Taming Tomlinson

The Dolphins' victory over the Chargers on Sunday was considered a major upset by most, but should it really have been? After all, the Dolphins did what they always do against San Diego, totally stuff LaDainian Tomlinson and beat the Chargers.

The numbers don't lie. The Dolphins own the Chargers.

It's now seven in a row for Miami over San Diego since the heartbreaking 22-21 playoff loss at Qualcomm Stadium.

The list:

1995 at San Diego, Dolphins 24-14

1999 at Miami, Dolphins 12-9

2000 at San Diego, Dolphins 17-7

2002 at Miami, Dolphins 30-3

2003 at Tempe, Ariz., Dolphins 26-10

2005 at San Diego, Dolphins 23-21

2008 at Miami, 17-10

Here's another great stat: The Chargers haven't won in Miami since that epic 1981 playoff game. They're 0-for-6 since then, including playoff losses in the 1982 and 1992 seasons.

Now we get to Tomlinson.

The guy has been one of the best running backs in the league, if not the best, since he entered the NFL in 2001, but he can't do a thing against Miami.

Again, the numbers say it all. Four games, 217 yards rushing, a 3.1 average, one touchdown. That's 54.3 yards per game and one total touchdown in those four games.

On Sunday, Tomlinson gained a meager 35 yards on 12 carries. He was dropped for a loss on three of his rushing attempts and was stopped for no gain on two others.

The Dolphins went into the game focused on stopping the Chargers running game, and that's just what they did.

"We concentrated on that all week," said nose tackle Jason Ferguson. "We knew we had to take care of (No. 21). When he comes off the field we knew we had to take care of 43 (Darren Sproles). We did a great job preparing and the coaches did a great job. They only had three points in the first half and they had to play catch-up. We got them out of their game plan and that's always what you want to do."

It wasn't another outstanding effort for the Dolphins run defense, which is allowing opponents only 3.3 yards per carry this season.

The pass defense has gotten much better since the debacle in the desert at Arizona, although the Dolphins need to start coming up with interceptions.

But stopping the run always is a key on defense, and the Dolphins are doing that very well.

They made Tomlinson look like a totally ordinary running back on Sunday. Then again, they always do that.


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