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Three Keys

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Three Keys | John Congemi Previews Chargers vs. Dolphins

1) Fast Start, Strong Finish

It's no secret that the Los Angeles Chargers are a good football team, much better than their 2-6 record indicates. They have lost games in the final minutes and have squandered multiple double-digit leads that led to defeats. The Dolphins have built tremendous momentum by winning four in a row, doing so by starting fast and using all three phases of the team to find points. On Sunday, it's important for the Dolphins to get out to a quick lead, build upon that confidence, and keep the Chargers in a "here we go again" feeling! If Miami can keep L.A. chasing the lead heading into the second half, that's exactly where they want to be. The Dolphins have played with great discipline, finding ways to win and not beating themselves with penalties and turnovers. If that trend continues to hold true, the Dolphins should find a way to get their sixth win of the season.

2) Harass Herbert

History tells us when facing a rookie quarterback, the goal is to pressure the pocket and confuse him by disguising coverages which should lead to an interception or two. That recipe hasn't worked so far this season against the Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert has been lighting it up against everyone, throwing for 2,146 yards in his first seven games, and 17 touchdowns passes with only five interceptions. Maybe the most impressive stat is his completion percentage is at 67 percent! Herbert has been hit, forced to scramble out of trouble, and blitzed beyond belief, and he's continued to consistently deliver winning performances. The key for the Dolphins defense on Sunday is to marry that edge pressure with stifling pass coverage. Somehow the pass rush and coverage must upset the timing of when Herbert wants to deliver the ball. Talented receivers like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have flourished when given room to roam the secondary. Even Chargers tight end Hunter Henry poses a huge challenge to safety Eric Rowe. Disrupting the timing and not allowing Herbert to find his playmaking receivers for explosive plays will be difficult. But this defense has shown it has many ways to get the job done, and hopefully they will find a way to disrupt the timing for Herbert and company.

3) Keep Stacking Team Wins

Everyone has enjoyed the way this team goes about it's business. All three phases have scored points and contributed greatly to the success at the halfway point of the season. For this group to continue to have success, it's going to take more of the same, especially over the last eight weeks of the season. Offense, defense and special teams all working together, taking advantage of playing complementary football. Staying away from pre-snap penalties on offense, and unnecessary holding or blocks in the back calls on special teams that leads to terrible field position. The kicking game has not only kept opposing teams on a long field, but helped the defense bend some while not breaking at the end of drives. Both placekicker Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack have been outstanding. Sanders give this team the confidence that when you cross midfield, we're in scoring position. Haack has helped flip the field and held offenses inside the 20 yard line 16 times in eight games. Being the more physical team is always a great trait to rely on, but sometimes the team that doesn't beat themselves is the group that consistently comes out on top! The Dolphins have been able to win at the line of scrimmage and has found a way to win by staying disciplined in all three phases of the game.

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