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Thanks largely in part to Nick Novak, the Chargers beat the Cardinals 12-9 in the final preseason matchup of 2014.
Much of the fourth quarter was dominated by punts on both teams. The Chargers’ running game switched between backs Grice and Oliver, the latter who had his longest rush of the night for 23-yards up the middle.
Desperate to get something going, Thomas threw a pass deep right that was intercepted by Chargers safety Alden Darby who ran it back 26-yards to the Arizona 17-yard line. A series of powerful runs by Grice took the Bolts to the Arizona six-yard line. With a new set of downs, the team ran the clock out to seal their 12-9 victory.
Torrence Allen fumbled the opening kickoff, which was recovered by Arizona. Catanzaro and the Cardinals settled for a 35-yard field goal and tied the game 9-9 with 12:54 remaining in the third.
Brad Sorensen entered in at quarterback for the Chargers but the Bolts went three-and-out.
The Cardinals also were forced to punt after Chargers linebacker Thomas Keiser had a strip-sack on Thomas on third down.
After an 18-yard punt return by Reese, the Chargers started at their own 44-yard line. Sorensen handed the ball off to running back Branden Oliver for seven straight plays to take the Bolts to the Arizona 25-yard line. Three plays later, Reese fumbled a pass by Sorensen but the Chargers recovered the ball bringing Novak on the field for a 37-yard field goal attempt. Novak’s kick was good and the Chargers were up 12-9 with 2:32 remaining in the third.
Arizona punted again and the Chargers face a 2nd-and-six on their own 28-yard line to begin the fourth quarter.
Novak gave the Bolts a 6-3 lead off a 39-yard field goal less than a minute into the second quarter.
After a punt by Arizona, the Chargers moved the chains downfield with a huge third down pass completion to wide receiver Javontee Herndon and a series of
Chargers Linebacker Cordarro Law had a sack-fumble on Logan Thomas and defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi recovered at the Arizona 47-yard line; however, the Bolts ended up punting on their third possession of the quarter.
Arizona was forced to punt again and the Chargers began their fourth possession of the quarter at their own 33-yard line. After completing passes to wide receivers Dontrelle Inman and Torrence Allen as well as a 10-yard run off a handoff to Grice, Clemens’ legs carried him for 17-yards to the Arizona 19-yard line.
After Clemens found wide receiver Tevin Reese for a gain of nine and Grice for five-yards, the Chargers chose to go for it on 4th-and-goal with two seconds left on the clock. Clemens’ fourth-down pass was intercepted by Cardinals cornerback Jimmy Legree who ran the ball back 68-yards. A horse collar penalty against the Chargers bumped the Cardinals up 15-yards and Arizona kicked a 38-yard field goal at the very end of the half making it 9-6, Chargers.
The Chargers will receive the ball to open the second half.
San Diego won the coin toss but deferred to the second half.
The Cardinals scored first off a 42-yard field goal from kicker Chandler Catanzaro and led the bolts 3-0 after a six-play, 42-yard drive. Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett had a monster hit on Arizona quarterback Logan Thomas on third down to force the Cardinals to go for the field goal.
Quarterback Kellen Clemens led the Chargers on the field for their first possession. Driving downfield off an impressive fourth down, 27-yard catch-and-run completion to wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, the Chargers settled for a 35-yard field goal from kicker Nick Novak. Both teams were knotted 3-3 with seven minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Cardinals and Chargers traded punts on their second series; however, Arizona’s drive was halted on second down by a huge 12-yard sack on Thomas by Chargers’ defensive tackle Chas Alecxih.
After a 21-yard completion to tight end John Phillips, Clemens and the Chargers are facing a 3rd-and-8 on the Cardinals 21 to open the second quarter.
The Chargers play their final preseason game of 2014 tonight against the Arizona Cardinals.
Coming off a two-week road trip, it’s a homecoming for the Bolts (1-2) as they welcome the Cardinals (1-2) to Qualcomm. This is the first of two games that both teams will play against each other within a span of 12 days. The Chargers travel to the desert for game one of the regular season on Monday, September 8.
With final roster cuts happening in less than 48 hours, tonight’s exhibition game is the last opportunity for players to make impressions.
Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich called the final roster a “jigsaw puzzle” and now it’s up to General Manager Tom Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy to find the right pieces to fit it. Tapering down a roster to the final 53 players isn’t an easy task, but McCoy said that tonight’s game is the “opportunity of a lifetime” for players to go out and show what they can do to prove that they should earn a spot on the Bolts’ roster.
The Cardinals have named their quarterback for tonight’s matchup. Rookie signal caller Logan Thomas will start and play the whole game under center.
Kickoff is set for 7:00p.m. Read