Untimed Down Due to Chargers Penalty Gives Dolphins 20-17 Halftime Lead

When the Dolphins got the ball on their own 25-yard line with nine seconds left in the second quarter, it looked like they were going to go into halftime tied with the Chargers at 17.

But head coach Mike McDaniel was rewarded for his aggressive play calling, with an inexcusable penalty coming into play for the Dolphins to take a 10-17 lead at the break.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa connected with receiver Jaylen Waddle for a 22-yard gain, with Waddle going out of bounds with two seconds on the clock. Then on the next play, Tagovailoa threw the ball well short of the goal line. But Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson committed pass interference by pushing receiver Erik Ezukanma far too early.

The spot foul put the ball at Los Angeles’ 23-yard line for an untimed down. Kicker Jason Sanders sent the ball through the uprights for a 41-yard field goal to take the lead.

The Dolphins generally found plenty of success offensively in the first half, gaining 326 yards and 20 first downs. The club averaged 8.8 yards per play in the first 30 minutes, despite being just 1-of-4 on third down.

Tagovailoa is 16-of-26 for 264 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. But Tagovailoa did lose a fumble on a center-QB exchange deep in L.A. territory. That kept Miami off the board on the team’s first possession.

Tyreek Hill has six catches for 104 yards and Waddle has three catches for 65 yards.

On the other side, Justin Herbert is 13-of-18 for 105 yards with a touchdown. Austin Ekeler has eight carries for 81 yards with a TD, including a 55-yard burst.

But receiver Mike Williams is being evaluated for a head injury, Los Angeles announced. Midway through the second quarter, Williams took a shot from Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker when the Miami defender was trying to get across the formation to cover a running back who’d gone in motion. Williams was able to jog off the field under his own power before he was examined in the sideline blue medical tent.

He then was shown on the CBS broadcast walking up the tunnel to the locker room for further examination.

The Chargers are set to receive the second-half kickoff.

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