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Victory ends Dolphins distracting week
After a tense week that included traveling to Southern California to escape Hurricane Irma, the Miami Dolphins were rewarded with a hard-fought 19-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Kicker Cody Parkey kicked a 54-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining to give Miami (1-0) its lead, but it wasn't until Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo missed a 44-yard field-goal attempt with five seconds left that the Dolphins secured the victory.
"It was a good day," guard Jermon Bushrod said. "The people of Florida needed that."
The capper to the unusual week or so for the Dolphins came when veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons turned up missing Saturday. Timmons didn't have an excused absence and didn't inform anyone he wouldn't be there, which meant he was AWOL (absent without leave).
A report on TMZ said Timmons was discovered at Los Angeles International Airport with the intention of going to Pennsylvania to visit a daughter. The report also said the team would like Timmons to visit a doctor.
Head coach Adam Gase said he was still in the information gathering process Monday and didn't want to venture a guess as to whether Timmons would continue to be a member of the team.
Gase kept his comments on Timmons brief after the game.
"That was a coach's decision," Gase said of Timmons being inactive. "I'll be ready to talk about that probably (Monday)."
A league source said the team located Timmons at some point prior to Sunday's kickoff. Gase didn't answer directly when asked about that detail.
"I'm not saying anything right now," he said. "I need to kind of figure some things out first before I talk about this."
Gase said Monday he's got two rules: be on time, and play hard.
Asked about his patience for violators, Gase asked rhetorically, "What do you think? I've got two rules. It's not hard."
On Tuesday, the players' day off, the team announced Timmons has been indefinitely suspended, but had no comments in the press release revealing the move. Shortly after that move, the Dolphins acquired linebacker Stephone Anthony in a trade with the Saints.
Undrafted rookie Chase Allen ended up starting for Timmons, which meant Miami's starting linebackers trio was Allen on the strong side, Mike Hull in the middle (Rey Maualuga was also inactive) and veteran Kiko Alonso on the weak side.
Miami running back Jay Ajayi led the offense with 122 yards rushing on 28 carries. Quarterback Jay Cutler (24 of 33, 230 yards, one touchdown) spread the ball around, but wide receiver Jarvis Landry was his favorite target, recording 13 receptions for 78 yards. Wide receiver DeVante Parker was the most spectacular receiver, however, with four receptions for 85 yards while Kenny Stills (two receptions, 37 yards, one touchdown) was the only wide receiver to record a touchdown.
Defensively, Hull led the team with 10 tackles while Allen had three. Perhaps more impressively, Miami's run defense, which was 30th in the league last season, allowed just 44 yards on 14 carries.
All in all, it was a strange journey for Miami, and that included playing at StubHub Center (capacity 27,000) before an announced crowd of 25,381. The crowd noise was such a non-factor Miami never used a silent count.
Despite all that, and the Hurricane Irma fears, the Dolphins were able to focus and come away with the victory.
"We have a core group," Gase said. "The same guys we had last year and when it gets tight in the fourth quarter they just think they're going to win."