The unveiling of US Bank Stadium in Minnesota, was nationally televised on FOX August 28 2016
A bit of an irony due to the away boys the (Chargers), also seeking a new home back in San Diego. If this were a street fight the number ones were lit. Minnesota had its way between the 20’s early on.
The Chargers bend don’t break defense held Minnesota to two field goals after being exposed on Mebane & Bosa drive. The truth is Corey Liuget was without Brandon Mebane of course and still…no Bosa. Second-year defensive end Darius Philon played on the line as well. It felt as if defensively the guys were waiting instead of attacking. As for offense, it wasn’t any better. On their opening drive Rivers first pass was intercepted after it bounced off of Keenan Allen, into the awaiting arms of Minnesota safety Harrison Smith.
As I mentioned in my preview piece, Bridgewater is young and often times too cautious. Corey Liuget began to contain as well as attack. Liuget had a potential touchdown saving sack in the first half. The defense stiffened on consecutive drives. The score still 6-0.
On the Chargers next drive…we saw glimpses. Rivers found Travis Benjamin on a screen play for 14 yds. Then Rivers recognizing a coverage, audibles and calls for a draw to Gordon. The result a 39 yard touchdown gallop. Gordon’s second touchdown this preseason. In what we call the “Dress Rehearsal ” often times there’s a bad side. Joe Barksdale goes down causing Chargers fans immediate panic. Already without D.J. Fluker, another offensive line injury to Joe Barksdale would be huge. Apparently we now know he’s supposed to be just fine. If only that were the end of it.
Running back Branden Oliver suffered an Achilles injury and is out the remainder of the year. A fan favorite who was working himself back into a prominent role. The three headed monster is no more at running back. While Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon can still be very effective, the loss of Oliver is big. It’s this loss that hurts the most. Many are calling for the end of exhibition games. It has been a tough start for the Chargers already injury-wise. Godspeed Mr. Oliver.
Up 7-6 Chargers safety Dexter McCoil the 6’4 former CFL standout, made a great play. Dwight Lowery, held up Rudolph while McCoil stripped the ball loose and caused a turnover. The ball was recovered by Jason Verrett. The Chargers took a 10-7 lead, before Kyle Rudolph exacting revenge for a 27 yard touchdown. Minnesota went for two but failed on the conversion. It was 12-10 Vikings and then most of the 3rd and 4th team players began play.
Kellen Clemens moves well in the pocket and should assume the backup quarterback job. Although Mike Bercovici struggled mightily he seems likely to stick with the team as a possible third string quarterback. Mike Bercovici went 4-12, “yikes” that is not productive. He threw for 67 yards and two interceptions. His two interceptions in the fourth quarter contributed to the 23-10 final.
Not to be forgotten with some flashes of his own fellow safety Adrian Phillips. His stat line will only show three tackles, but he looks like a find. I can’t ignore McCoil however, he lead the Chargers with 11 solo tackles. Preseason Week 4 is boring to most, but to crazy people like me..I love it. Week 4 expect to see lots of bubble & fringe players and possibly a series from various starters on both sides….maybe?