The Chargers first team played only one series with Philip Rivers under center. The result: six plays, 33 yards, and an eight-yard touchdown run by Danny Woodhead. Rivers threw and completed just two passes, one to Gates over the middle on a short seem route for eight yards and the other was a perfectly placed back shoulder pass to a well-covered Keenan Allen for a 12-yard gain just before the sideline. Woodhead’s touchdown run capped off the drive, which started at the Cowboys own 33-yard line after quarterback Brandon Weeden fumbled on the game’s first series. “It’s been a long process, but I feel really good,” Woodhead said. “It was great to get out there and get in the end zone.” The first team offense remained for the second series with Kellen Clemens under center. The result: six plays, 14 yards. Clemens finished the rest of the first half with 31 yards on 5-10 passing. He wasn’t sharp, and badly missed new wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a short out route. Johnson’s first reception as a Charger will have to wait until next week.
- Melvin Gordon played only ten snaps, rushing six times for 11 yards. It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t anything special either. He seemed hesitant on a few of his runs but, hey, he’s a rookie. It takes time to get comfortable. He ran against a pretty good Cowboys defense too. “I definitely have a lot of work to do,” Gordon said. “It wasn’t what I expected at all, but we have some more preseason games before the regular season to fine tune myself.”
- Branden Oliver had a “breakout” game against the Cowboys last preseason (seven carries for 64 yards and a TD). He did the same this year. Oliver, who’s looked strong in camp, was slashing, cutting, and jitterbugging (is that a word?) on every snap, finishing with 10 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. “I feel much more confident coming into this year,” Oliver said. “I just want to keep things rolling.”
Most of the Chargers first team defense only lasted one series. That list included Eric Weddle, Jason Verrett, Donald Butler, Manti Te’o, Cory Liuget, Kendall Reyes, and Melvin Ingram. The Cowboys went 11 plays on their first drive, but mustered only 13 total yards after Weeden’s fumble. However, prior to the turnover, Weeden was leading the Cowboys on a 48-yard drive. As a first team unit, it’s hard to judge without much to work with, but overall, the Cowboys only scored one touchdown and that’s always a good thing.
- Kyle Emanuel had solid pro debut. He recorded his first sack, a seven-yard loss, in the second quarter. The problem is, he wasn’t prepared for what usually follows. “I didn’t really know what to do with myself for my celebration,” Emanuel joked. “Some guys were giving me some grief cause my celebration wasn’t good enough, I guess. I didn’t really know what to do. First NFL sack. I was just excited and looking for someone to celebrate with. “ He followed that up with a forced fumble on a Cowboys punt return.
- Cornerback Steve Williams had a rough night. He was beaten on three receptions that went for 11, 20, and 21 yards. His average–at-best–showing in training camp coupled with Thursday’s performance against the Cowboys certainly hasn’t helped his case for a backup role with the Chargers this year. Clearly there’s a reason San Diego drafted Craig Mager in the third round and signed Patrick Robinson. Insurance.
- OLB Tourek Williams, who recovered a fumble, left Thursday’s game with a foot injury and did not return. He was on crutches and wearing a protective boot after the game.
- Johnnie Troutman, who was limited over the last week with an apparent leg injury and who saw D.J. Fluker start at right guard, suffered an army injury and did not return. He was wearing a sling after the game.
- CB Chris Davis suffered a concussion just before the end of the second quarter after flying in for a hard hit on the Cowboys’ Tyler Clutts.
–Andrew Burer (TWIITER: @andrewburer)
VIDEO: Annie Heilbrunn recaps the Chargers-Cowboys preseason game and what to take away from Melvin Gordon’s performance, the O-Line and more.