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Penalties Pile Up as Los Angeles Chargers Lose to Cowboys, 20-17

Neither side could escape the penalty bug on Sunday. A potential high-scoring matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys turned into a bust, as mistakes took over the game.

Dallas nailed a 56-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein to win the game as time expired.

Slow Start for Los Angeles Chargers

The Cowboys’ offense was rolling to start the game. An 11-play drive set up a Tony Pollard touchdown from four yards out. The Chargers’ defense couldn’t stop the run or short-pass game on that possession. Ezekiel Elliott ran in another touchdown from five yards out to close out the first quarter. The Cowboys jumped out to a quick 14-3 lead before the Chargers could really even get into a rhythm.

Dallas couldn’t figure out their run game against the Buccaneers on opening night, but they made that a point of emphasis in the first half against LA. They finished with 96 yards combined between Elliott, Pollard and CeeDee Lamb. LA couldn’t stop Lamb at all in the first half, as he caught five passes for 80 yards and ran once for 13 yards.

The story for the first half for the Chargers was penalties. A total of nine penalties cost the Chargers a few points and momentum throughout the half.

Justin Herbert found Mike Williams for a 12-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, followed by a two-point conversion by Austin Ekeler. That would be the final score of the half and game as LA luckily only found themselves down 14-11 at the break. LA could’ve tied the game at 14 with a field goal with a few seconds left in the half, but Tristin Vizcaino nailed the left post for his first miss of the year.

Los Angeles Chargers Penalties Continues in Second Half

The Chargers overcame more mistakes on the first possession of the second half as they settled for a field goal to tie the game at 14. LA doesn’t have any trouble getting to the red zone but has yet to consistently get in the endzone so far this season. If the Chargers can improve inside the 20, then this team can score a lot of points.

The defense improved after the first quarter, keeping Dallas out of the endzone. The Dallas run game still dominated, but the Chargers wouldn’t let the Cowboys run away with the game.

The fourth quarter was frustrating for the Chargers, as the mistakes took more points away. The Cowboys found themselves with the ball and four minutes left. Every Chargers fan knew what was coming, another final-second loss. That would be the case once again, as LA falls to 1-1 on the season. Dallas earns their first win of the season and is 1-1.

los angeles chargers vs dallas cowboys
Credit: Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys vs Chargers Stats

Los Angeles Chargers:

Justin Herbert – 31-41, 338 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

Austin Ekeler – 9 carries for 54 yards, 9 catches for 61 yards

Keenan Allen – 4 catches 108 yards

Mike Williams – 7 catches for 91 yards, 1 TD

Dallas Cowboys:

Dak Prescott – 23-27 237 yards, 1 INT

Tony Pollard – 13 carries for 109 yards, 1 TD

Zeke Elliott – 16 carries for 71 yards, 1 TD

CeeDee Lamb – 8 catches for 81 yards

Next Week

The Chargers will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

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