Fri, Sep 18, 2015

Chargers Fall to 49ers, 14-12, in Preseason Finale

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DL Damion Square. Photo by Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports.

As if the Cromartie family hadn't done enough to the Chargers already.

Marcus Cromartie, a former Charger and cousin of 2006 first-round pick Antonio Cromartie, picked off Brad Sorensen with a minute remaining to seal San Francisco's 14-12 win over San Diego on Thursday at Levi's Stadium.

Cromartie's interception ended a late San Diego rally that was ignited by rookie WR Tyrell Williams. The Western Oregon product caught a short pass from Sorensen with just over nine minutes remaining and raced 63 yards for a touchdown that cut the home team's lead to 14-12. Sorensen was sacked on the two-point conversion attempt.

Williams led the Chargers with four receptions for 81 yards as he made a final push for the No. 6 receiver position. He is battling with Javontee Herndon (four catches for 40 yards) and Austin Pettis (one catch for 19 yards).

Williams' touchdown was San Diego's only offensive score of the game. The visiting team's other points came on defense, as CB Richard Crawford intercepted San Francisco QB Dylan Thompson and returned the ball 29 yards for a pick-six. Crawford also had a sack in the first quarter as he competes in his own positional battle for a spot in the the secondary rotation.

Cordarro Law provided the pressure on Thompson on the pick-six.

Not to Brag, But ...

Crawford's big game brings to mind the roster projections we released nearly three months ago. The two biggest sleepers we had on our final 53 were Crawford and undrafted rookie LB Nick Dzubnar. Well, Dzubnar led the team in tackles against the Cardinals and Seahawks; and he chipped in seven more tackles (including one for a loss) against the 49ers. Crawford clearly did his thing, as well. Hopefully calling those two shots makes you forgive us for putting Damion Square (one tackle) ahead of rookie sixth-round pick Darius Philon.

Big-Play Bruce

San Francisco WR Bruce Ellington showed no ill effects from his recent hamstring injury, racing 70 yards for a touchdown on the game's third play from scrimmage. The 49ers went for two (because nobody wants a tie in these things) and converted with a pass to Quinton Patton. Ellington almost had another big play later in the game, but his 59-yard punt return was called back by a penalty.

It helps that Ellington was catching passes from Thompson, who was his quarterback at South Carolina.

"That chemistry is still there, as you could see tonight," Ellington said after the game.

Ellington beat Crawford on the long score, so maybe we shouldn't write Crawford's name on the depth chart in ink just yet.

Lightning Quicks

--FS Adrian Phillips (who also made the final 53 in the aforementioned projections) led the team with eight total tackles. And speaking of the team's safety position, Jahleel Addae took the night off with the rest of the starters, so go ahead and pencil him into the starting lineup for Week 1 ahead of Jimmy Wilson.

--Veterans Donald Brown and John Phillips combined to catch 10 passes, although they gained just 59 yards between them.

--Jarryd Hayne, the former Australian rugby star competing for a roster spot in San Francisco, led the 49ers with 10 carries for 58 yards, including one incredibly impressive catch-and-run where he bulldozed a San Diego defensive back at the end of the play.


What are your thoughts on the competition at strong safety? Discuss in our message boards!


Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for Scout.com and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Footballinsiders.com and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.

Tags: 
Adrian Phillips, Austin Pettis, Brad Sorensen, Bruce Ellington, Cordarro Law, Damion Square, Donald Brown, Dylan Thompson, Jahleel Addae, Jarryd Hayne, Javontee Herndon, Jimmy Wilson, John Phillips, Richard Crawford, Tyrell Williams
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