The Starting Secondary
The Chargers starting secondary showed up ready to compete against the Cardinals. Just about every player on the back end contributed some solid play. The Cardinals were forced to punt the ball after a quick 3 and out on the first series of the game. During their second offensive series Carson Palmer was intercepted by Brandon Flowers. Arizona tried to run a wide receiver screen, but #24 was having none of it as he picked off Palmer’s pass and ran with it 25-yards into the end zone. Jahleel Addae had a pick of his own on a pass from Drew Stanton that sailed well over his receivers head. Addae returned the pass 61-yards getting some nice blocking from his teammates. Jason Verrett nearly had an interception as well, and Casey Hayward made a great play on a deep pass intended for Michael Floyd.
Bercovici started his first drive off a little slow. After that, however, he really seemed to settle himself down and get into a rhythm finishing 9/13 for 108 yards. Bercovici looked comfortable in the pocket, he was decisive, accurate (mostly), and showed to have a good command of the offense. He showed at times that he is a rookie, but overall it was a solid performance from Bercovici.
One more positive to address quickly, rookie punter Drew Kaser is very, very, good.
The Chargers Pass Rush
For a good majority of the game, the Chargers pass rush was just nonexistent. There was nobody getting to the quarterback, and on the rare occasion that someone did, the play often wasn't finished. On the very first play of the game, Brandon Mebane made his way through the middle of the Cardinals line while Kyle Emanuel came around the edge. The play should have ended in a sack of Carson Palmer, but he ended up getting away and threw incomplete to running back David Johnson. Later on, Melvin Ingram had Palmer for what should have been an easy sack. It looked like Ingram tried to go for the strip and missed the play all together. There was a play or two made towards the end of the game, but for the most part, it was not a great showing for this Chargers pass rush unit.
There were a couple of injuries against the Cardinals, two of which required the players to be carted into the locker room. The first injury was to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman who took a massive hit from Deone Bucannon while going for a Kellen Clemens pass over the middle of the field. Inman was evaluated for a concussion on the sideline, but the athletic training staff determined he had not sustained one. Inman was held out for the remainder of the game presumably as a precaution. Tight end Jeff Cumberland was the next player to receive medical attention. Cumberland suffered a non-contact injury to his Achilles tendon in the second quarter while running a route to the end zone. He had to pull up on his route and was in obvious pain, hardly able to put pressure on his left foot. The extent of the injury has yet to be revealed. Rookie guard Donavon Clark was the final injury. He injured his knee in the 3rd quarter and had to be taken to the locker room on a cart. The extent of Clark’s injury has yet to be revealed as well. Clark has had a fantastic offseason and stellar preseason, and this could end up being a difficult loss to swallow depending on how long he is out. Here is to wishing all these players a quick and full recovery.