Cardale Jones quarterbacked the Los Angeles Chargers to their most productive first half of a preseason game since 2009 Thursday evening in a 27-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Santa Clara.
Jones completed 10 of 16 passes for 149 yards and ran twice for 26 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown two minutes, 50 seconds before halftime, as the Chargers outgained San Francisco, 269 yards to 152.
The 269 yards were the most by the Chargers in a first half of a preseason game since Aug. 29, 2009, when they had 281 against Atlanta in the third game of the preseason.
Undrafted rookie Derrick Gore ran 11 yards for the winning touchdown with one minute, 17 seconds to play as the Chargers (1-3) avoided their first winless preseason since 1999 when they were 0-5.
In a game where Chargers fullback Derek Watt and 49ers defensive tackle Sheldon Day were the only projected regular-season starters to play, the Chargers scored on each of their first four possessions, taking a 6-0 lead on Michael Badgley’s 42- and 28-yard field goals on their first two possessions.
Detrez Newsome ran 1 yard for a touchdown on the Chargers third possession, one play and one penalty after he ran for 15 yards. Jones completed two of three passes for 45 yards and scrambled for 11 yards on the 11-play, 82-yard drive.
Jones ran two yards for a touchdown on the Chargers next possession after completing four of five passes for 49 yards before a crowd at Levi’s Stadium announced at 62,496 for the preseason finale for both teams.
Rookie Easton Stick, who is competing with Jones to be the Chargers third quarterback behind Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor, completed three of six passes for 22 yards with two interceptions in the second half.
NFL teams must reduce their rosters to the 53-player regular-season limit by 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Chargers outgained San Francisco, 343-285, and led 21-20 in first downs, including a 16-9 advantage in the first half, and 30:28-29:32 in time of possession, including a 21:13-8:47 lead in the first half.
The Chargers converted six of 11 third downs, 55%. The 49ers converted five of 12 third downs, 42%, and one of three fourth downs.
C.J. Beathard completed six of nine passes for 58 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown to Kendrick Bourne 53 seconds before halftime, for the 49ers (3-1), which also got a 41-yard touchdown run from Jeff Wilson Jr. in the first quarter.
San Francisco’s Robbie Gould kicked a 22-yard field goal for the third quarter’s only points.
Rookie Austin Walter ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter to give the 49ers a 24-20 lead, seven plays after linebacker Mark Nzeocha intercepted a pass by Stick at the Chargers 29-yard line.
Nick Mullens replaced Beathard at quarterback for San Francisco at the start of the second half, completing one of three passes for 13 yards on his only series.
Rookie Wilton Speight from UCLA was the 49ers final quarterback, completing six of 13 passes for 51 yards with two interceptions.
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