by Ian Hest
The Miami Dolphins might have been a week late opening their NFL season due to Hurricane Irma, but they were anything but weak late in their first game.
Cody Parkey put the Phins out in front 19-17 on a 30-yard field goal with just over a minute left to play against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers missed a game-winning field goal, and with nine seconds left, Miami earned its first win of the season.
In front of a crowd of just 25,000, half wearing aqua and orange, the Dolphins bookended Parkey’s scoring, beginning in the first quarter with his first of four through the uprights.
The Chargers responded with 10 straight second quarter points and led 10-3 at halftime.
Miami’s quarterback, Jay Cutler, is playing his first regular season for the Phins. He threw 230 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills in the third quarter to tie the game at 10.
Less than four minutes later, LA retook the lead when Phillip Rivers connected with longtime teammate and tight end Antonio Gates for a seven-yard touchdown. In the process, Gates passed Tony Gonzalez for most career touchdowns by a tight end.
With a healthy dose of running back Jay Ajayi, who ran for 122 yards on 28 carries, and the dynamic duo of wide receivers Jarvis Landry (13 catches, 78 yards) and Devante Parker (4 catches, 85 yards), Miami refused to falter.
Three consecutive field goals by Parkey, a Jupiter native who signed just two weeks ago, eventually gave the Dolphins the lead and the win.
Missing in the opener was major off-season free agent signing Lawrence Timmons. The linebacker reportedly left the team earlier in the weekend and the Dolphins were unsure of his status in the hours leading up to the game. As of Monday, head coach Adam Gase provided little about the situation that led to Timmons leaving the team, and his status moving forward is still in question. Timmons, according to ESPN, hopes to play next week.
At 1-0, the Dolphins are now in sole possession of first place in the AFC East for the first time since September 2010.
Miami heads up north next Sunday, as they face the winless New York Jets. The game starts at 1p.m. ET and can be seen locally on CBS.