His 48-yard run through the middle of the Cardinals’ defense showed what the Chargers’ line and running backs can do when the execution is on point.
San Diego wasn’t devastating running the ball, but often one big play skews rushing totals favorably. Mathews averaged 6.9 yards on 10 carries, helping the Chargers to 5.3 yards per rush.
Like most teams, the Chargers feel they can be most effective over the course of an entire game, which the starting offensive line won’t get until Sept. 11 when the regular season begins.
“The run game’s like a wear-down process. It’s like the small jabs in a boxing match that you don’t really feel, but it just starts to wear the other down,”
On third-and-1 during San Diego’s game-winning drive,
“Arizona gave us some different looks they hadn’t shown in the last two games. You’re trying to get work on the different looks,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “It’s hard to evaluate your running game until you get to play an entire game. I thought we had some good runs. I thought we had some breakdowns. I know a couple plays we’re one guy away from getting a big play.”
Horry was a role player that earned the nickname Big Shot Rob for his propensity to hit game-winning shots, and collected seven championship rings as a result.
Volek seems to excel in pressure situations as well, leading the game-winning touchdown drive against Indianapolis in the Divisional playoffs and getting a score to put a Week 17 win away against Washington in ’10.
On Saturday, Volek completed 9-of-17 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, finding
“It was a bunch of guys going out there fighting and scrapping it up. It was fun,” Volek said.
RETURN TO SENDER:
Goodman’s 43-yard return gave the Chargers good field position and helped set up
He also made a form tackle on the elusive LaRod Stephens-Howling during the game’s opening kickoff, forcing the Cardinals to start at their own 16.
Goodman now averages 30.1 yards on kickoff returns during the last two preseasons.
RUN CONTINUES: Kicker Nate Kaeding’s 52-yard field goal in the first quarter, his second of more than 50 yards in less than a week, makes him 4-for-4 this preseason.
Kaeding focused on extending his range this offseason after going 1-of-4 on attempts longer than 50 yards last season. A groin injury that kept him from three games also may have influenced that figure.
Kaeding also produced three touchbacks against the Cardinals.
The veteran receiver caught five passes for 78 yards Saturday. He leads the Chargers with 10 catches for 181 yards through three preseason games.
ADMIRED: Tough for
That sums up the last week for San Diego’s longest-tenured inside linebacker. Cooper tore his right biceps against Dallas on Aug. 21, then asked the coaching staff to allow him to prolong surgery so he can attempt to play with the injury.
He entered the game several times in the second half against Arizona, shedding a few blocks and dropping into coverage.
“I just think that he has the utmost respect from everybody anyway,” fellow inside linebacker
OPPORTUNITIES ABUNDANT: College free agent outside linebacker
Gamble has been on the field for about 120 plays the last two games, Turner estimated.
The Georgia product made several stops in the backfield against Seattle, then pounced on a Cardinals fumble and rolled into the end zone Saturday for a fourth-quarter touchdown that set the stage for Volek’s winning drive.
“It was awesome. My first NFL touchdown. It’s just overwhelming right now,” said a stunned Gamble. “I’m in there with the older guys. It’s a little easier to do my job when I’ve got great talent around me.”
KICKOFF WEATHER: 72 degrees (inside).