Two of the NFL’s most talented teams squared off on Saturday night in a preseason game, hoping to get things squared away for when the real games begin. The Dallas Cowboys visited the Los Angeles Chargers, and came away with a 32-18 road victory.
Dallas Cowboys Takeaways
Along with a few other teams in professional sports, the Dallas Cowboys’ every move is watched, analyzed, criticized, praised and discussed ad nauseum for many days. While their preseason games probably do not get the same level of spotlight as their regular season contests, there was still an interesting observation to take from their win against Los Angeles.
So much of the attention Dallas gets lands of the offensive side of the football, and whether Dak Prescott can lead his team to an elusive playoff triumph. Other topics of conversation include whether CeeDee Lamb can ascend into a legitimate number one wide receiver, and how much gas running back Ezekiel Elliot has in the tank. To a lesser extent, the Cowboys’ defense is also talked about, such as whether young budding stars Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs can shut down explosive offenses when it counts.
However, there are still three phases to a football game, and one which is often overlooked is special teams. If their first two preseason games are any indication, it is possible that this group of players can put Dallas in excellent field position during the course of the season. KaVontae Turpin has had an eye opening exhibition season, and could prove to be an X factor.
Against Los Angeles, he took a kickoff return 98 yards to the house for a touchdown. Turpin also brought back a punt return 86 yards for another score in one of the best performances this month. He has emerged as a playmaking name to watch, and should be the frontrunner to handle those respective duties in Dallas this year.
Los Angeles Chargers Takeaways
The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Third year quarterback Justin Hebert has emerged into one of the NFL’s best, and their periphery weapons are pretty impressive as well. Running back Austin Ekeler has improved as a rusher between the tackles, adding to his already potent receiving ability out of the backfield.
The Chargers also have two of the most gifted wide receivers in the NFL, with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams playing complementary roles to one another. These two players form one of the best receiving tandems in the league, and are a main reason why Los Angeles is not out of any game.
However, the depth at that position runs deeper than just Allen and Williams. Second year wide receiver Josh Palmer will likely only get an increased opportunity to play if Allen or Williams is unavailable, but he has played well when given the chance. His best game as a rookie came against the New York Giants when he caught five passes for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Palmer showed big play ability against Dallas on Saturday as well. He averaged 25 yards per reception on his way to a 75 yard, one touchdown performance. He is a name to keep in mind in case injuries slow Los Angeles on the perimeter this year.