Chargers Drop Preseason Finale 27-10 to Saints

The Chargers fell to the Saints 27-10 in their last preseason game.

The Chargers dropped their third and final preseason contest, falling to the Saints 27-10 at the Caesars Superdome Friday night.

The Chargers primarily played their reserves, putting their second and third-string players into action against the Saints, who trotted out many of their starters throughout the first quarter before brining in the backups.

With the Saints’ first-team offense on the field, the Chargers had little to no answers for stopping the trio of Jameis Winston, Mark Ingram and Jarvis Landry. The Saints scored a touchdown on their first two drives – one led by Winston and the other by Andy Dalton.

After falling to an early two-score deficit, the Chargers eventually got things clicking. On the second offensive series, Chase Daniel hit Jalen Guyton for a 38-yard gain, later followed by Joshua Kelley hurdling Saints safety Marcus Maye for a first down on a third-and-14, before ending the drive with a Larry Rountree goal-line touchdown run.

“If you go back to my archives at UCLA, in college, I did it quite a bit,” Kelley said of his hurdle in the first half. “I had a lot of practice at it, that’s why it kind of seemed a little bit natural. I tried to do my best. Shoutout to the offensive line; if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have gotten there.”

Kelley averaged 6.7 yards per attempt across six carries, including a long of 15 yards. His added strength he put on this offseason was evident, running with a profound purpose, fighting for extra yards.

“I thought that Josh gave us a spark tonight,” head coach Brandon Staley said of Kelley after the game. “I thought that he created some things for us; that draw was a big one. … I thought that he gave us some energy.”

Daniel handled the quarterback duties for the first two quarters before Easton Stick came in for the second half. Daniel led two scoring drives – the touchdown run by Rountree, and followed up on the next series by tacking on three more points after a Tre’ McKitty one-handed grab across the middle of the field moved them into field goal range on third and long.

Kicker Dustin Hopkins converted the field goal attempt from 51 yards out with under two minutes left until halftime.

The Chargers didn’t score in the second half, while the Saints stretched their lead by 10 points in the final two quarters. Stick was nine of 17 through the air for 74 yards.

On defense, the Chargers were led by Cole Christiansen. The second-year linebacker recorded nine tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.

“I think there is a lot to be decided here, especially at the back-half of our team,” Staley said. “We have to make sure that we take a good, hard look at it. Then, we have to take a look at the rest of the NFL. That’s what we’re going to try and do, try to put our best group together. 

“Then, you also know that it’s never over. It’s a long season. But I like this football team. I think that we’re a lot better football team than we were at the beginning of training camp. Now, we’re ready for what’s next.”

The Chargers roster currently sits at 80 players. By Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. PT, the team must cutdown their roster to 53 players. Practice squad signees will follow once players pass through waivers.

With the preseason slate wrapped up, the Chargers will shift their focus to the Week 1 season opener in 16 days when the Las Vegas Raiders come to SoFi Stadium on Sept. 11.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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