Remember, these games are not game-planned for whatsoever. Starters play a series or two at the most, and even still, that these guys have been back to real football for a couple of weeks now is a huge factor.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this; preseason week 1 was bad, real bad.
I’ll go as far as to say that was one of the worst preseason performances I’ve seen out of this team in a while.
Like most games last year, over half of the regular starters were out of this game. Seven starters were held out to be exact. And like last season, the results were about the same.
The defense couldn’t stop the run, they couldn’t stop the pass. They committed stupid penalties over and over. The defensive line was pushed around in the run game from the very first series, lead by Phillip “Cowboy Killer” Rivers.
Rivers and the ground game marched right down the field. As a matter of fact, the last time these two teams met, it happened with almost the exact same plays. Although the Chargers ate up a pile of yardage on their first drive, the Cowboys were able to force a turnover at the goal line when Justin Durant forced a fumble that was recovered by Terrance Mitchell.
As a whole, the unit played terrible.
But there were a few players who made plays. Anthony Hitchens made a few nice stops, and Caesar Rayford was in on one as well. Ahmed Dixon was all over the place. He was laying the wood on someone every chance he got as he led the team in tackles with 11 solo. He not only pushed to make this team, he pushed to get some playing time on defense as well.
Now, let’s talk about the good that came out of this game, and yes, there was some good.
The first string offensive line did as many expected; they controlled the line of scrimmage. Huge running lanes were opened up, and the pass protection looked to be in good shape as well.
Brandon Weeden took advantage of the pass protection as he went 13 for 17 for 107 yards and a touchdown. Weeden made some nice intermediate throws and some good decision-making underneath. I would most certainly give a passing grade to Mr. Weeden for his debut game as a Dallas Cowboy.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Weeden have such a good night, but the surprise player on offense was Joseph Randle. Randle indeed had some nice running lanes to run through, but he also made some nifty moves and showed some burst to get around the corner of the defense on several occasions. Randle went on to lead the team in rushing with 50 yards
Ryan Williams also had a nice night running the ball and that continued up to halftime. However, the wheels seemed to fall off the offense in the second half, as the team only sniffed the end zone late in the 4th qt and even that ended in disaster as Dustin Vaughn was sacked for a 16 yard loss on a 4th and goal from the Chargers’ three.
Overall the team and fans should be pleased with what we saw from some backup players on offense, as well as the first string offensive line.