SAN DIEGO (AP) — There's no way the Miami Dolphins can extend their losing streak this weekend. That's because the winless Dolphins have their bye week, when they can focus on fixing their many flaws and getting quarterback Chad Henne healthy after he hurt his left shoulder in a 26-16 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Philip Rivers was 21 of 31 for 307 yards and one touchdown, Mike Tolbert ran for another score and the Chargers knocked out Henne to take the AFC West lead.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, dropped to 0-4.
“It's very tough,” said Reggie Bush, who played in his hometown for the first time in his NFL career. “We came here with a mindset to win the game, to fight for every inch. I don't think we did that.”
The Dolphins simply aren't giving themselves chances to win.
“The focus in the bye week has to be overcoming some of these big-play problems and these third-down problems,” coach Tony Sparano said. “We were 3-for-10 on third down. We need to stay out there.”
Henne was hurt at the end of a short run on a broken play on the Dolphins' second possession and didn't return. Although backup Matt Moore led the Dolphins to the game's first TD, Rivers' passing eventually overpowered the Dolphins.
The Chargers managed to score two touchdowns. They got four field goals from Nick Novak, from 27, 48, 23 and 38 yards. Rivers took a knee three times inside the Dolphins' 20-yard line to end the game.
Henne and Moore were each intercepted once.
“Matt did a really good job, going through his reads, making plays,” Henne said. “We need to make some plays out there. There were plays left out there again.
“It's just a matter of responsibility with everyone doing their job and coming together as one. It always seems like one play, one player does one thing, another guy does another thing. We're not all doing the right thing. It's just a matter of all of us taking responsibility for our job.”
It was the second week in a row the Chargers beat a winless team at home without a lot of flash. The previous Sunday, the Chargers beat the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs 20-17. The Chiefs got their first win Sunday by beating the winless Minnesota Vikings 22-17.
Henne was hurt at the end of a 1-yard run in the first quarter. He went to hand off to Lex Hilliard, who
wasn't ready for the ball. Henne was hit by Shaun Phillips and stayed on the ground for a few minutes. He walked off the field, then went into the locker room. When he came back out to the sideline, it was clear he wasn't going back in.
Moore came in and completed a 31-yard pass to Charles Clay. Hilliard capped the drive with a 4-yard TD run but it was overturned after replay, with the officials saying his knee was down inside the 1-yard line. Hilliard then dived over the pile to give the Dolphins a 7-0 lead.
Rivers needed three plays to tie it. After consecutive first downs, he lobbed the 55-yarder to Jackson, who dived to make the catch, then got up before a Dolphins defender could touch him, and scooted into the end zone.
Bush ran 13 times for 50 yards and caught two passes for 15 yards.
Miami's Dan Carpenter kicked field goals of 41, 37 and 51 yards.
Photo: Reggie Bush