SAN DIEGO (AP) — Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso couldn’t have played his first career pick-6 any better.
It was the highlight play of his career so far, and left the San Diego Chargers stunned, again.
Alonso deked Philip Rivers into thinking he was going to cover a slot receiver, then broke off, jumped in front of Tyrell Williams for the interception and outraced everyone 60 yards to the end zone with 1:01 left to give the Dolphins a wild 31-24 victory Sunday.
“Maybe he was expecting me to go up the seam,” Alonso said.
He didn’t. Once he had the ball, all Alonso needed to do was outrun Williams for the score.
“I mean, that’s my first touchdown on defense ever, like high school, college,” he said. “I felt good.”
The Dolphins (5-4) intercepted Rivers four times in a 13-minute span in the fourth quarter and won their fourth straight game.
With the score tied and the Chargers (4-6) on the Miami 42, Dolphins coach Adam Gase said he was thinking through some timeout scenarios “and looked up and saw his hands on the ball. He’s a very instinctive player and I know a couple of times he gambles and loses but a lot of times he gambles and he’s right.”
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he saw Alonso “buzz out right before the snap and as soon as Phil started looking that way, I was happy he didn’t see him.”
Rivers tied his career high with the four picks.
“Obviously it can’t happen down in there,” said Rivers, who helped the Chargers to a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter. “There were two of them when we were fixing to score, and then obviously the last one there with a chance to win the game with a field goal. The guy made a great play.”
Two plays into the ensuing drive, Rivers was intercepted again, by Tony Lippett, his second of the game.
“Too many missed opportunities with the chance to take the lead a few times. I didn’t get it done,” Rivers said.
Rivers threw three touchdown passes to move past John Elway for eighth place on the career list with 301.
Rivers’ 51-yard touchdown pass to Williams with 4:04 left gave the Chargers a 24-21 lead.
Miami came right back to get a 27-yard field goal from Andrew Franks to tie it. That was set up by Tannehill’s 56-yard pass to DeVante Parker and a roughing-the-passer call that put the ball on the San Diego 10.
Damien Williams scored on a 2-yard run and on an 18-yard pass from Tannehill for the Dolphins.
Jay Ajayi ran for 79 yards, ending his streak of three straight 100-yard games, but he had big runs to set up two touchdowns by Williams.
The Chargers blew a great opportunity to jump back into the lead after Jakeem Grant muffed a punt and Darrell Stuckey recovered it at the Miami 5. The Chargers had five chances from the 5 or closer — thanks a holding call against Byron Maxwell — and ended up with Rivers being intercepted by Lippett in the end zone after forcing a pass into double coverage.
After Miami went three-and-out, Rivers gave it right back when he was intercepted by Byron Maxwell with 6:49 to go. The Dolphins failed to capitalize.
Losing this way was like a shot “under the chin,” Stuckey said. “It’s a tough one. We’ve got to find a way to take advantage of opportunities we get. It’s the same old, same old story every time, for us, not taking advantage of opportunities.”
Rivers threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates for a 10-0 lead. It was the 82nd time those two connected, extending their NFL record for a quarterback-tight end duo.
Gates needs two TD catches to tie Tony Gonzalez’s NFL record for touchdown grabs by a tight end (111).
WEST COAST WEEK
Kenny Stills, who went to La Costa Canyon High in northern San Diego County, caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill in the second quarter. Since the Dolphins are playing at the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday, they’re staying in Carlsbad this week. That gave Stills a chance to show some teammates his high school and to make a special visit. “I got to see my dog for the first time in like a year and a half,” said Stills, who stayed in Miami last offseason to work out.
It was the second big loss for the Chargers in less than a week . On Tuesday, voters soundly rejected the team’s request to raise hotel occupancy taxes to raise $1.15 billion for a $1.8 billion stadium and convention center annex downtown. It’s unclear whether the Chargers will try another plan in San Diego or move to Los Angeles.
Chargers CB Brandon Flowers left late in the third quarter and was being evaluated for a concussion. … Dolphins DE Mario Williams left with an ankle injury.
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