargers. Schottenheimer, the NFL's winningest active coach, missed his chance to tie Chuck Knox for seventh place on the list with 186 wins.