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Chargers' defense shines in emphatic win over Cardinals

SAN DIEGO -- After giving up nearly 300 rushing yard last week, the San Diego Chargers got a little bit of redemption Friday night in a 19-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium.

San Diego’s first-team defense picked off two passes, including a 25-yard interception return for a score by Brandon Flowers, and held the Cardinals to just three first downs on five possessions to start the game.

Safety Jahleel Addae also hauled in his first interception as a pro, returning it 61 yards and setting up a 20-yard Josh Lambo field goal.

The Chargers held the Cardinals to 63 rushing yards.

“The defense started fast and that’s what we wanted to do,” Flowers said. “At times teams have walked the ball on us the first drive, and we just wanted to end all of that -- get that taste out of our mouth. I think we did a good job of coming back home, playing in front of crowd and starting out fast today.”

It’s the 22nd time the Chargers have met Arizona in a preseason game, with San Diego holding a 13-9 edge in the series.

QB depth chart: Philip Rivers is not injured but did not play. Kellen Clemens started in his place and completed 11 of 20 passes for 134 yards, with no interceptions. Clemens was sacked once, finishing with a 75.8 passer rating. Undrafted rookie Mike Bercovici played ahead of Zach Mettenberger, finishing 9 of 13 for 108 yards. Mettenberger was a healthy scratch. Although the Chargers moved the ball well between the 20-yard lines, they finished without an offensive touchdown.

Maybe that player could start: Second-year pro Tyrell Williams was impressive in his first extensive action this preseason, finishing with four catches for 47 yards on six targets, including a long of 17 yards. Williams will be used as San Diego’s third receiver but has the look of a starter.

Who got hurt? WR Dontrelle Inman had to leave after getting pancaked by linebacker Deone Bucannon on a short pass across the middle from Clemens. The force of the blow sent the receiver's helmet flying. Inman was evaluated in the locker room and did not have a concussion. However, he did not return to the game. TE Jeff Cumberland suffered an Achilles injury in the second quarter and did not return. Cumberland was taken from the sideline on a cart for evaluation. Rookie offensive lineman Donavon Clark suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and had to be taken off of the field on a cart.

Along with Rivers, TE Antonio Gates, RB Kenneth Farrow, CB Greg Ducre, LB Tyler Marcordes, TE Asante Cleveland, LB Chris Landrum, LB Jatavis Brown, WR Javontee Herndon and DT Zamir Carlis also did not play for the Chargers.

A surprise player who impressed: Dom Williams, an undrafted rookie receiver out of Washington State, finishing with four receptions for 55 yards on six targets in the second half. Williams also has played well during training camp, and could be a practice squad candidate.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Chargers looked ...: Dominant on defense. San Diego played aggressively and rallied to the football. On offense, the Chargers moved the ball in spurts but could not put it in the end zone, settling for two Josh Lambo field goals in the first half.

One reason to be concerned: In his first action with the Chargers, receiver Travis Benjamin had trouble getting going, finishing with one catch for 11 yards. Brought in to add some juice to the return game, Benjamin totaled just 7 yards on two punt returns.

Attaochu bounces back: After playing 31 plays with no stats last week, outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu finished with four tackles and a sack.