Chargers drop preseason finale
By Christopher Smith, Chargers.com
The Chargers flashed depth at receiver and quarterback, moving the ball against the 49ers, but an early deficit held up in a 20-17 win for San Francisco.
SAN DIEGO – Minutes after the clock ran out Thursday, Head Coach Norv Turner implored his team to start getting ready for the season-opener against Minnesota.
First the Chargers finished an inconsequential game against the 49ers, allowing several young players to showcase their ability while many of San Diego’s regulars spent much of the night as spectators.
The Bolts flexed their depth on offense but couldn’t punch the ball in the end zone. A first-quarter fumble also proved costly as San Francisco constructed a two-touchdown advantage, enough to plod to a 20-17 win over San Diego in the preseason finale at Qualcomm Stadium.
Ryan Mathews provided a scintillating highlight for the Chargers, opening the second quarter with a 56-yard touchdown run off right tackle.
The rest of the game proved fairly even competition, save for a Chargers fumble that gave the 49ers the ball at San Diego’s 22. Anthony Dixon scored his second one-yard touchdown run of the game, providing the 49ers an early 14-0 cushion they never relinquished.
“Obviously you can’t win in this league if you turn the ball over. I’m disappointed that we had the two turnovers,” Turner said. “I liked getting Ryan going. It was good to see him break the long run.”
Marcus Gilchrist did his best to initiate a Chargers comeback, intercepting one pass and creating a second pick by tipping another to Dante Hughes. San Diego reached San Francisco territory on five consecutive drives but managed just a 23-yard Nate Kaeding field goal after Mathews’ touchdown run.
San Francisco got a 26-yard David Akers field goal on its next drive.
The Chargers’ backup receivers mustered chunks of yardage in the second half, helping rookie Scott Tolzien complete 16-of-23 passes for 226 yards and a nine-yard touchdown to SeyiAjirotutu.
Laurent Robinson (120 yards), Ajirotutu (41 yards), Bryan Walters (25 yards) and Richard Goodman (16 yards) all were factors against San Francisco. The Chargers outgained the 49ers in total yards, 339 yards to 284.
San Diego has 10 days before its regular-season opener and should know which players will suit up for the Vikings in about 48 hours.
“We have to cut to 53 on Saturday,” Turner said. “We have some work to do in terms of our meetings. We have to make some decisions that will be difficult.”
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