Chargers Stomp 49ers in Preseason Finale

The San Diego Chargers jumped out to a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into Friday's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers before coasting to a 26-7 victory. The win capped a 2-2 preseason for the Chargers and gives the team added confidence heading into the Season Opener.

The Chargers dominated the San Francisco 49ers throughout Friday's preseason finale. San Diego held more than a 20-minute edge in time of possession (40:14 to 19:46) and limited San Francisco to just 10 first downs, only two in the second half.

San Diego's power running game set the tone for Friday's affair. Gartrell Johnson ran 20 times for 85 yards; his competition, Michael Bennett, carried the ball eight times for 30 yards; and undrafted rookie Kestahn Moore logged his first preseason carries with 10 rushes for 28 yards.

The passing attack was in fine hands in the first half as Billy Volek continued his strong preseason showing. Volek completed better than 61 percent of his passes and hit Kassim Osgood for the game's opening points with a high-arching 39-yard strike. It marked the second consecutive week the Chargers have scored on the game's opening possession, something the team never did last season.

In the second half, Charlie Whitehurst led the offense with an efficient 10-for-14 outing, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kory Sperry that rounded out the night's scoring. However, Whitehurst lost one fumble and nearly gave away another one, reaffirming concerns about his ability to protect the football.


TE Kory Sperry
Stephen Dunn/Getty
Nate Kaeding contributed to the lopsided final with four field goals, including kicks of 51 and 47 yards.

The only thing not to like for Chargers fans was a neck injury sustained by 'backer Kevin Burnett in the first quarter. Burnett's head rammed the thigh of Vernon Davis, sending Burnett down in a heap. He was diagnosed with a stinger, which could jeopardize his availability for the Season Opener.

Fortunately for the Chargers, the team has excellent depth at linebacker, something that was on full display Friday. Shaun Phillips and Antwan Applewhite both picked up sacks, while Shawne Merriman and Larry English made life miserable for 49ers QBs Shaun Hill and Nate Davis, respectively.

The next step for the Chargers is to trim the roster from 75 to 53 players, which must be announced by 3 p.m. (PT) on Saturday. After that, the team will turn its full attention to preparing for the start of the regular season against the other Bay Area team, the Oakland Raiders, on Monday, Sept. 14.



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