SAN DIEGO – Kellen Clemens and Dontrelle Inman had impressive debuts with the San Diego Chargers.
Clemens, the new backup quarterback, threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Inman in the third quarter and the Chargers beat the Dallas Cowboys 27-7 Thursday night in an exhibition opener.
Inman, who played in the CFL the last two seasons, beat single coverage down the right sideline and was gone to give San Diego a 17-7 lead.
Clemens signed as a free agent in March to serve as backup to Philip Rivers after Charlie Whitehurst left for Tennessee. Clemens spent the last two seasons with the St. Louis Rams as a backup to starter Sam Bradford. He started the last nine games after Bradford went down with a knee injury.
After Inman scored, the Chargers got the ball right back on a strip sack by Thomas Keiser and recovery by Damik Scafre. Kerwynn Williams scored on a 1-yard run two plays later to make it 24-7.
Rivers played just the opening series, completing all four passes for 61 yards.
That drive ended when Ryan Mathews, who has a history of fumbling, lost the ball as he tried to go over the pile and into the end zone. Dallas’ Terrance Mitchell recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Brandon Weeden, making his Cowboys debut, finished the ensuing drive by weathering a big hit and completing a 4-yard scoring pass to James Hanna, who pulled it in while falling to the ground in the back of the end zone.
With Tony Romo sitting out to rest his surgically repaired back, Weeden started and played the first half. He completed 13 of 17 passes for 107 yards. He signed with Dallas after spending two seasons with Cleveland.
Caleb Hanie took over for Weeden on the Cowboys’ first drive of the second half.
Undrafted rookie Branden Oliver scored on a 16-yard run for San Diego in the second quarter.