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The Setup
Cards are #32! (No, really, that's how USA Today ranked us). Chargers are 7 & 3. They've got a primo defense centered around Joey Bosa. Chargers were fighting for a Playoff and Super Bowl spot. Cardinals were playing for pride and individual survival (both of players and coaches). Chargers - led by a veteran QB (Phillip Rivers) had been around the block more than a few times. Cards were breaking in a talented but erratic rookie (Josh Rosen). The previous week, the Cardinals reached into their "Various Ways You Can Lose" manual and managed to put an "X" in just about every box. Chargers lost 23 - 22 to the Broncs. Sunday. Game to be be telecast (FOX) at 4:05 pm (East Coast).

Lede
Cards Rolled Over By Chargers 45 - 10


The Bottom Line:
Cards racked up 10 quick points and then took the rest of the day off.

Phillip Rivers had a totally off-the-charts outing, completing his first 25 passes. Logical question by fans after a blow-out like this one was whether or nor not the 2 & 8 Cardinals mailed it in:

“I don’t think those guys quit,” coach Steve Wilks said. “I’m not even going to stand up here and say those guys quit. Those guys finished. Do we have to play better? Of course we do.”

The Chargers, with Rivers dicing up the Cardinals’ defense, scored 28 points total in the second quarter, essentially salting the game away by halftime. The Cardinals couldn’t do anything to sway momentum, unable to stop the Chargers and unable to move the ball. In the second and third quarters, the Chargers held a 24-2 edge in first downs. The Cardinals gained a total of 19 yards on 16 offensive plays.

Rivers finished the game 28-of-29 for 259 yards and three touchdowns, and didn't play a down in the fourth quarter.

“He played a tremendous game,” Chandler Jones said. “He took his time, operating that offense. He was picking us apart with those little short passes, those dink passes, and it hurt us...and we missed some tackles on those short passes.”

Side Notes:

The Cardinals did bench Bené Benwikere in favor of newcomer David Amerson.

Because the score got sideways, David Johnson’s work was limited, finishing with 63 yards rushing on 17 carries and another two catches for 16 yards. After Fitzgerald’s touchdown, he was targeted just one other time, a five-yard screen pass on the Cardinals’ final offensive play of the game.

After 79 yards passing in the first quarter, Rosen finished 12-of-19 for 105 yards, throwing a really inopportune interception on the first play after the Cardinals fell behind the first time.

Game Log
Conversion to new League play-by-play/social media game log continues to be spotty. We'll do the best we can to give you some sort of chronological rundown of each game (warts and all).


1st Quarter
  • TD - L.Fitzgerald 25 yd. pass from J.Rosen (P.Dawson kick) (9-76, 4:40)- Cards 7 - Chargers 0
    Rosen took them on a crisp 76-yard opening drive, completing all four of his passes – the last 25 yards to Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown.
  • FG - P.Dawson 30 yd. Field Goal (8-32, 3:47) Cards 10 - Chargers 0
    The defense then stoned the Chargers (8-3) on three plays (including a sack chared by Jones and Nkemdiche). Christian Kirk broke off a 26-yard punt return, leading to a Phil Dawson field goal. The Cardinals looked good. Then the wheels came off.

  • 1st Quarter Score: Cards 10 - Chargers 0
    2nd Quarter
  • TD - M.Williams 9 yd. pass from P.Rivers (M.Badgley kick) (8-58, 5:10). Cards 10 - Chargers 7
    Rivers directed a touchdown drive. (Williams somehow wide open in the corner of the end zone).

    Then the Cardinals forced Rivers into a rare mistake -- a lost fumble on a sack by defensive tackle Rodney Gunter, giving the Cards the ball at the Los Angeles 35. But the offense went nowhere, and Dawson pulled a 46-yard field-goal try left.

    The Chargers, with Rivers dicing up the Cardinals’ defense, scored 28 points total in the second quarter, essentially salting the game away by halftime. The Cardinals couldn’t do anything to sway momentum, unable to stop the Chargers and unable to move the ball. In the second and third quarters, the Chargers held a 24-2 edge in first downs. The Cardinals gained a total of 19 yards on 16 offensive plays.

  • TD - M.Gordon 28 yd. run (M.Badgley kick) (5-64, 2:41) - Chargers 14 - Cards 10

    TD - M.Gordon 5 yd. run (M.Badgley kick) (4-31, 2:35). Chargers 21 - Cards 10

    TD - M.Williams 2 yd. pass from P.Rivers (M.Badgley kick) (10-80, 1:37). Chargers 28 - Cards 10

  • Halftme Score: Chargers 28 - Cards 10

3rd Quarter

TD - K.Allen 4 yd. pass from P.Rivers (M.Badgley kick) (11-77, 6:59). Chargers 35 - Cards 10

TD - A.Ekeler 2 yd. run (M.Badgley kick) (10-73, 6:04). Chargers 42 - Cards 10

  • Third Quarter Score: Chargers 42 - Cards 10
4th Quarter

FG - M.Badgley 31 yd. Field Goal (9-62, 4:58). Chargers 45 - Cards 10

Final Score: Chargers 45 - Cards 10

Notable Game Stats.

  • Total Net Yards: Chargers 414 - Cards 149

    Penalties: Cards 3 for 35-yds- Chargers 43 for 30-yds

    Time of Possession: Cards 24:42 - Chargers 35:18

    Passing: Rosen - 12/19 for 20, 105 yds, 1 TD, 1 Interception
    ..............: Rivers - 28/29 for 259 yds 3 TDs

    Rushing: Johnson 17 carries for 63 yds
    ..............: Gordon 10 carries for 61 yds abd 2 Tds .

    Receiving: Kirk 4 for 41 yds. Fitz - 2 for 30 yds and 1 TD
    ................: K Allen 7 for 72 yds and 1 TD

Bright Spots

  • Rosen's first 10 minutes

    Nkemdiche had arguably his best game as a Cardinal

  • Kirk continues to show steady progress

The Dark Side

  • The same weaknesses witnessed earlier in the season are still with us; specifically: Ball Carriers Bouncing Off Tacklers After Contact, Missed Assignments in the Secondary, Players Throughout the Roster Frequently Outmuscled, WR Lacking Separation

    I watched a lot of football during the long weekend - high school, college and pro. What I saw in the good teams' levels of play (and lacking in the Cardinals) was pure physical domination (i.e. Tacklers Stoning Ball Carriers, Blockers Putting Tacklers on Roller Skates in the Run Game, Ball Carriers Outrunning Defenders/Breaking Tackles, Receivers Outrunning DB's, QB Consistently Hitting His Man).

    For the first time this season, I saw PP21 miss tackles/take himself out of plays.

    Cardinal secondary as a whole (most notably the safeties and #2 corner) wasn't up to the task.

Last Word:
I don't accept the excuse ("that Rivers had a "once-in-a-career" day) - Play after play after play, it's our athletes vs. their athletes and our athletes should at least win their share of the battles. Quitting? That charge is pretty unfair. Strugging? Desperate? (Try playing at your highest level down 35 points late in the game). Is it fair to pin all the blame on steve Keim or Coach Wilks and their staffs? Probably not, but I've always believed that "bad luck" should be treated the same as bad managing or bad coaching. (Seldom if ever do you find "unlucky" teams turning things around and winding up in the Super Bowl. Fair or unfair - I think Michael B should take a long hard look at what he's got and then pull out the great big broom.

 
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012