San Diego welcomed the NFL preseason to Qualcomm Stadium with a flurry of first-quarter action, scoring a touchdown on
It won’t count toward their quest for a fifth consecutive AFC West championship, but the Chargers kicked off the preseason with a 25-10 win, treating fans to renditions of “San Diego Super Chargers” and touching off good emotions as the crowd of 55,837 streamed back onto I-8 to await more football in seven days.
“The first time you go out and play, guys are excited. I was pleased with our emotion. I was very pleased with how physical we were,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “We made a big effort to get after the quarterback and that showed. Our runners did a good job running the football, and with our offensive line, it’s going to be exciting.”
The Bears were the first to gain traction on offense, skipping into San Diego territory with a pair of completions to Johnny Knox. But free agent signee
Strickland again blitzed from the right edge to impart a blindside hit on backup quarterback Caleb Hanie in the second quarter, nearly causing an interception downfield.
A cranky, disruptive Chargers defense forced two turnovers and sacked Bears quarterbacks six times. Linebacker
“We came out and set the tone. We were definitely physical. We tackled well and gave up just the one big play up the field,” said
It was enough to protect a 14-10 lead San Diego built at the end of the first half, answering Chicago’s only touchdown drive with a clock-controlling possession of their own.
A pass interference penalty induced by
The first offense also broke the plane courtesy of a well-placed pass from Rivers.
Set up by a 51-yard kickoff return by
“It was a great catch. It came up just like it came up a few times in practice,” Rivers said. “And Buster (Davis) had a huge catch on third down prior to that.”
Despite the play, Rivers found things to improve upon.
“We came out and I missed two throws early, and we had a goal of not getting any penalties and we ended up getting a couple. It waas nice to get a touchdown and it was nice to get Ryan (Mathews) a couple of carries; also Legedu (Naanee) and (Antonio) Gates. I would’ve liked to get Malcom (Floyd) a catch too.”
San Diego held up well at left tackle and in the running game, two focal points of the offseason.
The Chargers first defense trotted out
Meanwhile, Mathews got to work after plunging up the gut for three yards on his initial carry in Chargers blue. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry after his initial foray into the teeth of an NFL defense and led all players with 61 all-purpose yards in the first half.