As the Miami Dolphins prepare for their clash with the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend in Miami, the defense has taken center-stage amid the news that Miami has placed two starters in the front seven on the reserve/COVID-19 list. But football is a team game and assuming the Dolphins (or the Chargers) don’t experience a COVID-19 outbreak, the show will go on this Sunday and Miami’s defense will not accept any excuses. They’ll need to find a way to get the job done.
One such way Miami must have success against this Chargers team is in the red zone. The Chargers will enter Sunday’s contest as the 2nd most proficient offense in the NFL in yardage but yet rank just 17th in points scored. Why? A lot of that can be drawn back to their red zone offense. To this point in the season, the Chargers convert just 57.7% of their red zone trips into touchdowns; meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for the Dolphins to bend, but not break. And if they can get the Chargers to trade touchdowns in for field goals, Miami could have the winning formula they need.
That 57.7% conversion rank is 23rd in the NFL, which is interestingly enough the same rank the Dolphins’ defense holds in red zone conversion rate — the Dolphins are allowing 68% of opponent trips into the red zone this season to convert for touchdowns.
Miami must stiffen here; as the Chargers will be sure to move the ball. The game may follow a similar script to what the Dolphins saw play out against the Cardinals — but Miami must not allow Los Angeles to find the same drive-extending plays with Herbert that Kyler Murray found last week for the Cardinals. If they can avoid the kind of surreal feats of athleticism that Murray hit them with on several occasions in the red zone, Miami can hopefully keep the Chargers closer to 20 points instead of the 31 Arizona hit last weekend.