Special teams remain a big problem area for Chargers

Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel blocks a punt by Chargers punter Ty Long.
Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel blocks a punt by the Chargers’ Ty Long in the first quarter on Sunday.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

The term “special teams” continues to be a misleading one for the Chargers.

In a 29-21 loss to Miami, they had a punt blocked, committed a series-extending offside infraction on a field-goal attempt and were called for multiple penalties.

The miscues helped set up the Dolphins’ first two touchdowns, putting the Chargers in a hole from which they never recovered.


“That could be personnel,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “There were some guys out there today that won’t be out there next week, I can tell you that. We’ll talk about that as a team, but that was disappointing to see.”

The Chargers have struggled throughout their 2-7 season on special teams. They’ve had a difficult time replacing several veterans who contributed in that area but have since departed.

The Justin Herbert vs. Tua Tagovailoa duel never materializes, but special-teams miscues cost the Chargers in a 29-21 loss at Miami as a sour streak continues.

“Right now, that’s been a struggle,” Lynn said of finding replacements. “That just has not happened.”

Defensive back Quenton Meeks was guilty of the offside penalty that came on what would have been a successful 28-yard Jason Sanders field goal.

Instead, the call gave Miami a first down and, three plays later, Tua Tagovailoa passed three yards to Jakeem Grant Sr. for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

“That was just not very smart,” Lynn said, “put us in a hole right off the bat.”

A lot of matters have gone wrong for the Chargers in this strange year, so seems coach Anthony Lynn should get a chance to right this sinking ship.


Right tackle Bryan Bulaga and right guard Trai Turner both returned to the starting lineup after missing time because of injuries. Turner, who most recently had a groin problem, made only his second appearance of the season. … Linebacker Nick Vigil had a 44-yard fumble return in the second quarter to set up the Chargers’ first touchdown. … Justin Herbert has thrown for multiple touchdowns in six consecutive games, an NFL rookie record. … Keenan Allen passed Charlie Joiner to become the Chargers’ all-time receptions leader among wide receivers with 589. Former tight end Antonio Gates holds the overall franchise record with 955.

Breaking down the notable numbers behind the Chargers’ 29-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.