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Recap: Tyrod Taylor Shines, But Cardinals Top Chargers 17-13 in Preseason Opener


The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 17-13 in Thursday night's preseason opener at State Farm Stadium.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who started in place of Philip Rivers, had a quarterback rating of 116.7 in his Chargers debut. Running back Austin Ekeler totaled 69 yards on eight first-half touches.

Los Angeles moved the ball 73 yards on the game's first seven plays. Taylor had a 23-yard rush and Ekeler racked up 36 yards on his first four touches.

On his fifth touch, Ekeler fumbled and the Cardinals recovered at their own two-yard line. In his NFL debut, Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray put together a 10-play drive that stalled after a third-down sack by linebacker Chris Peace.

Taylor went back to work, engineering a nine-play, 87-yard drive capped off by a four-yard touchdown rush by running back Justin Jackson. The biggest gain on the drive came courtesy of a 28-yard reception by Mike Williams. Michael Badgley's extra point gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead.

Taylor finished his night 6-of-6 for 72 yards. He also added 34 rushing yards.

Arizona tied the game before halftime with a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Hundley to wide receiver Trent Sherfield.

Cardale Jones entered the game for Taylor in the second quarter. The third-year player went 4-of-6 for 47 yards before rookie Easton Stick made his NFL debut with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter.

The Cardinals broke the halftime tie with a 55-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez. A seven-yard touchdown rush by Wes Hills extended the lead to 17-7 after a Stick interception was returned 55 yards.

Redemption came quick for the rookie, though. Stick's 31-yard touchdown rush on the Chargers' next possession cut Arizona's lead to four, but the two-point conversion failed.

Stick went 7-of-11 for 78 yards and an interception. He also added 51 rushing yards and the aforementioned score on two carries.

Browse through the top game action photos as the Bolts take on the Arizona Cardinals for the preseason opener.

Odds and ends: Defensive end Isaac Rochell had one of Los Angeles' two sacks. ... Rookie linebacker Drue Tranquill intercepted Cardinals quarterback Drew Anderson, who was pressured by defensive tackle T.Y. McGill. Tranquill also tied for the team lead with five total tackles. ... Several starters did not play Thursday, including wide receivers Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin, center Mike Pouncey, cornerback Casey Hayward, linebacker Thomas Davis, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, and defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.

Up next: The Chargers will welcome the New Orleans Saints to Jack Hammett Sports Complex for joint practices on Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16. The preseason home opener against New Orleans is Sunday, August 18 at 1 p.m. Pacific from ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park (CBS).

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