Chargers vs. Cardinals: Who’s the player of the game?

Christian Petersen

With so much bad news stemming from the 24-7 loss to the Chargers, let’s focus on some of the positives.

The worst case scenario played out for Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians Saturday night during the 24-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers. The injury bug felt more like an injury Mack truck, as first-round pick Jonathan Cooper ended up with a broken leg (full coverage here). His status for the season is still unknown.

But a handful of players performed notably. Here are your candidates for ROTB player of the game.

Jasper Brinkley, ILB

Inside linebacker Jasper Brinkley led all defenders with nine tackles. He also defended a pass and picked off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Being everywhere when needed is good to see from the linebacker. The only major fault in Brinkley's game Saturday was the punt block he allowed in the first quarter.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB

Building off his Cardinals debut last week, when he carried seven times for 32 yards (4.6 YPC), Mendenhall notched six carries for 47 yards (7.8 YPC) Saturday against the Chargers. He is running strong and looks ready to get the regular season going. Mendenhall did leave the game early with knee discomfort, however.

Jamell Fleming, CB

Second-year cornerback Jamell Fleming stated his case for a roster spot Saturday night by making three tackles and defending two passes. His coverage was outstanding, and his physicality stood out when he was on the field.

Michael Floyd, WR

Two receptions for 21 yards should never earn player-of-the-game honors, but Michael Floyd's 16-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Carson Palmer was a thing of beauty. The pass was perfect -- Palmer hitting Floyd at the back of the end zone. But Floyd's strong hands and sideline-awareness were on display, as he had to wrestle the ball from corner Greg Gatson while tapping his feet down in bounds before falling out of bounds.

Sam Acho, OLB

He made only one tackle, but Sam Acho was in the backfield a lot Saturday night. Acho earned two hits of the quarterback and sacked San Diego backup QB Charlie Whitehurst in the third quarter. His lone tackle was for a loss, if that helps.

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