Of course, Turpin had a little help, especially from the Cowboys’ running attack and the team’s defense. Dallas rushed for 115 yards as Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis led the effort with averages of 3.4 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively. Conversely, on the other side of the ball, the defense allowed less than 3 yards per carry to the Chargers’ running backs.
Overall, the Cowboys were outgained by Los Angeles, 242 to 296, though they ran 17 fewer plays thanks to Turpin’s fireworks. Additionally, the defense as a whole had two tackles and three sacks.
In the battle to determine who would be the backup quarterback, Cooper Rush started and orchestrated the team’s first two series. But his night was made as he completed 3 of 6 attempts for 32 yards and a passer rating of 66.0.
That’s when Will Grier entered for his first preseason action after sitting out last week with a sore groin. He would get five possessions to work with on offense, exiting early in the fourth quarter after totaling 98 yards on 6-of-10 passing for a 92.9 rating. Ben DiNucci finished things off nicely with the game, completing both of his pass attempts for 4 yards.
Safety Israel Mukuamu made his presence known on the Chargers’ drive with some nice plays against the run before picking off quarterback Easton Stick at the Cowboys’ 37-yard line. Dallas couldn’t do much with the gift, though, and Stick returned the favor on Los Angeles’ next possession with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Palmer. Thankfully, the Cowboys kept the home team out of the end zone, forcing them to settle for a 22-yard field goal.
And then Turpin took center stage. Added to the roster in hopes of bringing some juice to the special teams, he did just that, taking the ensuing kickoff at his own 2-yard line, bursting up the middle, cutting to the right and flashing afterburners to past one. and all the way to the end zone for the 98-yard kickoff return and a 7-3 Cowboys lead.
The Chargers were on the move again with Stick avoiding the rush and going 25 yards on the final play of the first frame to set up his side at the Cowboys’ 18-yard line as the second quarter began. Two plays later, Los Angeles was in the end zone as a screen to Palmer on the left side saw the receiver break through the Dallas defense and dive along the goal line to put the Chargers back on top.
Dallas came right back, though, and did it the old-fashioned way — on the ground. In the 12-play, 69-yard drive, the Cowboys ran the ball nine times. Yes, the Rush connected with rookie Jalen Tolbert for a 19-yard completion, but Dowdle did the dirty work, carrying the ball seven times for 34 yards, the last of which was a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. Dallas then went for two and Rush threw a rushing touchdown to rookie tight end Jake Ferguson to go up 15-13.
But the Cowboys were far from done in the first half — or rather Turpin wasn’t. With 1:12 on the clock, this time the speedster flipped a snap, missed the kickoff, headed left, found a seam to the right and again jetted into the end zone for an 86-yard touchdown. return.
And then Dallas’ defense stepped up when defensive tackle Trysten Hill stripped Stick of the ball and fell for the snap himself to give the Cowboys the ball at the Chargers’ 15-yard line with 46 seconds left in the quarter. This time rookie Malik Davis took the honors with late runs of 8 and 1 yard to give the visitors another score and a 29-10 halftime advantage.
With those lower on the roster fighting for their NFL lives taking over, the frantic first half scoring, not surprisingly, slowed down. The Chargers managed to march 59 yards on 13 plays late in the quarter, but on fourth-and-3 at the Dallas 26-yard line, Los Angeles made it, only for the Cowboys defense to shut the door on cornerback Quandre Mosely. broke a potential pass to look down.
Just as the first quarter ended in a quarterback scramble, so did the third, though this time in favor of the Cowboys, as Grier broke free for a 9-yard gain on fourth-and-1 plays. That eventually led to a attempt of 35 meters from the field, Lirim Hajrullahu who shared on the right wings to increase the result to 32-10.
That ended Grier’s night, taking DiNucci. He got close enough, relatively speaking, for the Cowboys to allow Brett Maher to attempt a 61-yard field goal, but the big-footed kick attempt came up too quickly.
Perhaps the most exciting play of the fourth resulted in no gain. In an effort reminiscent of Tony Romo, DiNucci somehow got off a pass rush, lost his grip on the ball, grabbed a hop and then completed a short pass to tight end Peyton Hendershot.
The Chargers managed to add one more score late in the game, also returning the two-point conversion, but it was too little, too late. Undeterred, the Cowboys were pleased to take the win and return home to Dallas, their time in California officially over.