Following a touchback, Tyrod Taylor and the offense took the field. The first play of the game was a play action pass to Austin Ekeler who easily picked up the 1st down. The next snap was a handoff to Austin Ekeler for 5 yards, which Dan Fouts noted was his career average. Hunter Henry caught a quick pass for 7 yards and a new set of downs. A pitch to Ekeler on the next play went for 13 yards as he showed just how elusive he can be. Tyrod Taylor then dropped back to pass, saw nobody was open and took off running for a big gain. Justin Jackson then got his first action and immediately ran for 8 yards. Ekeler got the tough yards for a 1st down, but then on his next carry he was held up and the defense stripped the ball away creating a turnover.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals then took over in the shadow of their own endzone. The first play from scrimmage was a handoff to David Johnson that was snuffed out before it could get going. Byrd picked up 6 yards on a quick strike to the sideline setting up 3rd & 3. Murray was given too much time and Trent Sherfield was given too much space, and the Cardinals turned that into an easy pitch and catch 1st down. Johnson got the call again, but Justin Jones and co. were there to shut him down again. Murray throwing on the run to his right found Sherfield for another 1st down. Following a penalty, Arizona set up a screen to Johnson that picked up 14 yards. Byrd beat Michael Davis for the new set of downs on the next play. Larry Fitzgerald got his first target of the year, but he was met by three Chargers defenders immediately. Murray saw instant pressure in his face, but he was able to roll away from it and hit his man. Luckily for the Chargers, the receiver had stepped out of bounds earlier in his route. There was more instant pressure on 3rd down, but this time Chris Peace brought Murray down.
Following Arizona’s punt, the Los Angeles offense took back over inside their own 20. They found themselves sitting in 3rd & 5, and Mike Williams went up for a beautiful back shoulder pass and easily came down with it for the 1st down. Henry made his presence felt again with a 9-yard gain on 1st down. On 2nd & 1, Ekeler broke off a long run at the end of which he covered up prior to contact. Another big play by Ekeler and another scramble by Taylor set up 1st & goal. Jackson then got the call and made a terrific run to the pylon.
Brett Hundley relieved Murray to start the Cardinals’ second drive. The first play went to Chase Edmonds who could not get acrosst he line of scrimmage. A dumb holding penalty on Adrian Phillips undid an incomplete pass by Hundley and gave Arizona a fresh set of downs. Uchenna Nwosu got quick pressure on the next snap forcing an errant throw. He got caught jumping early on 3rd down, though, and Hundley found Ricky Seals-Jones for a big gain and a 1st down. Another holding penalty, this time by Springs, gave the Cardinals another 1st. After an incompletion on a screen pass, the Cardinals took a shot downfield, but the play was well covered and the throw was off target. Another incompletion on 3rd down was coupled with an offensive holding penalty and the Chargers elected to replay the down. A false start by Hundley made that decision look even better. A 5-yard gain on 3rd & 25, brought on the punting unit. Artavis Scott called for a fair catch inside his own 10-yard line.
Cardale Jones took over for Tyrod Taylor and quickly reminded everyone why he will not be making the final 53-man roster by missing a wide open receiver for what would have been a huge gain. Eventually, the drive stalled out and the Chargers punted the ball away.
A sack by Isaac Rochell and a big-time tackle by Adrian Phillips contributed to a quick 3-and-out by the Cardinals. The subsequent punt featured four fouls by the Chargers with a 15-yarder for blocking out of bounds being the one that was accepted.
An easy lob by Jones resulted in a nice catch and run by Vollert that resulted in a 1st down. Detrez Newsome got the ball on the next snap and picked up just a couple yards. On 2nd & 8, Jones scanned the field not finding an open receiver then decided for some reason to run backward into a sack. Pope got his first touch of the game on 3rd & 16 picking up some yardage but coming up short of the sticks. The resulting punt landed in the endzone and the Cardinals took over to attempt a 2-minute drill.
Brett Hundley swiftly marched his team down the field before hitting Sherfield deep down the left side for a beautiful touchdown. Jeff Richards simply could not keep up with him.
After the half, the Chargers kickoff resulted in a touchback. An early defensive holding penalty gave the Cardinals offense life. It wasn’t enough, though, as three plays later their punting team was ready to take the field again.
When the Chargers got the ball back, Jones was still in at quarterback with Easton Stick still waiting for his opportunity on the sideline. After one 1st down, Jones attempted to scramble on 3rd & 8 but did not protect the football, it was stripped away, and Arizona returned it for 6 points. On replay, it was determined that his knee was down and the punting unit took the field.
Drew Anderson took over at quarterback and he hit Johnson on a beauty of a 23-yard completion four plays into the drive. Eventually, they stalled out, but they were close enough to attempt a field goal and it was good from 55 yards.
Following a lackluster kick return by Troymaine Pope, we got our first look at Easton Stick. Sam Tevi immediately committed a false start. Pope broke off a very nice run, but it was called back due to holding by Trent Scott. Both tackles failed to cover themselves in glory tonight. Stick handed off to Pope again, and there was another holding penalty. This one was mercifully declined. Stick’s first pass attempt would come on 2nd & 20. It was a screen to Pope who picked up 15 yards. On 3rd & 5, Stick dropped back to pass again, but he was unable to hook up with Justice Liggins. A truly uninspiring punt later and the Cardinals had the ball near midfield.
Anderson completed a pass for no gain, failed to complete a pass, then was intercepted by Drue Tranquill.
Stick got another chance, this time not buried by penalties, and he took off for a huge gain on a read action. He followed that up with a short strike to Malachi Dupre. A few plays later, Stick was hit as he released the ball and was lucky not to turn the ball over. On the next play, he was not so lucky as he stared down his receiver before hitting the defender right in the chest with the ball. Stick did chase him down to prevent the touchdown, at least.
Two decent runs were followed by a 12-yard pass, and finally a 7-yard touchdown scamper concluded the drive.
After a terrible kick return, the Chargers offense was looking at a very long field. They made it longer by taking a sack on 1st down. On 3rd & 16, Stick threw from his own endzone and Jordan Smallwood caught it for a 1st down. They rushed to the line to prevent a replay and ran a running play that picked up 2 yards. Vince Mayle hauled in another 1st down on the next play. Then he found Dupre for another big gain. A terrific run by Pope on 1st down was brought back thanks to a Sokol holding penalty. Another holding penalty on the next play, put them in 2nd & 28. Then Arizona’s Thompson bailed them out with a defensive pass interference penalty. Pope was then stopped for a loss and Stick missed his intended target to setup 3rd & 13. Stick, then scrambled for an incredible touchdown. They went for 2 and failed to convert.
When the got the ball back, Arizona looked to run the ball and run clock. They did just that with a 13-play drive that killed the clock and ended the game.