Cowboys Fall To Chargers 20-7

Jason Witten catches the Cowboys only touchdown on Sunday night.

Since camp opened the Cowboys have been beating up on each other while getting only one brief reprive against the Denver Broncos last week. With San Diego coming in for Sunday Night’s tilt against the Cowboys, the Chargers were invited to Texas four days ahead of their game on Sunday. It gave both teams the opportunity to practice against each other and have a controlled scrimmage, before taking the field in their week 2 preseason matchup.

Chargers head coach Norv Turner enjoyed the experience in Texas, which was capped off by the 20-7 win over the Cowboys in Cowboys Stadium, “Practicing against the Cowboys for two days I think gave our guys a good feel for getting ready to play them,” Turner said after the game. “For the most part, I was really pleased.”

While the game didn’t get off to the cleanest start for the Chargers, going three-and-out, it picked up some momentum when Cowboys QB Tony Romo threw and interception to Chargers S Eric Weddle on their second possession of the game. Weddle, who signed an 5 year deal worth $40 million dollars with the Chargers, is the highest paid safety in the league and he proved why on that play. Weddle read Romo’s fake and followed the quarterback’s eyes and seemed to make the perfect break on the ball when he undercut the intended receiver Kevin Ogletree.

The Chargers would capitalize on the turnover driving 61 yards and finishing it off with a Phillip Rivers 7-yard touchdown pass to backup TE Randy McMichael. The Cowboys would answer immediately on the back of some strong running by Felix Jones. The Cowboys would drive the ball 80 yards on 11 plays to set up Tony Romo’s 6-yard pass to Jason Witten for the touchdown. Romo used his athletic ability to keep the play alive long enough for Jason Witten to find some breathing room in the end zone.

The Chargers would respond again as back up quarterback Billy Volek and RB Ryan Matthews made short work of the Cowboys second team defense. Matthews capped the 81-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run that saw him barely stay in bounds as the ball crossed the plain of the goal line.

After halftime the second and third groups took over the game, and while there were some brief flashes of excitement, the game slowed down. The highlight of the second half had to be the Cowboys undrafted rookie running back Phillip Tanner who took the hand off from Stephen McGee and was head locked at the line of scrimmage. Tanner, refusing to go down, slipped the tackle losing his helmet in the process, and sprinted the last 23 yards for what appeared to be a great touchdown run. “When it came off, the only thing on my mind was, `I’m not down, so finish the play,”’ Tanner said. “I wasn’t going to stop until the play was finished.”

While a flag came down on the play against the Cowboys for an illegal shift, the run would have been for not regardless as the new rules in the NFL state that once a player’s helmet is off the ball is dead at the spot. Nonetheless, the Cowboys players and coaches took note of Tanner’s commitment and hustle.

The Chargers would add a fourth quarter field goal to seal the game sending the 74,000 fans home disappointed in the result. For a preseason game, the Chargers and Cowboys first units both looked pretty good and gave a good first half show for those in attendance.

For highlights click here.

Players Who Impressed:

1. Felix Jones – The Cowboys starting running back had a great game and showed his speed and toughness. He had 56 yards on only 7 carries.

2. Bill Nagy – The seventh round pick showed that he might be the front runner for the open left guard position. He started the game and impressed.

3. Starting Offensive Line – The line played very well together and showed the athleticism that Smith and Nagy bring over Davis and Colombo. Romo had all day to throw the ball, and Felix Jones had monster holes to run through.

4. Stephen McGee – While he didn’t lead the team to a comeback win this week, McGee did engineer two really strong drives that ended with a lack of execution by other players. McGee has shown tremendous growth over the off season.

5. Kevin Ogletree – With Austin out, Ogletree knew he had a great chance to show what he could do. While his stats are average (3 receptions for 27 yards), Ogletree displayed a good burst after catching the ball, the ability to make people miss, and he ran crisp clean routes all game.

6. DeMarcus Ware – Ware is a beast and he was able to get his hands on Rivers for a sack and also pester the Chargers backfield while he was in the game.

7. Phillip Tanner – The undrafted rookie from Middle Tennessee State looked very impressive. He has a great burst of speed and good vision. He has to be pushing Miller, Choice, and Murray for a roster spot. Right now he seems too impressive to let go.

Players Who Failed To Impress:

1. Lonyae Miller – For all the praise he has gotten from the coaching staff he has run the ball very poorly in both preseason games. He had a great catch and made a terrific block on a blitz pick up, but Miller looks slow and unsure when carrying the ball.

2. Victor Butler and Brandon Williams – The Cowboys are counting on both of these guys to spell Spencer and Ware. Neither had their name called against the Chargers. While they had lots of playing time, neither one made much of it and they will need to be better moving forward.

3. David Arkin – The fourth round pick is in the running for the left guard spot as well and didn’t have a strong game, allowing Charger Corey Liuget to get to McGee causing a fumble.

4. Orlando Scandrick – Scandrick has been drawing a lot of complements from the Cowboys staff but was burned twice for big plays. Chargers wideout Vincent Jackson beat him on a crossing pattern from the slot and might have made some Cowboys fans a little nervous heading into the season.

5. Raymond Radway & Dwayne Harris – After both receivers had a break out game last week against Denver, they were all but invisible against the Chargers combining for 1 catch and 11 yards. Both guys need to step up or the Cowboys will look to the free agent market for a veteran receiver.


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