5 Instant Takeways: Miami Dolphins 19, Los Angeles Chargers 17

Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins tries get around Desmond King of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

CARSON, Calif. — Here are five rapid takeaways from the Miami Dolphins’ thrilling 19-17 win over the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sunday:

Jarvis Landry is still a X-Factor. The notion that the emergence of DeVante Parker in the preseason meant Landry would take a backseat this season may have been overplayed. Granted, it’s just one game. But Landry had eight catches on nine targets in the first half, matching the total targets by Parker, Kenny Stills and Julius Thomas. Landry quickly showed as Cutler’s top target on third down. One deadline that seemed to come and pass without much fanfare was the one Landry set earlier in the off-season. There will be no contract extension talks in season, per Landry. After missing Friday with a knee flare-up, it was clear Landry was healthy and quick, and as capable of catching one-handed passes from Jay Cutler as he’s always been catching them from Ryan Tannehill, who he often chatted with on the sideline at StubHub Center.

[RELATED: Photos from the Dolphins’ crazy win over the Chargers]

Jay Ajayi is still a beast. Like Landry, Ajayi showed up on the injury report with a knee injury this week. Pay no attention to that. From the opening kickoff, Ajayi — who missed the season opener in 2016 — showed he plans to be as physical and violent a runner as ever. Ajayi broke tackles. Ajayi initiated contact. Ajayi showed why even though the Dolphins may want to go uptempo, no-huddle, and spread the field, handing the ball to number 23 is likely still going to be the most effective part of Adam Gase’s play-calling. Ajayi really benefits from the return of center Mike Pouncey, who opens up gaping holes in the middle of defenses. Ajayi’s knees looked just fine. So did his determination.

Jay Cutler seems — athletic. At the start of the third quarter, Jay Cutler rolled to his right and threw a strike to Kenny Stills, running across the middle of the end zone. What was perhaps most striking about Cutler in this game was his athleticism. Cutler is 34. He was supposed to be broadcasting football games at this time. But honestly, Cutler appears as athletic as Tannehill, if not more athletic. And while Tannehill was increasing his pocket awareness, Cutler showed in his first Dolphins game that he has a nice feel for pressure and an ability to escape what seems like a sure sack. All in all, this was a mostly encouraging outing for Cutler.

Lawrence Timmons’ absence was felt. Mike Hull tries hard. And he generally has solid technique and knows where he’s supposed to be. It’s just that he’s not that fast and sometimes get swallowed up by larger players. Now, Hull was going to play even if Timmons did, but it certainly would have taken pressure off the youngster. If you had suggested that undrafted rookie free agent Chase Allen would be on the field for the first Miami Dolphins defensive snap of 2017, you would not have believed it. (Allen made the tackle.) Look, the Dolphins did not expect Raekwon McMillan to sustain a season-ending injury and Rey Maualuga to not be available for the opener, but the lack of depth at linebacker is alarming. And it was exposed at times by the Chargers. We have to learn more about why Timmons was scratched from this game, but it hurt.

Miami’s special teams shows potential. Kenyan Drake had a really nice tackle on a kickoff late in the game to help pin the Chargers deep. Running back Senorise Perry had a tip on a Chargers punt. Jakeem Grant helped set up a drive with three minutes left with a strong punt return. Kicker Cody Parkey of Jupiter was 4-for-4 on his first four kicks as a Dolphin, including a 54-yarder with the game on the line. With key injuries and some spotty moments in the preseason, special teams coach Darren Rizzi must have had some concerns entering the season. But overall, Miami’s special teams looked solid.

Miami Dolphins LB Lawrence Timmons not with the team on Sunday morning

[RELATED: Photos from the Dolphins’ Week 2 matchup against the Chargers]

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