Bolts Rally for Game One Win

Former CFL star Dave Dickenson leads the Chargers on a late come from behind rally to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-24 in their first preseason game of 2001.

For San Diego Charger fans, Saturday night proved to be a breath of fresh air.

New direction, new attitude and more importantly, new results.

In four short quarters the San Diego Chargers accomplished what took them an entire season to accomplish last year: they actually won a football game.

Led by a new-look offense featuring Doug Flutie, the Chargers scored touchdowns on the first two possessions, a feat unheard of in the Ryan Leaf, Jim Harbaugh era, then made a dramatic last minute comeback to overturn the San Francisco 49ers 25-24.

Sure, it was only preseason, and considering last year's 4-0 preseason mark, this may not seem like such a big deal.

But the truth is, it is a big deal.

This is not last year, and this is certainly not last year's team. This is the John Butler regime, deeply intent on erasing the embarrassment of a league worst 1-15 record.

Saturday night, step one proved successful.

Starting quarterback Doug Flutie led the Chargers to touchdowns on his only two possessions. The first drive covering 83-yards before wide receiver Curtis Conway snagged a 7-yard toss for the game's opening score.

The second drive covered 72-yards and was capped off as running back Ronney Jenkins ran the final 29-yards for the score. That play gave the Chargers their longest touchdown run since 1998.

Maybe things really are starting to look up.

"It felt great," Flutie told reporters. "I was very comfortable. Norv did a great job play calling. I was just trying to execute plays, and make my reads."

Convinced that Flutie does in fact know how to make his reads, the Chargers coaching staff replaced the former CFL star after just two series, with another CFL veteran, Dave Dickenson.

Dickenson, who quarterbacked the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League during the 1999-2000 season, found his debut into the NFL a little rougher than expected, producing only one first down and six net yards of total offense in the second quarter.

His second half performance however, was a completely different story.

Dickenson led the Chargers on the game-winning 67-yard touchdown drive in the final four minutes, connecting on fourth and nineteen to Pat Batteaux for a 23-yard gain. Dickenson then found DeRonnie Pitts for his first NFL touchdown, from three yards out.

And with the game on the line, Dickinson once again found Batteaux, converting the two-point conversion for the first Charger victory of the 2001 preseason.

"I'm glad I at least had a good experience in my first game, " said Dickenson. "I don't think I did anything special. I just hung in there and got better and made a couple of plays at the end."

The former CFL's Most Outstanding Player finished the game with an impressive 17-of-27 passing for 192 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions.

With game one under their belts, the Chargers head to Miami to both work out and face the Dolphins over the next week.

The team will train and practice with Miami throughout this week while preparing for game two this Saturday night at Pro Player Stadium.

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