NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 2 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 32, Los Angeles Chargers 18

Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver KaVontae Turpin (2) scores a touchdown on a 98-yard kickoff return against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer and Dallas Cowboys wideout KaVontae Turpin took different paths to the NFL, but the two players were the biggest playmakers in Saturday night’s 32-10 Cowboys preseason victory.

Editor’s note: All grades in this article are subject to review. All PFF player grades will be finalized by 12 pm ET tomorrow.

DALLAS COWBOYS

QUARTERBACK

Cooper Rush finished 3-of-6 for 32 yards. His average depth of target was just 7.4 yards.

Will Grier went 6-of-10 for 98 yards as he competes for the backup job with Rush. He made one big-time throw and didn’t have a turnover-worthy play.

RUNNING BACK

Rico Dowdle is competing with Malik Davis for third running back duties behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Both Dowdle and Davis had touchdown carries.

Dowdle, who spent last season on injured reserve, forced two missed tackles on 13 carries for 44 yards, 47 of which came after contact.

Davis, an undrafted rookie out of Florida, picked up 37 yards (31 after contact) on eight carries and forced one missed tackle. He’s impressed this summer and is pushing for a roster spot.

RECEIVERS

WR Jalen Tolbert could earn a starting job by default with James Washington injured and Michael Gallup still on PUP. He showed a lack of body control by stepping out of the end zone on what should have been a touchdown reception from Rush.

TE Jake Ferguson, a rookie fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, caught two of two targets for 29 yards. He forced three missed tackles on the night.

WR KaVontae Turpin deserves a special teams note here. The 2022 USFL MVP returned a kickoff for a 98-yard touchdown and followed that up with an 86-yard punt return for another score.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Rookie Tyler Smith, playing left guard, didn’t let up a pressure on 12 pass-blocking snaps.

Connor McGovern, who’s competing with Smith for the starting left guard role, also didn’t allow a pressure on 12 pass-protection snaps.

On first review, Smith graded better than McGovern as a run-blocker.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Edge defender Tarell Basham registered two QB hits on eight pass-rush snaps.

Defensive tackle Trysten Hill, a 2019 second-round pick out of UCF, showed up with a sack and two stops in run defense.

Edge defenders Big Kat Bryant (sack, QB hit) and Mike Tafua (sack, hurry) also brought pressure.

LINEBACKER

Devin Harper, a rookie sixth-round pick, earned an 80.2 run-defense grade on first review.

Luke Gifford wasn’t targeted in coverage and made one run stop.

SECONDARY

Safety Israel Mukuamu was all over the field with a run stop and interception on 50 total snaps. He let up one catch, an 18-yard touchdown on a screen pass, on three targets.

Undrafted rookie cornerback Quandre Mosely didn’t allow a catch on one target and 17 coverage snaps. He forced an incompletion on his only target.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

QUARTERBACK

Easton Stick finished 11-of-20 for 134 yards with a touchdown pass and interception as he competes for the backup QB spot behind Justin Herbert. He didn’t have a big-time throw, and his interception was his only turnover-worthy play. His average depth of targets was 10.1 yards.

Chase Daniel went 13-of-21 for 111 yards with a touchdown. He didn’t make any big-time throws or turnover-worthy plays, and his average depth of target was just 6.3 yards.

RUNNING BACK

Joshua Kelley is battling it out with Larry Rountree and rookie Isaiah Spiller for the backup job behind Austin Ekeler

Kelley forced four missed tackles on eight carries for 18 yards. He picked up 20 rushing yards after contact.

Rountree carried the ball four times for 11 yards. He forced one missed tackle and 7 of his 11 yards came after contact.

Spiller limped off the field early in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He carried the ball three times for just 3 yards.

RECEIVERS

WR Joshua Palmer, a 2021 third-round pick, looked like a star in the making, hauling in a 41-yard contested catch and scampering through the Cowboys defense for an 18-yard touchdown off of a screen pass. He finished with three catches on four targets for 75 yards.

Slot receiver Micahel Bandy continued to show he deserves a spot on an NFL roster with eight catches on nine targets for 69 yards with a touchdown and one forced missed tackle.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Rookie right guard Zion Johnson let up just one hurry on 13 pass-block snaps.

Storm Norton is battling with Trey Pipkins to start at right tackle. Norton got the first crack and allowed a QB hit on six pass-blocking snaps.

Pipkins let up on hurry on 12 pass-blocking snaps.

Rookie sixth-round pick Jamaree Salyer is a player to watch based on his preseason play. He earned a 74.5 grade in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams and asserted himself well again Friday night, not allowing a single pressure on 16 pass-blocking snaps at left guard.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Edge defender Chris Rumph didn’t generate any pressure but did make a tackle for loss in the run game.

Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery missed two tackles and made one defensive stop as he continues to play in the preseason while established starters sit. He registered one hurry.

LINEBACKER

Cole Christensen earned an 85.4 coverage grade on first review. He let up a 6-yard catch on two targets with a forced incompletion.

Amen Ogbongbemiga wasn’t targeted in coverage. He made two stop in run defense.

SECONDARY

Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis appear to be competing for one starting cornerback job.

Samuel was not targeted on three coverage snaps.

Davis was targeted once but forced an incompletion with a pass breakup.

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