Chargers Fall in Miami 30-3

Ricky Williams dominated the Chargers defense and the Miami Dolphins sent the Chargers to their fourth loss of the season winning by a score of 30-3. The Dolphins were able to control both lines of scrimmage in the rout.

The Chargers got behind the 8-ball early. On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Drew Brees (15 of 22, 107 yards and one interception) threw a pass that was intercepted by linebacker Zach Thomas, who made a one-handed interception to set up a 20-yard field goal by Olindo Mare for a 3-0 lead.

The Chargers would tie it up at 3-3 on the next drive thanks to a 38 yard field goal by Steve Christie.

James McKnight (3 catches 111 yards) scored his first touchdown of the season on a 20-yard reception from quarterback Ray Lucas (14 of 23, 194 yards and one touchdown) to bring the Dolphins ahead to stay at 10-3. It took the Dolphins 6 plays to drive the 60 yards for the score.

On the next possession the Dolphins kept the ball for 14 plays, their longest scoring drive of the year, and Williams dove into the end zone from the 1 to cap the 86-yard march and make it 17-3. Two penalties on the Chargers helped the Dolphins convert two separate third downs during the drive.

The Dolphins then upped the score to 20-3 just before the half on another Mare field goal, this one from 38 yards out. The drive was again helped by a penalty on third down. Alex Molden was flagged for defensive holding which allowed the drive to continue.

Ricky Williams had 83 yards rushing at halftime when he lobbied quarterback Ray Lucas for more carries.

"I'm a beast in the second half," Williams told Lucas.

The Dolphins final touchdown was set up by a disputed ruling when San Diego's Reche Caldwell was tackled by Scott McGarrahan just before fielding a punt. Miami recovered the fumble, and the officials ruled that the play stood because McGarrahan had been shoved into the returner. Replays clearly showed otherwise but the play was not a reviewable call.

Four plays later Williams maneuvered past safety Rodney Harrison, then dove over the pylon for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 27-3.

Ricky Williams ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns against the NFL's third-ranked run defense, while Miami limited league rushing leader LaDainian Tomlinson to a season-low 45 yards.

"We never thought in our wildest dreams that he'd run over us like he did," safety Rodney Harrison said. "He had a huge game. We couldn't stop him."

Mare provided another field goal early in the fourth quarter from 23 yards out to provide the final score of the game at 30-3. The field goal was setup by a 77 yard reception by McKnight where he fell down but was not touched before he got up and raced down the sidelines before Quentin Jammer finally caught up with him at the 5 yard line.

Mare ended the day 3-4 on field goals as he missed one from 54 yards out on Miami's first possession of the third quarter.

"Right now we're pretty good, but that's just today," said Williams, who guaranteed two weeks ago that Miami would make the playoffs. "We've got to keep it going."

"I'd say this was vintage Ricky Williams," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said.

"If we don't turn the ball over, no one can beat us," said Lucas, who might make one more start before Jay Fiedler returns from a thumb injury.

"It could have been easy for the guys to say, "Lucas, you stink. We can't win with this guy,"' Lucas said. "But they never let me stew in my misery."

"The performance of our team was obviously very disappointing," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I would not have thought they would have had that much success running the ball against our front seven. Their running game was just what we expected, but they blocked us."

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