Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill celebrates as his leaves the field after their win against the San Diego Chargers during an NFL football game in San Diego, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Denis Poroy
November 14, 2016

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) The Miami Dolphins were in unfamiliar territory Monday. And that's on two fronts.

Miami remained in southern California after defeating the San Diego Chargers on Sunday 31-24 for their initial road win of the season. The Dolphins will practice in north San Diego County in preparation for this week's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Dolphins (5-4) are also nestled above .500 for the first time in rookie coach Adam Gase's short tenure. A four-game winning streak has compensated for a 1-4 start, and, just maybe, surging Miami can make the postseason.

''I've never, ever been one to really talk about (that) in my career,'' Gase said. ''I've always been worried about the week we are involved in.

''I think if you do things right enough times, you get opportunities to keep playing. So that is how I look at it. More times than not, when you talk about it, that is when it doesn't happen.''

Gase did speak on Branden Albert. The left tackle exited Sunday's game after dislocating his left wrist, but returned while wearing a brace.

''We're still going through a little bit of our medical process to figure out what exactly is going to happen as far as the exact diagnosis, and if we are going to be able to get him back this week,'' Gase said. ''We got to go through some stuff still. It is swollen right now, so we just have to see how the week progresses.''

Albert didn't seem compromised playing with the injury. But Gase said Albert is seeing a hand specialist and his status isn't clear.

''We have to go through all those little steps just to make sure that we handle everything the right way,'' Gase said. ''So if he can go, it's for the entire . the rest of the season.''

Miami is in the playoff conversation thanks to the improved play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Jay Ajayi's emergence, and a secondary that forced four turnovers Sunday.

Gase sensed his team had turned a corner about a month ago. In the run-up to beating the Steelers 30-15 on Oct. 16, Gase saw his squad in a new light.

''That Pittsburgh week I felt something different,'' Gase said. ''I felt like the defense was really playing well, but we were struggling obviously, but that week felt different. There was some confidence there, especially at the end of the week, that we were going to play well.''

That was the push-off point for a four-game run that has the Dolphins two games shy of the AFC East-leading New England Patriots (7-2).

''(Gase) just stayed consistent with the message to do it right and focus on the details,'' linebacker Jelani Jenkins said. ''I think it's really, really been a trust in the system. Focus on the details and try to treat every week as a new week.''

Added Gase: ''I've seen a lot of veteran players take control of our team. I've seen some guys that maybe we did not think were going to be huge contributors taking leadership-type roles and all of a sudden they are vaulted into a position where they are making plays. It's been great to see guys step forward and make plays and lead.''

Will it all lead to the playoffs?

''I think that is way too far ahead to think about right now,'' safety Isa Abdul-Quddus said. ''We're still in middle of season ... we need to focus on the Rams and to get that win.''


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