Carson, Calif. - The Los Angeles Chargers turned a tipped-ball interception into a 98-yard scoring drive for the first touchdown and then expanded that to a 17-3 halftime lead over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The Chargers broke open the game on an 81-yard punt return by Troymaine Pope with three seconds left in the half.
In the second preseason game for both, each team struggled offensively, with penalties and with staying up-right on the field,
Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who got the start over a resting Drew Brees, was picked off at the 2-yard line when the ball went through the hands of running back Dwayne Washington. Los Angeles converted a couple of key first downs, including one on a questionable penalty against cornerback Ken Crawley, on its way to a 24-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Cardale Jones to Andre Patton with 5:32 left in the half.
The Saints had excellent field position for most of the half but managed ust a 33-yard yard Wil Lutz field goal. Those points were set up by an interception from Saints linebacker A.J. Klein.
Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson was a force in the first half, forcing three holding penalties on the Chargers.
Bridgewater had a tough half, missing a couple of open receivers and nearly having two other passes intercepted. Reserve Tayson Hill played the final possession of the half.
In addition to Brees, star defensive end Cameron Jordan, star receiver Michael Thomas and left tackle Terron Armstead did not play. Running back Alvin Kamara carried four times for 15 yards. The Chargers didn't play star quarterback Philip Rivers and several other starters.
Players from both teams struggled to stay on their feet as the field to be beat up from the MLS it hosted Saturday night.
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