Dallas Cowboys turn over win to the San Diego Chargers, 17-7


The Dallas Cowboys kicked off their preseason against a familiar foe, the San Diego Chargers. Despite the Cowboys resting a number of their starters in this matchup, it was still a fairly competitive game. That was until two costly turnovers by Dallas shifted the favor to San Diego.

Back-up quarterback Brandon Weeden started the game for Dallas. After completing four of his five passes for 40 yards, including a 17-yard completion on third-and-long, Weeden whiffed on a shotgun snap by Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick. In the ensuing scramble, the 31-year old quarterback unsuccessful attempted to bat the ball away from the Charger defenders. His blunder and the resulting turnover allowed Charger running back Danny Woodhead to get into the endzone on an eight-yard tumble a few plays later, giving San Diego the early 7-0 lead.

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The next turnover occurred in the second quarter when undrafted rookie Lucky Whitehead had the ball knocked out of his hands during a 19-yard punt return. It’s a major blemish on the stellar outing Whitehead has been having at training camp so far this preseason. Although he attempted to make up for it on the very next kickoff return, racking up 38-yards, I’m not sure the Cowboys coaches aren’t already starting to doubt Whitehead becoming their primary returner when the regular season starts.

Despite the turnovers, some of the Cowboys players actually performed well on Thursday night. Rookie cornerback Byron Jones led the team with five tackles, although he looked shaky at times in coverage. The standout in coverage for Dallas was veteran corner/safety Corey White. Defensive lineman Randy Gregory, Lavar Edwards and Jack Crawford each recorded a sack. Crawford also forced a fumble. Defensive tackles Davon Coleman and rookie Ryan Russell also flashed on some impressive defensive plays during the game.

Offensively, rookie running back Gus Johnson was able to score a rushing touchdown, the Cowboys only score of the game. But Johnson’s total of 35 rushing yards on 13 carries certainly didn’t set the world on fire. The rookie left the game early due to a shoulder injury.

Both quarterbacks Dustin Vaughan and rookie Jameill Showers had impressive moments in this game. Vaughan finished the day completing 12 of his 18 passes for 106 yards. Showers showed good poise in the pocket recording 40 yards on 5 of 11 passes, 18 rushing yards, and a special teams tackle.

The MVP of the contest would have to be tight end Gavin Escobar, who recorded a game-leading five catches for 47 yards. Escobar recorded just nine receptions all of last season. Wide recevier Devin Street and rookie tight end Geoff Swaim also made some impressive catches in the game.

Along the offensive line, undrafted rookie guard La’el Collins excelled while projected swing-tackle Darrion Weems struggled.

The Cowboys will return to Oxnard, California this week to face the St. Louis Rams during some scheduled training camp practices. Dallas’ next preseason game will be Sunday, August 23rd against the San Francisco 49ers.

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