Rivers, Chargers gobble up Cowboys
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Los Angeles defense gobbled up the Dallas Cowboys and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers did the rest for a Thanksgiving victory.
Rivers passed for 434 yards and three second-half touchdowns to help the Chargers race past the Cowboys in the second half on the way to a 28-6 victory on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.
Rivers hit tight end Hunter Henry and wide receivers Tyrell Williams and Keenan Allen for scores of 3, 27 and 42 yards as the Chargers ran away from the Cowboys.
“It was a lot of fun,” Rivers said. “Any time as a quarterback, you want to play well and throw it to your guys and we did that a heck of a lot today.”
Dallas broke a 10-quarter drought without a touchdown early in the fourth when running back Rod Smith powered two yards for a score. Smith’s touchdown capped a nine-play, 81-yard march.
But Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw incomplete on the two-point conversion attempt and the Chargers maintained a 16-6 lead.
Dallas’ offensive woes continued midway through the fourth quarter when Los Angeles cornerback Desmond King returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown.
“We’re in a funk, or whatever you want to call it,” said Prescott, who completed 20 of 27 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. “It’s not fun to be in. We just have to figure ways to get out of it. Me, individually, and this offense collectively.”
Wide receiver Keenan Allen burned the Dallas defense as he caught 11 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown to lead the Chargers (5-6).
Allen made five Cowboys miss on his way to a 42-yard touchdown that gave the Chargers a 22-6 lead in the fourth quarter.
“We had a great play call,” Allen said. “Phil threw a great ball and after that I just had to make them miss. I used to be a running back. I just knew the safety was coming. Once I caught the ball, I knew I had to get up the field real fast.”
Dallas (5-6) dropped its second home game of the week after Philadelphia handed the Cowboys a 37-9 defeat on Sunday night. The Cowboys are 2-4 at home this season.
“Offensively, the performance wasn’t up to par and certainly wasn’t enough to match what they were doing on their side of the ball,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.
Los Angeles established a two-score lead when Rivers found Henry for a 3-yard touchdown. Rivers looked off his first option and turned to Henry, then threw to Henry’s right, away from Cowboys safety Byron Jones.
Chargers kicker Nick Novak missed the extra point attempt, holding Los Angeles’ advantage to 9-0 with 8:59 left in the third quarter.
Anyone napping during the first half didn’t miss much offense as neither team scored through the game’s first 28 minutes.
The Chargers reached the Cowboys’ 17 on its first possession, but Novak missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.
Novak appeared to be injured on the Chargers sideline, prompting punter Drew Kaser to warm up by kicking into a net, which he missed on one attempt.
Los Angeles chose to go for a fourth-and-13 from the Dallas 16 early in the second quarter. Rivers completed a pass to running back Austin Ekeler, but Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis stopped Ekeler after a 12-yard gain.
“We were at the 25 and I was told (Kaser) was good from the 25,” Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn said. “And then somebody told me he was practicing his kicks and he missed the whole damn net, so I decided to go for it.”
Novak came back into the game and booted a 22-yard field goal for the game’s initial score with 1:56 remaining in the second quarter.
Kaser successfully kicked an extra point after the Chargers’ second touchdown in the third quarter. He went 1 of 3 on point-after-touchdown attempts.
Dallas failed to travel more than 28 yards on any of its first-half possessions, resulting in four punts. The Cowboys managed just 84 yards total offense in the first half.
NOTES: Dallas lost its last two games and managed just one touchdown with LT Tyron Smith out of the lineup. In that time, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was sacked 12 times. Smith started on Thursday and Prescott was sacked only twice. ... Chargers first-year head coach Anthony Lynn is a native Texan and played high school football at small-town powerhouse Celina, about 50 miles north of AT&T Stadium. ... The Cowboys and Chargers met for the 11th time and the first time on Thanksgiving Day. Dallas has a 6-5 edge in the series, though the Chargers have now won four of the last five. ... Despite losing RB Ezekiel Elliott to a six-game suspension two weeks ago for violating of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, Cowboys RB Darren McFadden was a healthy scratch on Thursday for the second-straight week. Dallas went into Thursday’s game with two running backs (Alfred Morris and Rod Smith) and a fullback (Keith Smith) on its active roster.