SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers forged ahead early and cruised past the Arizona Cardinals 19-3 on Friday night.
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.
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.
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: Fitzgerald didn’t play with what is believed to be a leg injury. But it’s not considered serious.
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.
3-POINTER LIKE CURRY
Lambo was busy. He converted all four of his field-goal attempts, including one from 50 yards.
NO RIVERS, NO GATES
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.
The Cardinals weren’t called for a penalty until the 7:26 mark of the third quarter.
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