Philip Rivers had his usual big plays and a nifty little one that helped the San Diego Chargers end a seven-game losing streak against Miami.
Rivers scored on a 5-yard scramble late in the third quarter Sunday to highlight a 23-13 victory over the winless Dolphins, who lost quarterback Chad Pennington to a shoulder injury early in the second half.
In the shotgun on third-and-goal, Rivers couldn't find a receiver and the pocket collapsed, so he sprinted up the middle and into the end zone for a 10-6 lead. Safety Eric Weddle intercepted Miami backup quarterback Chad Henne and returned it 31 yards for a score with just less than six minutes to play.
The Chargers (2-1) are above .500 in the regular season for the first time since the end of 2007. The Dolphins are 0-3 for the third time in six seasons.
The often-lackluster game was tied at 3 at halftime. San Diego had to settle for field goals by Nate Kaeding three times after getting inside the Dolphins' 10-yard line.
Miami's only touchdown was a 14-yard run by San Diego native Ricky Williams with 2:51 left.
Rivers' TD run capped a 75-yard, five-play drive that also included his 47-yard pass to Malcom Floyd and a razzle-dazzle play where Darren Sproles took a handoff and ran right before throwing a backward pass to Rivers, who hit tight end Antonio Gates for 19 yards.
A week after throwing for a career-high 436 yards in a loss to Baltimore, Rivers was 18 of 33 for 303 yards.
Pennington was hit by linebacker Kevin Burnett after throwing an incomplete pass on third-and-7 from the Dolphins 40 on the first possession of the second half. Slow to get up, he took off his helmet and shoulder pads once he got to the sideline and had a bag of ice on his shoulder.
The Dolphins ran the wildcat seven times for 42 yards, including three times on their impressive first drive _ which nonetheless resulted in no points.
Miami moved 94 yards in 17 plays and consumed 9:29 on that drive. On second-and-goal from the 1, Brown never got a handle on the handoff from Pennington and fumbled the ball into the end zone. Guard Justin Smiley came up with it, but he was touching the end line and it was ruled a touchback.
Rivers moved the Chargers to the Dolphins' 8, the drive stalled and Kaeding kicked a 25-yard field goal.
Rivers fumbled when he was sacked by Joey Porter midway through the second quarter, with Phillip Merling recovering at the Chargers' 17. Miami had a first-and-goal on the 5, but the Chargers stuffed Brown twice and Dan Carpenter kicked a 24-yard field goal for a 3-all tie.
The Chargers had a first down at the Dolphins' 15 just before halftime, but a personal foul against guard Kris Dielman moved the ball back to the 30. The Chargers gained 8 yards in three plays and Kaeding was wide right on a 41-yard field goal attempt.
Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman was forced out early in the third quarter with a groin injury sustained a week earlier in a loss to Baltimore.