Cowboys power past Chargers, 32-18

Of course, Turpin had little help, especially from the Cowboys running attack and the team’s run defense. Dallas rushed for 115 yards as Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis led the effort with averages of 3.4 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively. Conversely, on the other side of the ball, the defense allowed less than 3 yards per carry to the Chargers’ running backs.

Overall, the Cowboys outgained Los Angeles, 242 to 296, though they ran 17 fewer plays, thanks to Turpin’s fireworks. Additionally, the defense as a whole had two takeaways and three sacks.

In a battle to determine who would be the backup quarterback, Cooper Rush started and managed the team’s first two series. But his night was done after completing 3 of 6 attempts for 32 yards and a passer rating of 66.0.

That’s when Will Geer came in for his first action of the preseason after sitting out last week with a sore groin. He would get five possessions to work with the offense, after going 6 of 10 for 98 yards for a 92.9 rating early in the fourth quarter. Ben DiNucci put the game well in hand, completing both of his pass attempts for 4 yards.

Safety Israel Mukuamu made his presence known on the Chargers’ opening drive, making some nice plays against the run before picking off quarterback Easton Stick at the Cowboys’ 37-yard line. Dallas couldn’t do much with the gift, though, and the stick returned to wideout Joshua Palmer on Los Angeles’ next possession with a 41-yard pass. Thankfully, the Cowboys kept the home team out of the end zone, forcing them to settle for a 22-yard field goal.

And then Turpin took center stage. Added to the roster with hopes of injecting some juice on special teams, he did just that, taking the ensuing kickoff at his own 2-yard line, exploding up the middle, cutting to his right and turning on the afterburners for a punt. And all in the end zone for a 98-yard kickoff return and a 7-3 Cowboys lead.

With the second quarter underway, the Chargers went ahead again, with Sticky avoiding the crowd and scampering 25 yards on the final play of the first frame to set up their side at the Cowboys’ 18-yard line. Two plays later, Los Angeles was in the end zone as a screen to Palmer’s left side saw the receiver sprint through the Dallas defense and dive at the goal line to put the Chargers back on top.

Dallas came right back, however, and did it the old-fashioned way — on the ground. In a 12-play, 69-yard drive, the Cowboys ran the ball nine times. Yes, Rush connected with rookie wideout Jalen Tolbert for a 19-yard completion, but Dowdle did the dirty work, carrying the ball seven times for 34 yards, the last of which was a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. Dallas then scored two runs and Rush hit Jack Ferguson to make it 15-13.

But the Cowboys were far from done in the first half – or rather Turpin wasn’t. With 1:12 on the clock, this time the speedster deflected the punt, sidestepped the initial tackler, launched to the left, found a seam to the right and again pounded the Jets into the end zone for an 86-yard touchdown. return to

And then Dallas’ defense stepped up when defensive tackle Tristan Hill threw the ball off his stick and fell for a fumble himself to give the Cowboys the ball at the Chargers’ 15-yard line with 46 seconds left in the quarter. This time rookie running back Malik Davis had a late run of 8 and 1 yards to give the visitors another score and a 29-10 lead at the break.

With those on the roster and fighting for their NFL lives, the frantic first-half scoring, not surprisingly, slowed down. The Chargers managed to drive 59 yards on 13 plays late in the quarter, but on fourth-and-3 at the Dallas 26-yard line, Los Angeles went for it, only for the Cowboys defense to shut the door on cornerback Quandre Moseley. First-down pass broken up.

Just as the first quarter ended with a quarterback scramble, so did the third, although this time on the Cowboys’ side, Grier went late for a 9-yard gain on fourth-and-1. This eventually led to a 35-yard field goal attempt, with Lirim Hazrullah splitting the upright to increase the score to 32-10.

With that, Gear’s night was over, Dinucci took over. He got close enough to allow Brett Maher to kick a 61-yard field goal for the Cowboys, but the kicker’s big-footed effort fell short.

Perhaps the most exciting play of the fourth did not yield any gains. In an effort reminiscent of Tony Romo, DiNucci somehow spun away from the pass rusher, lost his grip on the ball, picked up a fumble on the hop and then completed a short pass to tight end Peyton Hendershot.

The Chargers managed to add one more score late in the game, also converting a two-point conversion, but it was too little, too late. Undaunted, the Cowboys were content to claim victory and return home to Dallas, their time in California officially complete.

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