Chargers Run Through Cowboys D in Opener

A patchwork Cowboys defense allowed 395 yards of offense to San Diego

The offense looked pretty good, the defense looked pretty bad and the Dallas Cowboys dropped their preseason opener to the Chargers in San Diego on Thursday night, 27-7.

Granted, the Cowboys team that took the field Thursday night included a good deal of reserves. Among those sitting out this game for Dallas were Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar on the offensive side, and Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church and Henry Melton on the defensive side, just to name a few.

New backup Brandon Weeden started, played the entire first half and posted solid numbers, going 13/17 passing for 107 yards and a touchdown. Weeden gave Dallas the first touchdown of the game on a rolling pass to James Hanna in the back of the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Second-year reserve running back Joseph Randle started and looked good as well, with 50 yards on 13 carries.

The defense, on the other hand, wasn’t so good--which is understandable given that the unit was comprised almost exclusively of projected reserves, two of whom were signed on Tuesday--and that might be an understatement. The Chargers reached the red zone on all three of their first half drives, and scored on two of them. (On the first of those drives, Chargers running back Ryan Mathews fumbled at the goal line.)

San Diego’s backup running back Branden Oliver tied the game on a 16-yard dash in the second quarter and the Chargers took the lead on a field goal on the drive after that--this after Dallas made a nice goal line stand, one of the few positives of the game for the defense.

San Diego continued running all over the Cowboys defense in the second half, with three scores--a touchdown pass from backup quarterback Kellen Clemons to Dontrelle Inman and two more field goals--to extend their lead to 27-7. Dallas never would answer back.

To be sure, Cowboys defensive coordinator will have a lot to say (or yell) to his players after this one. Chargers quarterbacks didn’t throw an incomplete pass until the early fourth quarter and finished 14-16 for 243 yards. They rushed for another 152.  

The Cowboys will face the Ravens next Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

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