After a disappointing first preseason game in Tennessee, the Chargers bounced back very nicely and shut down the entire Cardinals roster to just 3 points. We learned The secondary isn’t a fluke after they shined as they have been all offseason, making huge plays when the starters were in. The offense without Philip Rivers was a little less potent this time around, but we still saw great catches from Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Dom Williams, and Travis Benjamin.
Defensively this will be a great game to build off of as the starters literally shut down the Cardinals starting offense. Brandon Flowers returned an interception to the house after making a great read while blitzing QB Carson Palmer. Jahleel Addae quieted his naysayers by standing his ground and recording his first pick as a pro and taking it back 61 yards as well. Denzel Perryman nearly downed Cardinals RB David Johnson for a safety, but just missed because he was trying to get the big hit. Overall the defense said it trusted each other and it showed on the field. Even when the back ups came out, it was constantly three-and-outs and our defensive backs keeping the play away from the receivers with solid coverage and bump and shove off of the line of scrimmage. Pretty amazing outing by a defense, limiting a team to 3 points, but we must remember through all of this, that it is preseason.
Aug 19, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) runs an interception back for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The offense was less sharp than it was last week, but still managed some plays. Allen, Williams, and Benjamin all made their presence felt by converting first downs on big plays. Benjamin had a scare after he was stripped for a fumble, but refs ruled his knee was down, keeping his debut clean. Williams had a spectacular catch on a comeback route that moved the chains for the Chargers, and was consistently getting open and making the catch for Kellen Clemens. He is starting to look like starter material. Allen converted big on 3rd down for 28 yards and even took a Cardinals defender out of his cleats with a cut up field, just another day on the job for the ‘Slayer’. Melvin Gordon bounced a very nice run outside for a first down, but the run game was the weakest point of the Chargers attack on this night. An issue they hopefully can fix by Week 1.
Aug 19, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) defends San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) during the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Every starting defensive back got their hands on a ball last night. Although Flowers and Addae recorded interceptions, Dwight Lowery and Jason Verrett both nearly came away with picks as well against a good quarterback in Palmer. The defense was called on to show up last week and they answered the call. Next week we head to Minnesota for the third preseason game. This is the game where starters play about an entire half so we must answer again to get a win on the road against what was a playoff team and beat us 31-14 in week 3 of 2015. Even without Rivers, we learned the defense can come through and put the Chargers ahead and in a position to win like a true defense should. Last week, the offense took the glory, this week the defense stole the show, can they both keep it on fire all the way into the Vikings brand new stadium?