SAN DIEGO (The Sports Xchange) — Kiko Alonso returned Philip Rivers’ third of four fourth-quarter interceptions for a touchdown, lifting the Miami Dolphins past the San Diego Chargers 31-24 on Sunday.
Rivers was trying to hit Tyrell Williams when Alonso jumped the route for the pick and returned it 60 yards. Tony Lippett then intercepted his second pass of the game in the closing minute to clinch the victory for Miami (5-4).
Andrew Franks pulled the Dolphins even, 24-24, with a 27-yard field goal with about three minutes left.
Williams’ late touchdown had pushed the Chargers ahead 24-21 with four minutes to play. It was Rivers’ third touchdown pass of the game and 301st of his career, which eclipsed John Elway for No. 8 on the all-time list.
Rivers was 23 of 44 for 326 yards as the Chargers (4-6) failed to reach .500 of the first time since Week 2.
Miami’s Ryan Tannehill completed 17 of 24 passes for two touchdowns and 240 yards. Jay Ajayi rushed for 79 yards, breaking his three-game streak of 100-yard rushing outings.
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 196 yards last week, was restricted to 70 yards on 24 carries.
Miami’s Jakeen Grant committed a huge blunder to open the fourth by fumbling a punt at the Chargers 5 and it was recovered by Darrell Stuckey. But San Diego failed to take advantage.
Rivers tried forcing a pass into double coverage to Williams and it was intercepted by Lippett.
Dolphins running back Damien Williams added his second touchdown when he corralled Tannehill’s 18-yard pass late in the third quarter. Tannehill’s read took him to Williams, as he was being covered by inside linebacker Kyle Emanuel, and Williams easily raced past Emanuel in putting the Dolphins up 21-17.
Rivers threw his second touchdown pass to a tight end when connecting with rookie Hunter Henry as the Chargers surged ahead, 14-10. Flushed right from the pocket, Rivers saw Henry streaking across the end zone for a 7-yard completion.
Miami took its first lead of the game at 14-10 when Damien Williams rushed in from the 2 to open the third quarter. Ajayi had the big play on the drive when he carried for 40 yards to get into Chargers territory. Ajayi was a decoy floating out to the left side on Williams’ scoring run up the middle.
In the final minute of the first half, the Chargers had a fresh series at the Miami 31 but advanced no farther, with Rivers being sacked on third down.
The Dolphins pulled within 10-7 with Tannehill threw a strike to Kenny Stills from 39 yards. Dwight Lowery had tight single coverage, but Stills made a diving catch late in the second quarter.
Antonio Gates caught the 109th touchdown pass of his career midway through the second quarter, pushing the Chargers ahead 10-0. Gates, who connected with Rivers from 11 yards, is two touchdown catches shy of matching Tony Gonzalez for the most by a tight end in NFL history. IIt was Rivers’ 82nd TD to Gates.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Chargers took a 3-0 edge on Josh Lambo’s 45-yard field goal, capping a seven-play, 46-yard drive that was helped by a key Miami penalty.
NOTES: The Dolphins activated DT Earl Mitchell from injured reserve. … Miami will remain in southern California this week. The team will practice in San Diego County in the days leading up to next Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Rams. … WR Tyrell Williams started in place of Travis Benjamin (knee). … The Chargers have their bye next week and don’t return home until Dec. 4 against Tampa Bay.
(© Copyright 2016 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)