- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The NFL schedule makers did San Diego a favor by picking the Miami Dolphins for Sunday’s opponent in what could be the Chargers’ final game at Qualcomm Stadium.

That’s because the Dolphins aren’t in the AFC West, which has tormented the Chargers in recent weeks, and Dolphins fans aren’t likely to overrun Qualcomm like Steelers, Raiders, Bears and Broncos fans did earlier this season.

The atmosphere is expected to be a mix of nostalgia and anger. While fans are mad that team Chairman Dean Spanos wants to abandon San Diego in favor of the perceived riches of Los Angeles, they still want to cheer for Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Eric Weddle, and perhaps witness Melvin Gordon’s elusive first touchdown.

The Chargers are actually favored. A victory would be a respite in a season that’s been as lousy for the fans, who’ve had their loyalty trampled, as it has been for the players.

“San Diego has been phenomenal to me, obviously, playing here my whole career,” Gates said. “All I know is right now I’ve got one game left at Qualcomm and I want to make the most of it. … If this is our last game - who knows what the future holds - I want to make it my best game. I want to make it a game to remember.”

Rivers said it’ll be an emotional day, and that he’ll even savor the drive down the hill into the stadium parking lot.

San Diego is 3-10 and the Dolphins are 5-8. It’s anything but a marquee matchup.

But for generations of Chargers fans, it might be the last time they can call the team theirs.

Here are some things to look for when San Diego hosts Miami:

OFFENSIVE OFFENSE: The Chargers have failed to score a touchdown in their last two home games, against division rivals Kansas City and Denver. On one hand it’s mystifying, considering how good Rivers is, but on the other hand, a subpar offensive line is dragging down the Bolts.

“It’s minor breakdowns at some point,” Gates said. “It’s just being on one page collectively. Sometimes that minor breakdown kind of ruins the play. But when we do it right, I’m telling you, man, we’re tough to stop.”

RUN, MELVIN, RUN: Gordon, the Chargers’ first-round draft pick, has yet to score his first touchdown.

“It’s tough, because that’s what everyone talks about,” Gordon said. “My time will come.”

How will he react?

“Who knows what I’m going to do. I’ll be so happy to get in there.”

Coach Mike McCoy always talks about “outstanding” game plans. Will this game plan get Gordon into the end zone? “I’ll tell you Sunday after the game,” McCoy said. “All plays on paper are touchdowns.”

FAREWELLS: Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd is retiring after this season and Weddle will continue his career elsewhere because the Chargers aren’t giving the safety a contract extension. Both are fan favorites who get a final chance to play before the home crowd.

Weddle likes to mingle with fans after victories. “I’m just going to give it my all and enjoy every second,” he said.

“I don’t’ want to get too emotional,” Floyd said. “I just want to win this game.”

NO GOOD ANSWERS: The Dolphins haven’t been in the mood to reflect - publicly, at least - on the reasons for their disappointing season. This is the earliest Miami has been eliminated from the playoff race since 2011, and the question was posed to quarterback Ryan Tannehill: Why are the Dolphins in this situation?

“We didn’t win enough games,” Tannehill said.

Why?

“We didn’t score enough points,” he said.

Why?

“Because we didn’t get in the end zone enough,” he said.

That brought the interrogation on the subject to an end.

SUH’S SEASON: Miami defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is nearing the end of his sixth NFL season, and his first in Miami with a $114 million contract.

He has never won a playoff game, and won’t this season. But motivation won’t be a problem in the final three games, including Sunday, Suh said.

“The only way I know to play this game is full speed,” he said. “That’s what you’ll see out there, if that’s what you’re referring to.”

Suh is on pace to finish with fewer sacks, quarterback hurries and tackles for a loss than a year ago with Detroit, but interim coach Dan Campbell praised his play.

“Everybody expects him to play like Superman, you know, like a fictional character, because of the amount of money that he has made,” Campbell said. “But he has been as productive as any defensive tackle in this league. Every week he’s making play after play. He’s disruptive. You know he works his tail off. He’s in phenomenal shape. I mean there’s nothing I can say bad about the guy.”

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Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/berniewilson

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Online: https://pro32.ap.org/poll and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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