SAN DIEGO (AP) — In just more than one week, the guys who were on the sidelines Thursday night will be on the field, and the ones who were on the field will be on the sidelines or unemployed.
In a scheduling rarity, the San Diego Chargers beat the Arizona Cardinals 12-9. They’ll play again at Glendale on Sept. 8 in the second half of a Monday Night Football doubleheader.
Both teams rested their starters, leaving backups to compete for roster spots.
Trips inside the 20-yard line were rare and neither team scored a touchdown, leaving the field goal kickers to fight it out. The Chargers did get to the Arizona 6 in the closing minutes, but third-string quarterback Brad Sorensen took a knee on three straight snaps.
Nick Novak was good from 35, 39, 55 and 37 yards.
Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro kicked field goals of 42, 38 and 35 yards.
Leading 9-3, the Chargers went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2 with 2 seconds left in the first half, but Kellen Clemens’ pass to Dontrelle Inman was intercepted by Jimmy Legree, who returned it 68 yards before being dragged down on a horse-collar tackle by Inman.
That gave Arizona the ball at the San Diego 20 and Catanzaro kicked a 38-yarder to pull within three.
San Diego’s Torrence Allen fumbled the second half kickoff and Arizona’s Jalen Parmale recovered, setting up Catanzaro’s tying 35-yard field goal.
Chargers rookie Tevin Reese had a rough game with several drops. He also fumbled in the third quarter, but center Khalil Wilkes recovered and Novak kicked a go-ahead, 37-yard field goal on the next play.
Arizona rookie quarterback Logan Thomas played the whole game. He completed 9 of 21 passes for 73 yards. He was intercepted by rookie Alden Darby in the closing minutes, giving the Chargers the ball on the Arizona 17.
Clemens, San Diego’s backup quarterback, was 14 of 25 for 158 yards.
San Diego rookie Marion Grice, a sixth-round draft pick competing for the fourth running spot, gained 79 yards on 17 carries. Branden Oliver, an undrafted rookie, had 71 yards on 16 carries.
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