Cardinals offense struggles in preseason loss to Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers didn't score an offensive touchdown and it didn't matter against the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night.

The Chargers forged ahead early and cruised past the Cardinals, 19-3.

With Carson Palmer limited to three series and Philip Rivers not playing, the first half was mostly a competition between veteran backup quarterbacks Kellen Clemens and Drew Stanton.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was on the sideline for the game.

Arians was released from the hospital on Wednesday after an overnight stay. The 63-year-old coach was taken to the hospital Tuesday night after complaining of stomach pain as the Cardinals prepared for a joint practice.

"I'm fine," Arians said after the game.

On their way to a 16-0 halftime lead, the Chargers (1-1) took advantage of two turnovers for 10 first-quarter points.

Brandon Flowers intercepted Palmer's pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.

"The defense started fast and that's what we wanted to do," Flowers said.

"You don't let it frustrate you," Palmer said. "You just continue to find ways to get better and look at all the areas that are good, look at all the areas that are bad and evaluate then and move forward."

Stanton was then picked off in his first series by Jahleel Addae. He brought it back 61 yards to the Arizona 9. The Chargers settled for a 20-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Kicker Josh Lambo was the game's key offensive player. He made four field goals to pace the Chargers.

One week after allowing a league-high 288 rushing yards, the Chargers limited the Cardinals to 63.

Chandler Catanzaro made a 52-yard field goal for Arizona (0-2).


Cardinals: CB Brandon Williams needed to rebound after struggling in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. Williams, who is being counted on to start, was active and broke up a pass.

Chargers: P Drew Kasey, a sixth-round pick, showed off his distance with his four punts going at least 50 yards.


Cardinals: Palmer finished 4 of 8 for 37 yards, with one interception.

Chargers: Clemens was 11 of 20 for 134 yards.


Cardinals: WR Jaron Brown is in the mix at wide receiver, and had a chance to shine with Larry Fitzgerald not playing. Brown continued his strong summer with a key third-down catch with the Cards backed up near their end zone.

Chargers: Flowers is trying to hold off Casey Hayward for a starting job. Flowers helped his cause by bringing back Palmer's interception 25 yards for a touchdown.


Cardinals: David Johnson had 5 yards on three carries. Chris Johnson added 7 yards on four carries. Jaron Brown had two receptions for 40 yards.

Chargers: Melvin Gordon finished with 18 yards on six carries; he had a long of 12. Keenan Allen caught two passes for 41 yards. Tyrell Williams had four receptions for 47 yards.


Cardinals: "I'm very disappointed in the performance, especially offensively." Arians said.

Chargers: "It was a decision that Philip wasn't going to play and it was made a long time ago," coach Mike McCoy said of not playing Rivers.


Cardinals: Fitzgerald didn't play with a slight keen sprain, according to Arians.

Chargers: WR Dontrelle Inman was separated from the ball on a big hit by LB Deone Bucannon. Inman went to the locker room and didn't return. TE Jeff Cumberland suffered an Achilles injury. G Donald Clark left with a knee injury. Cumberland and Clark both left the field on carts; no updates were available.


One of the top QB-tight end combinations in league history didn't play. Rivers, who leads the franchise with 92 wins, watched the game while wearing a baseball cap. Gates, a 14-year pro, needs seven TD catches to catch Tony Gonzalez (111) for the most by a tight end.


McCoy was ecstatic with how the Chargers responded to the Cardinals' first four series. It produced two interceptions and two punts.


The Cardinals weren't called for a penalty until the 7:26 mark of the third quarter.