SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Once the starters were gone, the Arizona
Cardinals turned an exhibition stinker into an exciting game.
"At halftime, I challenged them to make it a football game,"
Arizona coach Dave McGinnis said.
The Cardinals (2-0) came within 2:22 of their second straight
shutout. They beat the Dallas Cowboys 13-0 a week earlier.
"We're 2-0," McGinnis said. "That's what you try to do -- win
games and develop a team."
Emmitt Smith suited up but didn't play, spending the game on the
Cardinals' sideline wearing a baseball cap and talking to
LaDainian Tomlinson played two days after taking himself out of
practice at the Chargers' hot and humid training camp in Carson, an
industrial suburb of Los Angeles. He carried twice for 14 yards and
caught one pass for 6 yards.
It's taken the Chargers (0-2) until the fourth quarter to find
the end zone in their first two exhibitions. Fourth-stringer Cleo
Lemon threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to rookie free agent Grant
Mattos with 2:22 left.
With the score tied at 3, Lucas, a fifth-year safety, picked off
third-stringer Seth Burford and ran it back untouched with 8:27
left in the third quarter.
The Chargers ran a double slant and Lucas stayed on the outside
"He threw it right in my chest," Lucas said. "That was
definitely the spark we needed."
Said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer: "When you throw them
a ball for an uncontested touchdown, it always makes it tough to
Chargers rookie Mike Scifres had a 50-yard punt that was downed
at the Arizona 2, but on the first play of the Cardinals drive,
Anderson broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and raced 82 yards
before being caught from behind by rookie Drayton Florence.
Bill Gramatica capped the drive with a 31-yard field goal for a
13-3 lead with 4:43 left in the third. Gramatica kicked a 22-yarder
early in the fourth quarter.
Burford was sacked five times in the third quarter. Quentin
Harris intercepted Lemon's pass at the Arizona 1 late in the fourth
The Chargers didn't have much trouble moving the ball in the
first half. They just couldn't score touchdowns.
"We moved the ball effectively but you don't get any medals for
yards gained," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "We've got to
find a way to finish those drives."
After Eric Parker's 93-yard punt return for a touchdown was
nullified by a holding penalty against Quentin Jammer, the Chargers
started the drive on their 4. Drew Brees led them on a 16-play
drive that stalled at the Arizona 12, and Steve Christie kicked a
30-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
"We had a lot of yards. We just need the points," Brees said.
"It was just a little taste of what everybody is expecting from
us," Tomlinson said of the long drive. "It felt like we were
putting it together, when we just marched right down the field."
The Cardinals came right back and tied it on Tim Duncan's
39-yard field goal.
Chargers free safety Kwamie Lassiter got in a shot against his
old team, but it cost him a 15-yard personal foul in the second
quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Steve Bush, who
left with a concussion.
Lassiter, bitter that the Cardinals didn't want to keep him
after eight seasons, signed with the Chargers as a free agent.
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