Unlike the last two preseason games, when the first-team players were done for the night, there wasn’t a complete catastrophic meltdown that followed.
There was no Kellen Clemons pick-6, no lost fumble, no nothing.
Cardale Jones did throw an interception but that was more the fault of Travis Benjamin for not being a grown man and holding onto the football.
Although nothing damning happened, there still wasn’t a ton to be super excited about either. After scoring 21 points in the first quarter alone, the back-ups failed to put anything else up on the scoreboard which led to a deceptively close 21-19 victory over their cross-town rivals.
I’m not sure how much further this puts the team ahead in the #FightForLA but a victory is a victory.
The Starters Were Almost Flawless, Again
Just like the other short stints the first-team offense has had in preseason action, they got the job done in an efficient and exciting manner.
Philip Rivers was a perfect 6-for-6 for 85 yards and a pretty 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. After the Rams entered the red zone following a flag for pass interference, Joey Bosa manhandled the Rams right tackle en route to a strip-sack in which fellow bookend Melvin Ingram scooped up the fumble and raced 76 yards to put the Bolts up 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.
On the following Rams drive, Jared Goff underthrew his receiver leading to a Jason Verrett interception. The starters followed the big play up with another methodical drive capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon.
I really mean it when I say that the Bolt’s starters were firing on all cylinders.
Cardale Jones Has His Best Game as a Charger
Minus the interception, Jones had a respectable night throwing the football. In his first throw, he completed a nice pass to Hunter Henry near the right sideline to get things started. His passing line finished 9 for 13 for 74 yards and the aforementioned interception.
His mechanics and decision-making are still in question but he looked a bit more comfortable in the pocket and made some nice, safe throws to keep drives moving.
At this point, I’m still not sold on whether the team will carry two or three quarterbacks. If the plan is to keep two, has Jones done enough to warrant a roster spot over Clipboard Jesus? I guess time will tell.
Backups Still Have Some Work To Do
Apart from guys like Chris McCain and rookies Dan Feeney and Desmond King, the rest of the players fighting for roster spots continue to keep things hazy about who will be a part of the final 53 come final cuts.
UDFA Michael Davis had an very strong camp prior to the preseason though it was all but washed away following the series of unfortunate catches allowed over his head against the Seattle Seahawks. I am still a fan of his game but I’m not overly confident he is a shoe-in anymore.
UDFA linebackers Nigel Harris and James Onwualu have also seen some significant playing time since the injury to Denzel Perryman. Harris led all players in tackles with nine against Seattle but has gone ghost the last two games. Onwualu failed to register a stop last night as well. With injuries, I am sure the team will retain at least one of these two but who will get the final nod?
I’m not entirely sure what to say anymore about the back-up offensive lineman. Tyreek Burwell and Chris Hairston cannot and should not be on this team. Max Tuerk is suspended after taking performance-enhancing drugs (that haven’t helped). Sam Tevi is kind’ve just there. The only option I have any hope for is snagging 2-3 guys after final cuts on September 3rd.
Keenan Allen is Still Keenan Allen
In his first extended game action since tearing his ACL, Allen still looked as naturally dominant as ever. He led the team in receptions with five catches for 45 yards in just three series’ worth of work. Working mostly in short to intermediate routes, Philip Rivers looked his way often in order to lull the defense to sleep before popping one off to Benjamin for the score.
With two speedsters working the outside, I am all for Allen having his way in the slot. He is the savviest of route-runners and is a nightmare to cover so best of luck to whomever gets that responsibility.
It’s great to have him back.
What else stood out in the win over the Rams? What did I miss? Let’s chop it up in the comment section.