Chargers stand out in finale

Some will say well it was just a preseason game. Others will say it was against a young team that went 0-4 in the preseason for the first time in 30 years. The San Diego Chargers looked sharp in their 31-15 victory over the 49ers. The Bolts will try to build on several key moments as they enter the regular season.

Brees stronger than winds of 3-com

Drew Brees may have won the starting job at quarterback on Thursday night. Coming into the game it was undetermined who would start on opening day in Houston.

Brees appeared in control of the offense leading the team to two scoring drives. Brees was perfect on the night completing all five passes he threw including a 35-yard touchdown pass to Eric Parker. Brees threw a perfect pass right over Parker's shoulder to put the Chargers up 14-6.

"Eric made a great play," Brees said of the touchdown reception. "I thought everybody executed to perfection."

Philip Rivers entered the game in the second quarter but looked like a rookie quarterback in his second game. Rivers was flagged for intentional grounding and later threw an interception.

"The thing that has been giving us the problem ... we turned the ball over three times," Schottenheimer said.

The rookie out of North Carolina State did look stronger in the second half, throwing a touchdown strike to a diving Kevin Dyson putting the Chargers on top 31-15. Rivers finished the game 13-of-16 for 85 yards with one interception and one touchdown.

"What he needs to do is play," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "His understanding of the game is a big plus for him. We needed to get him the opportunity to get a lot of snaps because of all the time that he missed and I think he gave a very solid account of himself."

The coaches will now decide who will be behind center for opening day next week in Houston.

"We will announce it Sunday or Monday," Coach Schottenheimer said.

Strong Finish

Finishing a team off has been a problem for the Chargers in recent history. Coach Marty Schottenheimer could be heard from the stands as he told his offensive line to "finish them off".

That's exactly what the entire Chargers team did. Instead of settling for a 24-15 lead the Chargers found the end zone in the fourth quarter. The Bolts special teams forced Arnez Battle to fumble and recovered the ball at the San Francisco 23-yard line. The offense made sure they finished off the 49ers, putting together a five play scoring drive ending with a four yard pass from Rivers to Dyson.

"We took the ball away on defense," Schottenheimer grinned.

The effort didn't stop there as the game ended with a goalline stand by the Chargers defense, their second of the game. A strong statement was made on both sides of the ball.

"I am continually impressed even in the shadow of our goal post we end up finding a way in a lot of situations to keep them from getting in," Schottenheimer said.

Running with purpose

The Chargers closed out their preseason with a strong win over the San Francisco 49ers. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage as the Bolts racked up nearly 200 yards on the ground.

"The O-line came out with a purpose," rookie running back Michael Turner said of the Herculean effort. "They wanted to prove – they have been getting a lot of slack this offseason on not being that good – and they went out there and moved people around."

Turner was most impressive rushing for 116 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Turner who is deceptively fast showed off some moves as he powered through the 49ers defense. With this kind of running back on the bench, LaDainian Tomlinson may get a few more breathers during the regular season.

"That was the big question about me in the draft, was my competition strong enough," Turner said. "Will my style of play do well in the NFL? I tried to prove that tonight."

Turner, though, realizes his main attribute will be playing special teams when the regular season comes along.

"I have to do that," Turner said. "That is something I want to do. I want to help this team anyway I can. If I have to run down there and bust a wedge open, I will do that."

Jesse Chatman also had a strong game, running for 65 yards on eight carries. Chatman broke a 32-yard run on the Chargers opening drive but fumbled as he was tackled. It didn't seem to matter who was running behind whom, the running game looked very solid as the Chargers prepare for the regular season.


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