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Cardinals vs. Chargers results: What we learned in 22-19 loss

Is a preseason loss really a loss?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Arizona Cardinals lost on Saturday night, falling 22-19 to the San Diego Chargers on a 47-yard as time expired by Josh Lambo. But since these games are only exhibitions, we can go home and not worry about the outcome. Instead, we can learn some things.

Here are some things we can take away from the game:

The starters are good

The defense was again good, although they were dominant against a Chargers offense without Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. In the three series they were on the field, they gave up one first down -- San Diego's first offense play. Then it was three plays and a punt, followed up by two three-and-outs.

On offense, they got a touchdown. They also had some pass protection issues. But you still get the feeling as long as Carson Palmer plays, the offense will be fine.

David Johnson looked good

After Arians "had a nice talk about dancing" with the rookie, he was impressive, showing speed, strength and agility. He rushed 13 times for 66 yards in a little more than a quarter's work. He caught another two passes for 15 yards. He had an impressive stiffarm and also a leap over a defender. Arians said after those first couple of dances with the ball, "he ran really, really well."

J.J. Nelson is fast

We saw his speed on display on a 57-yard pass play. It looked like the throw was a little underthrown, but both Palmer and Nelson thought initially it was overthrown. Nelson just outran it. Palmer said "he must have hit the nitrous button." Nelson said, after hearing the nitrous quote, said, "I guess a little nitrous had to kick in."

You have to wonder how hard it will be for Bruce Arians to take Nelson off the field once Michael Floyd is healthy.

Chris Johnson might miss some time

It wasn't during the game we learned it, but after it, when Arians addressed the media. Johnson pulled his hamstring on the last play of practice on Thursday. He could be out "one to two weeks."

Pass protection was an issue

Carson Palmer was sacked twice. Drew Stanton was sacked four times. Arians cited "a couple of busted assignments." He also called out rookie D.J. Humphries, saying it was "bad technique and bad effort" that led to a sack he gave up. "He got outfought, simple as that."

Phillip Sims might be separating himself from Logan Thomas

Sims looked good and drove the team to a touchdown and a tying field goal in the fourth quarter. He was 8/13 for 82 yards. Logan Thomas was 0/4 on his throws, although he did have a really pretty throw Ifeanyi Momah missed. It was a soft floater to his outside shoulder toward the sideline. Momah turned the other way and couldn't haul in the pass. If he turned the right way, he scores a touchdown and we are having a very different conversation. But Sims was singled out for praise by Arians.

Young guys flashed

Arians said Phillip Sims, linebacker Alani Fua, cornerback Cariel Brooks and defensive lineman Josh Mauro all "flashed" as young players. Arians also said "there were a bunch of them."

Longer extra points not as easy

Both the Cardinals and the Chargers failed to convert PATs. After Arizona's first score, the snap came a little too soon and holder Dave Zastudil fumbled it. When the Chargers attempted their PAT, the kick hit the right upright. Whoops.