By Tim Peterson
(Inglewood) – The Chargers allowed 14 points in the last 52 seconds of the first half and went on to lose to Dallas 32-18 before 69, 014 fans at SoFi Stadium Saturday night.
The Chargers were down 15-10 late in the first quarter when the wheels came off in the last minute of the first half. First KaVontae Turpin returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown to make it 22-10. It was Turpin’s second touchdown return of the night. He had returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score in the first quarter as the Chargers experienced a special teams breakdown.
Then the Chargers fumbled and the Cowboys recovered deep in LA territory. The Cowboys capitalized when Malik Davis scored on a one-yard run with 22 seconds left. Just like that 15-10 became 29-10 and the Cowboys took that lead into the half and never looked back.
The Chargers scored first on a 22-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins with 6:17 left in the first quarter.
Turpin took the ensuing kickoff back 98 yards to give the Cowboys a 7-3 lead.
The Chargers answered with a 12-play, 82-yard drive to go up 10-7. Easton Stick culminated the march with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Palmer.
Dallas came right back with a 12-play, 69 yard drive. Rico Dowdie went over from one-yard out. Cooper Rush then found Jake Ferguson in the endzone for a two-point conversion and with 8:18 left in the second quarter the Cowboys were up 15-10.
The Cowboys then erupted for 14 points in the last minute and the Chargers could never dig themselves out of the hole.
After a scoreless third quarter Lirim Hajrullahu added a 35-yard field goal for Dallas early in the fourth to make it 32-10.
The Chargers pieced together an 11-play, 58-yard drive late in the fourth quarter. Chase Daniel hit Michael Bandy on a one-yard touchdown pass to finish the drive. Gabe Nabers then hauled in a pass from Daniel for the two-point conversion with 1:27 left to account for the 32-18 final.
The Cowboys took a couple of knees to end it.
For the Chargers Stick completed 11 of 20 for 134 yards and a score with one interception. Daniel was 13 of 21 for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Palmer caught 3 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown while Bandy continued his impressive performance in the preseason with 8 catches for 69 yards and a score.
For the Cowboys, Turpin was the story with the two big touchdown returns. Will Grier completed 6 of 10 for 98 yards and Rush was 3 of 6 for 32. Dowdie led the running game with 13 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown while Davis ran for 37 yards and a score on 8 carries.
The Chargers fell to 0-2 in the preseason and will have one more crack at a victory next Friday night in New Orleans. The Cowboys improved to 1-1.