The Miami Dolphins' playoff push will be interrupted this week by a visit from an NFL special investigator.
Players have been advised they'll meet with attorney Ted Wells, who is looking into the harassment case involving tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito. Interviews are expected to begin Monday and may last several days, which means further distractions for a team trying to keep its season from derailing.
The Dolphins (5-5) beat San Diego 20-16 Sunday to remain in the race for an AFC wild-card berth and cap an eventful week.
"We're fighting through this," tackle Tyson Clabo said. "Someone's got to get that last wild-card spot. Why not us?"
The visit by Wells will come as the Dolphins prepare to play host to Carolina on Sunday.
"We are going to do our interviews, be participants in the investigation and get ready for the game," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "At the end of the day, (the interview) is secondary. We have to do it. We have to provide the information we know, but hopefully that is a short 15-minute interview. And then the rest of the week is all football."
Thanks to Sunday's victory, football remains relevant in Miami this season. The Dolphins won for only the second time in the past seven games, and bounced back from a dreadful defeat last Monday at Tampa Bay.
Here are five things we learned from the game:
THE DOLPHINS CAN TUNE OUT THE SCANDAL: Despite distractions related to the harassment case, Miami is 2-1 since Martin left the team.
"What distractions?" guard John Jerry said. "We've got tunnel vision."
Martin, a second-year pro, suddenly left the team three weeks ago and has been undergoing counseling for emotional issues. Incognito was suspended and filed a grievance last week against the Dolphins seeking to rejoin the team.
"No one could have predicted all these things that happened," cornerback Brent Grimes said. "We've just got to keep playing hard and not pay any attention to any distractions that might be out there."
PENALTIES DOOM SAN DIEGO: The Chargers (4-6) were plagued by penalties as they lost their third game in a row.
Philip Rivers threw for 298 yards and Ryan Mathews ran for 127, including a career-best 51-yard dash to set up a field goal. But the Chargers had 10 penalties for 76 yards, including two infractions that cost them 11 points in the first half.
"Ten penalties, that's a lot," Rivers said. "We're not playing well enough to overcome those things."
TACKLING AN ISSUE FOR CHARGERS TOO: San Diego tackled poorly, especially on Charles Clay's 39-yard catch and run for a score.
Clay put Miami ahead to stay in the third quarter when he caught a short pass and ran over defenders Marcus Gilchrist and Donald Butler en route to the end zone, making it 17-10.
Chargers safety Eric Weddle shook his head recalling the touchdown.
"Seven missed tackles," he said, exaggerating only slightly.
PATCHWORK CAN WORK: Because center Mike Pouncey missed the game with an illness, the Dolphins had three backups starting in the offensive line.
Working behind the makeshift line, Tannehill was sacked four times, increasing NFL-high season total to 41. But Miami ran for 104 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per attempt to limit the Chargers' time of possession.
Guard Sam Brenner, an undrafted rookie, was promoted from the practice squad Saturday to make his NFL debut.
"That was a fast promotion," tackle Bryant McKinnie said.
GRIMES CAN LEAP: The 5-foot-10 cornerback jumped to swat away Rivers' pass in the end zone on the final play of the game.
Trailing by four points, San Diego started from its 17 with 1:54 left and drove to the Miami 25. On the last play, a harried Rivers lofted a pass toward Vincent Brown, but Grimes intervened.
"I just jumped as high as I had to," Grimes said.
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