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5 Takeaways: Kelley's Hurdle Highlights Bolts Final Preseason Game 


The Bolts closed out their preseason slate with a 27-10 loss to the Saints on Friday night.

The Chargers will now turn their attention to Week 1 against the Raiders, but before then, here are five observations from the Bolts preseason finale:

1. Kelley ends on a high note

Joshua Kelley began the preseason with a bang, and ended on a high note, too.

The Chargers running back put together a solid performance against the Saints, rushing six times for 40 yards.

He also provided the highlight of the night with an acrobatic hurdle on a third-and-14 draw play that gained 15 yards.

After the game, Kelley broke down the play.

"Man, that's been something I've been doing for years, honestly," Kelley said. "It's not an accident, it's not just something I just did out of the blue.

"I've been doing that since college, I've been practicing it so when I saw [New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Maye], I was like, 'He's going low at me so I'm like this is my chance … let me just jump over this dude.' I had a shot at it so I pulled the trigger," Kelley added.

Overall, Kelley had carries of 15, nine, seven and eight yards on the night. He did not play in the second half.

"I thought that Josh gave us a spark tonight," said Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley. "I thought that he created some things for us; that draw was a big one.

"I thought that he was a bright spot for us tonight, for sure. I thought that he gave us some energy," Staley added.

Larry Rountree III had six carries for 12 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run.

"It felt good. I haven't been there in a while," Rountree said with a laugh about his score. "It was 11 guys working hard. It felt really good to get into the endzone and have a rushing touchdown, but it was a group effort. I thank my O-line."

2. A new-look offensive line

The Chargers rested starting offensive linemen Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler and Rashawn Slater on Friday night, as that trio did not play in the preseason.

Rookie Zion Johnson, meanwhile, started for the third straight preseason game at right guard.

The Chargers had Trey Pipkins III start at right tackle, with Storm Norton at left tackle against the Saints. That duo had each started one preseason game at right tackle thus far.

The rest of the Chargers starting offensive line was left guard Brenden Jaimes and center Will Clapp.

3. Chargers tested against Saints starters

The Chargers rested their key starters in the Big Easy, while the Saints chose to play theirs on both offense and defense.

Offensively, the Chargers went up against New Orleans defensive starters such as Tyrann Mathieu, Demario Davis and Cameron Jordan.

For the Bolts defense, that meant a stern test against the likes of Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram II, Jarvis Landry and others.

Some starters of note for the Chargers defense included cornerback Ja'Sir Taylor, safety JT Woods and outside linebacker Jamal Davis II.

Taylor said he appreciate the strong level of competition in New Orleans.

"I was pretty happy when I heard they were playing their starters because in the regular season that's the people who are going to be out there," Taylor said. "So it was a good test for us to see where we matchup.

"We've been practicing against our starters this whole training camp so seeing some other team's starters, it was good out there," Taylor added. "There's a lot to learn from [tonight]."

4. Daniel, Stick split preseason playing time

The Bolts also kept up the same trend at quarterback, where Chase Daniel and Easton Stick each played one half.

Daniel played the first half against the Rams and the second half against the Cowboys, while Stick played the other halves.

On Friday, it was Daniel who got the start in New Orleans, where he spent the first four years of his career, plus the 2017 season.

Daniel was efficient in his start, completing 10 of 11 passes for 113 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 109.5, and he also scrambled for a first down on a third-and-7 play in the second quarter.

"There are a lot of good memories here for me," Daniel said. "Obviously, started the first four years of my career here, then came back for Year 5 [with the Saints] in 2017.

"It was good to get some experience with the second O-line and second receivers against their starting defense. They're a really good defense," Daniel added. "Then, we were able to have a 15-play touchdown drive against their ones. That was really cool. I thought that we were able to move the ball really well."

Stick played the second half against the Saints, completing nine of 17 passes for 74 yards.

Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Preseason Week 3 matchup against the Saints in New Orleans

5. Guyton, Bandy make splash plays

The Chargers top three wide receivers didn't suit up against the Saints. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams sat out all three preseason games, and Josh Palmer did not play after clearing the concussion protocol Wednesday.

That gave others a chance to step up, with Jalen Guyton and Michael Bandy doing just that.

Guyton had two catches for 48 yards on the night, including a 38-yard reception down the left sideline in the first quarter when he showed off his speed. His 10-yard catch later in the half moved the Bolts into the red zone.

Bandy, meanwhile, had three catches for 30 yards. He finished preseason play with a team-high 18 catches for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

With the preseason over with, Staley gave his assessment of the Chargers after the game.

"I like the way that we came together as a football team," Staley said. "I think that our team has improved from the first day of practice until now.

"I think that we got full evaluations, which is what we were after in these three preseason games," Staley added. "Now, we're ready to get on with it."

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