If Saturday night was indeed a dress rehearsal for the regular season, the Chargers needed just one quarter to prove they're ready for show time.
The starting offense and defense scored three touchdowns and forced two turnovers on the game's first four drives en route to a 21-19 preseason win over the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Philip Rivers and the first-team offense opened the game with a surgical six-play, 75-yard drive ending in a 45-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
On the game's next possession, defensive end Joey Bosa strip-sacked Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Fellow defensive end Melvin Ingram alertly scooped the ball and raced 76 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 after a Josh Lambo extra-point.
The Bolts' first-team defense wasn't done. Cornerback Jason Verrett — making his preseason debut — picked off a Goff pass on the Rams' next offensive possession. Nine plays later, running back Melvin Gordon rushed for a two-yard touchdown to put the Chargers up 21-0 after another Lambo extra-point.
Rivers exited after the first quarter, finishing 6-of-6 for 85 yards and a touchdown — a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He has played in three series this preseason, all resulting in touchdowns.
After seeing little from the running game through the first two preseason games, Gordon was heavily featured in the first quarter. He rushed eight times for 36 yards (4.5 yards per carry). Wide receiver Keenan Allen led the Chargers with five receptions for 45 yards.
Cardale Jones relieved Rivers and played into the fourth quarter, going 9-of-13 for 74 yards and one interception. Mike Bercovici finished the game at quarterback for the Chargers.
RETURN TO THE COLISEUM
The last time the Chargers played in the Coliseum was nearly 23 years ago on Sept. 25, 1994 against the then-Los Angeles Raiders. The Chargers beat the Raiders 26-24 in a season that ended with an appearance in Super Bowl XXIX.
The Chargers will close the preseason on the road on Thursday, Aug. 31st at 7 p.m. Pacific against the San Francisco 49ers. All four preseason games will have been played in the state of California.