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Chargers Open Preseason Play With Win Over Rams

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The Chargers got off to a winning start in preseason play.

The Bolts opened their preseason slate in a familiar place — at SoFi Stadium — but were the road team against the Rams.

Here is a recap of the 34-17 win:

First Quarter

The Bolts won the toss and elected to receive. Easton Stick started at quarterback on offense but the unit went three-and-out on their opening possession. The Chargers defense then stepped on the field and forced a punt despite the Rams taking over near midfield. Rookie Tuli Tuipulotu had a pressure before Chris Rumph II tallied a third-down sack to bring the Rams out of field goal range.

The Bolts got the ball back at their own 9-yard line as Stick led them on a scoring drive with a handful of solid throws. He found Quentin Johnston for four yards to move the chains on third-and-3, and later hit Donald Parham, Jr. for 13 yards and Keelan Doss for 28 yards to get the Bolts into Rams territory. The Chargers drive was dinged by a holding penalty but Cameron Dicker got the Bolts on the board first with a 50-yard field goal. The Bolts defense then forced a quick three-and-out after Ja'Sir Taylor had solid coverage to force an incompletion on a third-down pass attempt. The Bolts led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Browse through the top pregame photos of the Bolts prepping to take on the Rams at SoFi Stadium

Second Quarter

The Bolts run game got going early in the second quarter as the Chargers put together another scoring drive. The Bolts ran the ball on seven straight plays to open a drive, with those runs picking up 49 total yards. But the drive stalled inside the 10-yard line as the Chargers had to settle for another Dicker field goal, this time from 25 yards out. The Bolts defense forced a quick three-and-out before the Chargers found the end zone on a dazzling play from Derius Davis, who took a punt 81 yards to the house.

Davis, a fourth-round rookie, was the 2022 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year who had six total touchdowns on special teams at TCU. The Chargers defense then allowed a lengthy drive but also couldn't hold onto a pair of interceptions that were dropped. The Bolts appeared to force the Rams into a field goal try but a personal foul penalty inside the red zone kept the drive alive. The Rams capitalized with an 11-yard touchdown pass that cut the Bolts lead to 13-7 with 1 minute and 48 seconds left in the second half. But Stick helped lead a solid 2-minute drill as he drove the offense inside the 10-yard with 20 seconds left. Stick then hit Quentin Johnston for an 8-yard score after the rookie ran a superb route. The Bolts led 20-7 at the half.

Third Quarter

The teams traded punts early in the third quarter before the Rams put together a drive. Chargers rookie Andrew Farmer powered his way for a sack for a defensive highlight on the series. The Rams moved into field goal range but their 46-yard try was wide left as the Bolts maintained their 20-7 lead. Max Duggan and the Chargers offense were forced to punt again before the Rams put together a 64-yard touchdown drive. The Chargers led 20-14 at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Bolts began the fourth quarter with the ball and caught a break when Pokey Wilson drew a pass interference call that gained 38 yards. Rookie running back Elijah Dotson did the rest as he raced 37 yards down the left sideline for a score that put the Bolts over 100 yards rushing on the night.

The Rams then put together a lengthy drive but the Bolts defense held firm in the red zone to force a field goal try. The Rams hit a 39-yard field goal to cut the Chargers lead to 27-17 with just over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The teams then traded more punts before Dotson showcased his speed again, this time on a 40-yard touchdown run down the left sideline.

The Bolts defense capped off a strong performance with another late sack, this one from CJ Okoye, a Nigerian-born defensive lineman playing in his first preseason game. The Chargers sideline went wild and then celebrated the 34-17 win.

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