Los Angeles Chargers vs. Miami Dolphins: Series History
By Travis Wakeman
For the fifth year in a row, the Los Angeles Chargers will play the Miami Dolphins. The two are scheduled to do battle at StubHub Center this Sunday.
For teams who don’t play in the same division, it’s rare to see each other this often. Nonetheless, the Chargers have played the Dolphins in each of the last four seasons. Miami has won three of those four games.
Prior to that, the teams only played seven times between 2000 and 2012, so about once every other year. Miami holds a 17-15 all-time series lead.
Of course, the teams played in the classic playoff game in January 1982 that is among the best NFL games ever played. But let’s take a closer look at some of the more notable games played between these teams.
November 20, 1980- Chargers 27, Dolphins 24: The Chargers and Dolphins played in three overtime games in four years, including the playoff game in ’82. This one was the first.
Dan Fouts threw three touchdown passes in this game and after the game went into sudden-death overtime, Rolf Benirschke kicked a 28-yard field goal to give the Bolts the win.
January 2, 1982- Chargers 41, Dolphins 38: One of the best games in the history of the NFL, the Chargers and Dolphins put on a show inside the Orange Bowl for the right to move on to the AFC Championship Game.
This would be Kellen Winslow’s finest hour as the tight end had 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. Fouts threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, getting the best of Dolphins quarterback Don Strock, who also threw for over 400 yards with four touchdowns.
November 18, 1984- Chargers 34, Dolphins 28: Another game between these two teams that went to overtime and another one won by the Chargers. This time it was Fouts against Dan Marino.
The Chargers tied the game at 28 with under one minute to play when Fouts hit Eric Sievers on a 3-yard touchdown pass. In overtime, Buford McGee broke a 25-yard touchdown run to give the Chargers the win.
If the game goes to overtime on Sunday, the Chargers may have the odds on their side. They’re 3-0 against the Dolphins in games that went into the extra session.
January 8, 1995- Chargers 22, Dolphins 21: In another playoff game between the teams, the Chargers again ended the Dolphins’ season.
Down 21-6 at halftime, the Chargers fought back and Stan Humphries hit Mark Seay with an 8-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to play in the game that proved to be the winner. Of course, this was the first step in the Chargers’ magical run to the Super Bowl that year.
November 5, 1995- Dolphins 24, Chargers 14: Miami and Marino got revenge for that playoff defeat by going into Jack Murphy Stadium and handing the Chargers’ a 10-point defeat.
This would start a run for the Dolphins of seven straight wins over the Chargers from 1995 to 2009.
October 27, 2003- Dolphins 26, Chargers 10: This game is significant in the series because it wasn’t played in California or Florida. This game, which took place on Monday Night Football, was actually played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona after former San Diego mayor Dick Murphy urged the league to move or cancel the game due to wildfires in the area.Embed from Getty ImagesThe parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium was being used as an evacuation center and the air quality in San Diego was very poor, forcing the game to be relocated.Brian Griese threw three touchdown passes for the Dolphins while Drew Brees threw three interceptions for the Chargers in the loss.
November 2, 2014- Dolphins 37, Chargers 0: This would end up being one of the better days in the career of Ryan Tannehill as he tossed three touchdown passes and threw for 288 yards as the Dolphins blanked the Chargers in Miami.The Chargers had just 23 minutes of possession and ran just 49 offensive plays in this game.December 20, 2015- Chargers 30, Dolphins 14: These were two struggling teams playing at the tail end of the season, but it’s memorable because of the career day Danny Woodhead had. Wood head scored a total of four touchdowns as the Chargers got their fifth win of the season.November 13, 2016- Dolphins 31, Chargers 24: The most recent game played between these two teams was a heartbreaker for the Chargers.The Chargers had a lead in the fourth quarter but Philip Rivers, who threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, also threw four costly interceptions. The final dagger came with one minute to play when Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso made a great read on a play, picking off a pass from Rivers and racing 60 yards for a touchdown.