Unheralded players embrace big roles in Chargers’ win over Dolphins

Chargers tight end Lance Kendricks catches a pass during the first half of a 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
(Associated Press)

Philip Rivers’ first completion against Miami went to Lance Kendricks, a tight end who wasn’t on the team two weeks ago.

Among the nine players who caught passes from Rivers was Andre Patton, who had zero career receptions before the Chargers’ 30-10 win Sunday.

Sean Culkin also secured a catch, just the second of his career, and Geremy Davis had two, doubling his career total. Davis’ most recent reception had come on Oct. 11, 2015, when he was with the New York Giants.


Mostly because of injuries, a lot of Chargers who otherwise wouldn’t have had a role ending up playing significant ones.

That group included running back Troymaine Pope, who carried the ball for the first time in an NFL game since Dec. 11, 2016, and had the first touchdown of his career.

Austin Ekeler and Ty Long help the wounded Chargers defeat the Miami Dolphins 30-10, taking advantage of an opponent in worse shape at the moment.

“It’s a blessing to be out there as a Charger,” Pope said. “It’s a blessing just to be on this team.”

Before Sunday, Pope, who was on the practice squad for much of last season, had been limited to special teams for the Chargers.

But with the calf injury to Justin Jackson and with Melvin Gordon having just returned from a nine-week contract holdout, Pope was pressed into duty as Austin Ekeler’s backup.

He finished with 10 carries for 20 yards and two catches for 14 yards. One of those receptions was a 13-yard touchdown pass from Rivers.

“The touchdown means a lot to me but maybe more so to my family and my kids,” said Pope, who has a son and a daughter. “Everybody’s blowing my phone up right now.

“But I’m trying to think of it as being just another touchdown. I’m trying to do more. I want more. I’m hungry for more. I need to keep working and try to do more to help this team win games.”