The Chargers played their home opener tonight against the Arizona Cardinals, capping off a joint practice held between the two organizations this past week. Without signal caller Philip Rivers, who sat out Friday night’s contest, the Chargers defense dominated the first half, coming away with two interceptions before halftime.
After mediocre drives by both sides, Chargers rookie Drew Kaser placed a punt perfectly, pinning the Cardinals on their own two yard line. This great field position almost transitioned into a safety when Denzel Perryman blasted into the backfield, but came up short on the stop.
The first score of the game came from a poor fake by Carson Palmer, which was picked off by Brandon Flowers, who returned it 25 yards to put the Chargers up 7-0. Shortly after, Jahleel Addae intercepted Drew Stanton and returned it 61 yards, helping to set up a short field goal by Josh Lambo, putting the chargers up 10-0.
Dontrelle Inman left the game after coming across the middle and getting lit up, losing his helmet in the process. Early sideline reports stated that Inman did not suffer a concussion, but the organization elected to hold him out the remainder of the game.
On a deep pass to the end-zone by Kellen Clemens, intended receiver Jeff Cumberland began to limp mid-route. The non-contact injury initially looked like a hamstring issue, however updates from the sideline have indicated an achilles injury, and Cumberland was carted off for further evaluation.
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Nearing the close of the second quarter, Damion Square had a tackle for a loss, and the Chargers first sack of the night came from Jerry Attaochu, after he blitzed from the blind side, bringing down Stanton.
Kellen Clemens did not see the second half, and instead undrafted rookie Mike Bercovici jumped the depth chart, and started the second half above Zach Mettenberger who did not play the entire game. On the first drive of the second half. offensive lineman and sixth-round pick Donavon Clark was carted off the field after suffering a leg injury.
After a couple of penalties stalled Bercovici’s first drive of the game, kicker Josh Lambo split the uprights from 50 yards out, putting the Chargers up 19-0.
The Chargers scored on four consecutive possessions before Kaser shined again on special teams, placing a 58-yard punt right on the Cardinals goal line, resulting in the return man getting stopped within the Cardinals own 10-yard line.
It was discouraging that the Chargers offense could not find the end zone the entire game, making many question the depth on the offensive side of the ball. However, the defense more than made up for the lack of offensive production.
In the postgame interview, Brandon Flowers attributed the defense’s performance to Brandon Mebane’s pre=game motivational speech, and it seemed to ignite the team who is walking away with its first preseason win of the season, beating the Cardinals 19-3.