The Miami Dolphin defense looked like something from "No-Label Louie's" bargain basement on Thursday night before it recoiled from the shock waves from supercharged San Diego. But it was a tribute to the resourcefulness of Don Shula that the coach was able to make adjustments and expose the Chargers, who won an overtime decision the hard way, as a team not yet at ease. Witness their 17-14 playoff loss to a crippled Houston club last year.
The Chargers have an up-tempo personality, going off in all directions at once like a bunch of firecrackers. Alas, there are duds at times. They reflect their coach, the emotional Don Coryell, a one-time paratrooper and college boxer. He is so impatient he stammers.
They are the Overkill Gang getting their jollies out of short-circuiting the scoreboard with an overload of points.You saw only a flash on television of how the Chargers like to play the game.
They had to knuckle the sleep out of their eyes to make it through overtime before winning, 27-24, on a field goal by Rolf Benirschke. They not only had a short week of practice after a Sunday game, but were also bogged down by a plane delay that got them into Miami at 2 a.m. the day of the game.
The Dolphins also had a short week, but Shula honorably pointed out that the Chargers had it worse with another day lost by the transcontinental trip, not mentioning that his transition Dolphins flew to Oakland two weeks ago, lost, returned home, and flew back to Los Angeles and upset the Rams.
Despite all the formations the Chargers sprang on the young Dolphins Thursday night, Coryell said, "We didn't have enough time to really put in any new stuff."