ReFocused, NFL Preseason Week 1: Arizona Cardinals 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17
The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night, 24-17 ending the first full week of preseason action in the NFL.
PFF’s ReFocused series this season features immediate takeaways and a key to the victory from two Senior Analysts who graded the performance, watching every player, on every play of the game. For more data and analysis from the game, utilize our Premium Stats 2.0 dashboard to expand your knowledge on the key players, signature stats and much more.
Los Angeles Chargers 17, Arizona Cardinals 24
It was largely a stagnant performance from the Chargers offense, but wide receiver Geremy Davis was one standout, as he showed on his spectacular 47-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter. That type of athleticism and concentration to go up and make a play on the ball with a defensive back draped all over you is quite impressive.
Quarterback Geno Smith was up and down as he made a few nice throws, but the negatives seemed to outweigh those plays. He had a likely pick-six dropped by cornerback Bene’ Benwikere in the second quarter, and even the big touchdown throw to Davis was underthrown by Smith.
Rookie edge defender Uchenna Nwosu was able to generate multiple pressures against the Cardinals offense. Desmond King made some nice plays in coverage and almost gave rookie Josh Rosen his first interception, but was unable to hang on to the ball.
The Cardinals first team offense looked crisp especially with the return of running back David Johnson. Johnson only had two carries but was noticeably explosive in his return. Rookie running back Chase Edmonds had one of the better second effort touchdowns and two-yard carries you’ll see this preseason.
The loss of starting center A.Q. Shipley to injury has impacted the Cardinals offensive line depth significantly and that was evident on Saturday night. Rosen’s much-anticipated debut was marred by several low snaps and frequent pressure.
The Cardinals pass-rushers had themselves a field day against the Chargers offensive line. Highlighted by Cap Capi and his three sacks, they were relentless, knocking around all three Chargers quarterbacks. They were especially impactful late in the game on the Chargers’ final two drives. With the game in the balance, the pass rush was able to consistently get to the quarterback.
KEY TO THE GAME
Los Angeles: The Chargers had an opportunity to tie or win the game late, but their inability to protect the quarterback really cost them down the stretch. All three quarterbacks were affected by pressure all game long, and it seemed to stall the offense from ever getting in a good rhythm.
Arizona: Big plays in the fourth quarter on both offenses and defense were key for the Cardinals. A long pass from Chad Kanoff to Jalen Tolliver set up a 14-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Williams to give them the lead, and then a Cap Capi forced fumble on Chargers quarterback Geno Smith set up the field goal that made the game 24-17.