MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The much-anticipated return of Melvin Gordon will have to wait.
Gordon was active for the Los Angeles Chargers for the first time this season after ending his holdout this week.
Gordon was in uniform with pads on but wore a baseball hat over his dreadlocks, his gloves tucked in his pants as he comfortably watched from the sideline.
With Gordon sitting, Austin Ekeler continued to carry the load for the Chargers’ running game, totaling 122 yards from scrimmage and scoring his fifth and six touchdowns of the season.
With three touchdown catches this year, Ekeler became the first undrafted running back since 1967 to have at least three touchdown catches in each of his first three pro seasons.
The Chargers played short-handed, with several core players out thanks to injury. They included receivers Mike Williams (back) and Travis Benjamin (hip), tight ends Hunter Henry (knee) and Virgil Green (groin) and kicker Michael Badgley (right groin).
Defensive end Melvin Ingram (hamstring), linebacker Denzel Perryman (concussion), receiver Dontrelle Inman (quad) and tight end Sean Culkin (ankle) also suffered injuries that forced them to leave the game.
Miami had been a house of horrors over the years for the Chargers. However, the Bolts found some soothing balm in the form of the hapless Dolphins.
The Chargers had not won in Miami since Jan. 2, 1982 — an epic AFC divisional-round playoff victory in overtime over the Dolphins.
Since then, the Chargers had lost eight straight in Miami, including three games started by Philip Rivers.
The Bolts’ eight-game road losing streak was the second longest to a single opponent in franchise history. The Chargers had lost nine straight on the road against the Broncos from 1971 to 1979.
QB breakdown: Rivers played perhaps his best game of the year, completing 24 of 30 passes for 310 passing yards and two touchdowns. Rivers was sacked just once on the day, posting a 131.9 passer rating. With the victory, Rivers became the ninth quarterback in NFL history to reach 120 career regular-season victories.
Troubling trend: Entering Sunday’s contest, the Chargers had three touchdowns called back thanks to penalties. Now add a fourth, as Keenan Allen had his 69-yard touchdown called back because of offensive pass interference. Allen pushed off on Miami cornerback Xavien Howard at the top of his route to create separation for the big play.
Buying a breakout performance: Free safety Rayshawn Jenkins finished with five combined tackles — including a tackle for loss — and continues to solidify his place in the starting lineup. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said one of the reasons he did not want to put rookie second-round selection Nasir Adderley into the starting lineup at free safety and move Jenkins to strong safety is he believes that the Miami product is playing at an elite level.