San Diego, CA- The San Diego Chargers for the second straight season blew a double digit 4th Quarter lead in the season opener on Monday Night Football and fell to the Arizona Cardinals 18-17.
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Phillip Rivers and the Chargers offense struggled to begin the game, as they were unable to pass midfield and were held scoreless in the 1st quarter. The Cardinals had the opportunity to take the lead to end the 1st quarter, as Carson Palmer connected with Michael Floyd on a 63-yard pass into Chargers territory. Marcus Gilchrist would prevent the Cardinals from scoring by stripping Andre Ellington to end the Cardinals drive. It was originally ruled that the Cardinals recovered the fumble, but after a challenge by Mike McCoy it was ruled that Chargers middle-linebacker Donald Butler had instead recovered the fumble.
Palmer and the Cardinals once again drove the ball into Chargers territory to begin the 2nd quarter, but the rookie Jason Verrett and the Chargers would keep the Cardinals out of the endzone and limit the damage to a 3-0 Cardinals lead. Rookie Jerry Attaochu would make his presence felt on the Cardinals next drive with a blocked punt to give the Chargers struggling offense the ball at the Cardinals 17-yard line. Unfortunately the Chargers were unable to take advantage of the blocked punt and had to settle for a Nick Novak 36-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3.
The Chargers had the opportunity to take the lead to end the half, as they drove the the ball into Arizona territory. Unfortunatly Novak wouldn’t get the opportunity to give the Chargers the lead, as miss-communication between Rivers and Royal lead to an interception by Jerraud Powers that gave the Cardinals the ball at midfield with 16 seconds left.
Chandler Catanzaro would kick a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give the Cardinals a 6-3 lead at the half.
The Chargers received the ball to start the second half and Rivers and Malcom Floyd would drive the ball down the field into Cardinals territory. Rivers would finish off the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Malcom Floyd to give the Chargers a 10-6 lead. Attaochu continued to make his presence felt on the Cardinals next drive, as he strip-sacked Carson Palmer to give the Chargers the ball at the Cardinals 29-yard line. Mathews would make the Cardinals pay with a 20-yard touchdown run to extend the Chargers lead to 17-6.
The Cardinals would rally back to begin the 4th quarter, as Palmer would connect with Stepfan Taylor to cut the Chargers lead to 17-12.
Rivers would continue to drive the ball down the field into Cardinals territory on their next drive and were about to extend their lead….when Rivers fumbled the snap on 3rd down and knocked the team out of field goal range. This would come back to haunt the Chargers, as the Cardinals would pick apart the Chargers secondary and retake the lead on a 13-yard touchdown from Palmer to John Brown to give the Cardinals an 18-17 lead.
The Chargers would be unable to rally back as they fell to the Cardinals 18-17.