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Chargers special teams, offense stumble against Cowboys, fall 32-18

Two young wideouts shine in otherwise lackluster team performance.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

For the second week in a row, the Chargers offense saw their highs take place early on before struggling to find a semblance of consistency the rest of the way through. Despite being the first team to find the end zone on the night, the Bolts sputter through the half as the Cowboys built an insurmountable lead on route to a lopsided 32-18 victory inside SoFi Stadium.

After tossing an interception on his opening drive, third-string quarterback Easton Stick bounced back to lead his team to points on their second drive as they took a 3-0 lead after a 22-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins.

That lead lasted just a few moments as former undrafted player and USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to give the Cowboys a 7-3 lead halfway through the first quarter.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter with the Chargers scoring first via an 18-yard catch and run by Josh Palmer. After motioning from right to left, Stick faked a hand off left before booting right only to throw back left to a waiting Palmer. The second-year wideout rode the wave of blockers for an easy score and his first touchdown of the preseason.

After the Chargers took a 10-7 lead, it was all Cowboys from there on out.

Dallas went on to score three times before halftime, highlighted by another return touchdown from Turpin, although this time it came via a punt 86-yard return. The Chargers special teams unit looked no different than their 2020 version at times Saturday night which had to have left a spine-shivering feeling on the fan base, regardless of it being during a preseason exhibition.

The Cowboys held on to their 29-10 lead into the fourth quarter before Lirim Hajrullahu tacked on another three points to raise their lead to 22.

With under 90 seconds to go in regulation, Chase Daniel capped off a methodical drive with a heads-up play to Michael Bandy for their second touchdown of the game. However, it’d be unfair to not highlight a big-time 19-yard play from Daniel to Jason Moore to convert on a third-and-18 to keep the drive alive. Fullback Gabe Nabers caught a two-point conversation to solidify the final score of 32-18.

Stick finished the night 11-of-20 for 134 yards with one score and one pick. He also led the Chargers in rushing with 24 yards on a pair of scrambles. Palmer paced the wideouts with 75 receiving yards while Michael Bandy led the team with eight receptions.

Joshua Kelley led the running backs in both carries and rushing yards with seven and 18, respectively. Rookie Isaiah Spiller exited halfway through the game with an ankle injury and never returned.

The Chargers will play their final preseason game in New Orleans against the Saints this coming Friday, August 26th.