Final: Chargers 24, Cardinals 7
The Arizona Cardinals played a sloppy game Saturday night against the San Diego Chargers. All three phases of the team struggled, and the discipline was out the window—the team totaled 11 penalties for 94 yards.
Arizona's starters played into the third quarter but were shut out until Carson Palmer connected with Michael Floyd on a 16-yard touchdown with 8:26 remaining in the frame. Floyd also had a 5-yard catch for a total of two receptions for 21 yards and the score.
The starting offensive line did a 180-degree turn, as they suddenly looked like a formidable run-blocking unit, leading the way for Rashard Mendenhall and Alfonso Smith to combine for 91 yards on just 11 carries (8.3 yards per carry). But the line struggled to keep the pressure off Palmer, as he was forced out of the pocket many times and went down for the first time this preseason.
Todd Bowles' defense was just okay Saturday. Rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu forced an interception of Philip Rivers by getting his hand on the ball as Rivers released it (Jasper Brinkley came down with it).
Running lanes were wide open all night, however. It is just the preseason, but the performance was a step back for a unit trying to improve on being one of the worst at defending the run.
The team suffered several leg injuries during the game. Perhaps none were more severe than rookie first-round pick Jonathan Cooper, who broke his leg early in the third quarter. It is currently unknown how long he will be out, but speculation says anywhere from two months to the entire season.
As though the night were not bad enough already...
Carson Palmer: 12-of-23, 122 yards, 1 TD, 82.2 passer rating
Rashard Mendenhall: 6 carries, 47 yards (7.8 YPC)
Larry Fitzgerald: 4 receptions, 34 yards
Andre Roberts: 2 receptions, 42 yards
Jasper Brinkley: 8 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 INT
Yeremiah Bell: 6 tackles