A 16-14 win and two first half turnovers helped mask the fact that Saturday night in San Diego was the worst performance of the preseason for the first team defense thus far. But, with a quick look at the statistics, any delusions of defensive impressiveness fly out the window.
The Chargers posted 205 yards in the first half to the Cowboys 49; they posted 14 first downs as Dallas mustered only 3; and they controlled the ball for nearly 15 minutes longer than did “America’s Team”. Still, at the end of the half, the game was tied at 7-7. The argument could be made that, in a preseason game, the score matters less than the overall performance.
Bradie James, and any number of the Dallas defenders one would imagine, would oppose this argument, to some degree at least.
Granted, no one on that unit will walk away from San Diego completely content with their performance. Improvements must be made. But creating more turnovers was a top priority for the unit this offseason, and, on Saturday night, the team saw first hand the potentially game-changing effects of takeaways. Very simply, had Dallas not created turnovers, they wouldn’t have won the game. And as Dennis Green would tell you, or yell at you more accurately, you play to win the game.
This isn’t to say the ease with which San Diego moved the ball isn’t something of a red flag. But better to have an off day in August than September and beyond.
“It’s not bad news, it’s the preseason,” said James. “For us, it’s time for us to get a long drive, and what you saw was guys competing. If we had laid down or if [their] guys would’ve scored more it would’ve been bad news. But then we came up with turnovers so it wasn’t bad news.”
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