Of course, Turpin had some help, mostly from both the Cowboys’ running offense and the team’s 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 were outgained by Los Angeles, 242 to 296, despite running 17 fewer plays, thanks to Turpin’s fireworks. In addition, the defense team had two take aways and three sacks.
In the battle to determine who would be the backup quarterback, Cooper Rush started and orchestrated the team’s first two series. But his night was done after completing 3 of 6 attempts for 32 yards and a 66.0 passer rating.
That’s when Will Grier came in for his first preseason action after sitting out last week with a sore groin. He would get five possessions to work with the offense, exiting early in the fourth quarter after totaling 98 yards on 6-of-10 passing for a 92.9 rating. Ben DiNucci finished the game well in hand, completing both pass attempts for 4 yards.
Safety Israel Mukuamu made his presence known on the Chargers’ first drive with a pair of 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 Stick returned on Los Angeles’ next possession with a 41-yard pass to Joshua Palmer. Fortunately, 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 in hopes of adding some juice on special teams, he did just that, taking the ensuing kickoff to his own 2-yard line, exploding up the middle, cutting to his right and turning on the afterburners to overcome one. and all in the end zone for the 98-yard kickoff return and a 7-3 Cowboys lead.
The Chargers got moving again with Stick avoiding the rush and running 25 yards on the final play of the first frame to put his side at the Cowboys’ 18-yard line as the second quarter began. Two plays later, Los Angeles was in the end zone when a screen to Palmer on the left sideline saw the receiver weave through the Dallas defense and dash across the goal line for a punt return. the Chargers on top.
Dallas came right back, though, and did it the old fashioned way: on the floor. In the 12 plays and 69 yards, the Cowboys ran the ball nine times. Yes, Rush connected with rookie 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 zone of end Dallas then went for two and Rush threw a quick out to rookie tight end Jake Ferguson to go up 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 punted, eluded the initial tackler, started left, found a seam to the right and jetted back into the end zone for to an 86-yard touchdown. come back.
And then Dallas’ defense stepped up when defensive tackle Trysten Hill stripped Stick and fell on the loose ball to give the Cowboys the ball at the Chargers’ 15-yard line with 46 seconds left. of the fourth This time, rookie running back Malik Davis took the honors with final runs of 8 and 1 yard to give the visitors another score and a 29-10 halftime lead.
With those further down the roster fighting for their NFL lives taking over, the scoring frenzy in the first half unsurprisingly slowed. The Chargers managed to go 59 yards on 13 plays late in the quarter, but on fourth-and-3 at the Dallas 26-yard line, Los Angeles did, but the Cowboys defense shut the door when cornerback Quandre Mosely . broke up a pass on first down.
Just as the first quarter ended in a quarterback struggle, so did the third quarter, though this time in favor of the Cowboys, as Grier broke loose for a 9-yard gain on fourth-and-1. That finally led to a 35-yard field goal attempt, Lirim Hajrullahu split the uprights to make the score 32-10.
With that, Grier’s night was over, DiNucci taking over. It got close enough, relatively speaking, for the Cowboys to allow Brett Maher to attempt a 61-yard field goal, but the kicker’s big-leg effort fell short.
Perhaps the most exciting play of the quarter did not result in a gain. In an effort reminiscent of Tony Romo, DiNucci somehow got away from a pass rusher, lost control of the ball, caught the fumble on a jump 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 the two-point conversion, but it was too little, too late. Unblemished, the Cowboys settled for the win and returned home to Dallas, their time in California officially over.