(CBS DFW) — The Los Angeles Chargers proceed their NFC East matchups this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Second-year backmost Justin Herbert handled a hard Washington Football Team defence past week to crook successful the team’s archetypal win. (They’ll sojourn the Philadelphia Eagles and big the New York Giants aboriginal successful the season.) Their archetypal location crippled of the play volition besides beryllium their archetypal ever crippled astatine the caller SoFi Stadium.
The Cowboys are coming disconnected a beardown showing that ended successful disappointment and seemed to airs arsenic galore questions arsenic it answered. Dallas lost, 31-29, to the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers successful a crippled they easy could person won. And portion returning backmost Dak Prescott played similar his pre-injury self, Ezekiel Elliott was a nonfactor and the Cowboys defence continued to beryllium a weakness.
Prescott seems to person sufficiently recovered from the ankle wounded that ended his play past twelvemonth and the enarthrosis issues that constricted his grooming campy and preseason. He lit up the Bucs defense, not 1 of the amended walk defenses successful the league, to the tune of 42 completions for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns. The 42 completions matched a career high. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb accounted for astir fractional of that, piling up 20 catches for 243 yards and 3 TDs betwixt them.
“I don’t deliberation they privation him (Prescott) to person to bash that week successful and week out,” said NFL On CBS newsman Evan Washburn astir Prescott’s performance. “They person an All Pro-caliber moving backmost that they wage a batch of wealth to successful Ezekiel Elliott that was not a large interaction subordinate successful that Week 1 game. I deliberation that was much the quality of what that crippled became. But, Dallas, with Mike McCarthy moving things, and the mode that discourtesy is structured, the moving crippled has to beryllium a priority. The mode that they execute equilibrium is going to dictate a batch of however good this squad plays this play offensively. So I deliberation what Dak showed everyone — astir importantly, the radical successful that enactment — is that he’s healthy. He tin propulsion it, the enarthrosis didn’t look to beryllium a problem. And helium tin determination astir and marque diversion plays contempt what was a beauteous horrific ankle injury. So those are bully signs. They request to beryllium capable to tally the shot amended to beryllium an interaction squad this season.”
Elliott lone carried the shot 11 times for 33 yards. And portion the Bucs are stout defenders against the run, the Cowboys volition request much accumulation retired of him to beryllium successful. That volition beryllium pugnacious fixed the deficiency of continuity on Dallas’s violative line. Right tackle La’el Collins was suspended for 5 games aft the opener for violating the NFL’s substance maltreatment policy. On the agleam side, close defender Zack Martin volition instrumentality aft a week connected the COVID list. But the team’s apical 3 violative linemen — Collins, Martin, and near tackle Tyron Smith — won’t play unneurotic until astatine slightest precocious October. Backup lineman Ty Nsekhe spent Thursday nighttime successful the infirmary with a heat-related unwellness and volition besides miss Sunday’s game.
The portion whitethorn person its hands afloat with a Chargers defence that includes extracurricular linebacker Joey Bosa. “As talented arsenic immoderate of those tackles are — Tyron Smith and institution — Joey Bosa tin wreck a crippled astatine times,” said Washburn. “So if that means putting a choky extremity successful astatine times to spot him oregon a moving backmost hanging successful for immoderate other extortion to springiness Dak that other second, I deliberation that those are each things you tin employment to woody with a premier borderline rusher similar Joey Bosa. But I besides I bash consciousness similar there’s endowment astatine that tackle position, astatine slightest connected 1 side, to beryllium capable to negociate that one-on-one matchup implicit the people of the game.”
The Chargers defence constricted a so-so Washington offense that played overmuch of Week 1 down backup QB Taylor Heinicke. Part of that occurrence comes from a Brandon Staley strategy that provides antithetic looks. The Los Angeles Rams defense, which helium led past season, would rotate retired of what seemed similar a walk defence to halt the run. Still, WFT moving backmost Antonio Gibson piled up 90 yards connected the ground. The Prescott-led Cowboys, should they opt for a much balanced onslaught this week, could beryllium a stiffer test.
There’s immoderate endowment connected this Chargers unit, speech from Bosa. Safety Derwin James, a 2019 Pro Bowl selection, has returned to the secondary aft missing each of past season. Linebacker Uchenna Nwosu takes implicit for Melvin Ingram, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers this past offseason. And Michael Davis takes implicit the apical country spot.
The Chargers discourtesy is generating a batch of excitement down past season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert. He finished past play sixth successful passing yards, with 4,336 and 10th successful touchdown passes with 31. And fixed his 337-yard outing successful Week 1 (that featured plentifulness of receiver drops), he’s connected his mode to different beardown season. Keenan Allen, his favourite target, caught 100 passes for 992 yards and 8 TDs successful 2020. Their fig 2 wide receiver, Mike Williams, is besides dangerous. The brace combined for 17 catches and 182 yards against the WFT past week. Austin Ekeler is elusive retired of the backfield and heavy progressive successful the passing crippled arsenic well.
It remains to beryllium seen if this much-maligned Cowboys defence tin dilatory Herbert and company. Tom Brady torched them for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns successful Week 1.
“This is simply a defence that’s trying to rebound from a mates of challenging seasons,” Washburn noted. “And look, they were tested retired of the gross with arguably the champion squad successful the NFL close present successful the Tampa Bay Bucs. And they were capable to marque immoderate plays, and you saw immoderate flashes, contempt the eventual people and yardage output that was beauteous eye-opening. But I deliberation that’s conscionable a merchandise of the caller NFL. I deliberation there’s capable endowment defensively for Dallas to beryllium a coagulated capable defence to enactment with what could beryllium an explosive offense, and that should proceed against L.A. connected Sunday.”
They’ll person to unrecorded up to that imaginable without antiaircraft extremity DeMarcus Lawrence. He broke his ft successful signifier this week and volition beryllium retired for six to 8 weeks. Fellow starting antiaircraft extremity Randy Gregory volition besides apt miss the crippled aft investigating affirmative for COVID. The Cowboys person nary backmost sacks truthful acold this play and whitethorn conflict to get to Herbert this week. Dallas’s secondary is besides suspect, a occupation that carries implicit from past season. And a deficiency of walk unreserved volition exposure it further. Trevon Diggs is simply a coagulated capable country connected 1 side, but Anthony Brown and slot country Jourdan Lewis tin beryllium attacked for bully gains.
The Cowboys play the Chargers Sunday, September 19 @ 4:25 p.m. ET connected CBS.