Following a week highlighted by joint practices with the Cowboys, the Chargers took the field against Dallas on Saturday night for their second preseason game of the three-game schedule.
While the Chargers started fairly well despite an early interception by Easton Stick, the offense eventually sputtered and the special teams unit all but disappeared for most of the first half. All of this turned into a lopsided game that looked a little better at the end than it did for most of the night.
Below, I touch on two players who I’d consider “winners” and two I’d consider “losers” following the Chargers’ second preseason game against the Cowboys.
WR Michael Bandy
The best part about Bandy’s performance this preseason is that you don’t need to look much further than surface level to see how well he’s been playing. Just looking at the stat sheet, you can see he’s recorded 15 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns through the team’s first two exhibitions. While simply watching the game, you’ve obviously been able to see him create consistent separation against whomever he’s been lined up against.
It really doesn’t get much more straight-forward than this. Bandy has been the team’s best wideout aside from Josh Palmer through two preseason games and he should all but be a lock for the final roster at this point. However, it all depends on if the Chargers are able to keep six wideouts when final cuts come around.
WR Josh Palmer
After he struggled to receive anything near a decent look against the Rams, Palmer bounced back on Saturday with a strong performance. Despite only catching three passes on the night, two of them could be debated as the top offensive highlight against the Cowboys. One was the 41-yard snag he made on an under-thrown pass over a Cowboys defender near the left sideline. The other was an 18-yard touchdown he caught behind the line of scrimmage before streaking through several defenders into the end zone on a quick screen.
CB Brandon Sebastian
Sebastian received a ton of camera time on Saturday night. Normally that would be a good thing, but in this case, the undrafted rookie out of Boston College routinely ended up on the wrong end of big plays by the Cowboys offense, if not left entirely sprawled out on the turf.
Sebastian was already sitting in a tough spot to make the final roster in a position group with plenty of bodies and these past two games likely have all but ended his chances of remaining with the team past the preseason.
Special Teams Coverage
The Chargers special teams coverage allowed two different returns for touchdowns, both by USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin. The first was a 98-yard kickoff return in which numerous Chargers defenders ended up on the ground. The second was an 86-yard punt return where the Chargers had a defender in perfect position to end the play before it could began but he whiffed on the initial tackle.
I have to reiterate that of course this is just the preseason. Of course this game didn’t matter, but the majority of the players who made up those coverage units are all fighting for a legitimate chance to make the roster and some others are very well on the way to playing on those units during the regular season.
You take the preseason game for what it is, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold the players to some sort of a standard whenever they’re on the field.