San Diego Chargers
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The Dallas Cowboys did not play starters Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, or Jason Witten against the San Diego Chargers. That meant we saw Brandon Weeden, Joseph Randle, Terrance Williams, and James Hanna.
The Cowboys lost 27-7 in a game featuring no defense by the Cowboys. San Diego did not have a single incomplete pass until the beginning of the fourth quarter.
As you can see from the GIF, Hanna scored the Cowboys’ lone touchdown. Given the lack of other highlights, here is some trivia about Hanna:
- Hanna is one of two players from the University of Oklahoma on the Cowboys’ roster. The other is, of course, Murray. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have six players who played at Oklahoma State on the roster right now.
- The Cowboys selected Hanna in the 6th round (#186 overall) of the 2012 draft. He was among 12 tight ends taken in that year’s draft. Another of those tight ends was Ladarius Green, who had two receptions for the Chargers tonight.
- Hanna has never scored a touchdown in a regular season game, having caught just 20 career passes in two seasons. However, he did score seven touchdowns for the Sooners in 2010. That was the year that Weeden threw 34 touchdowns to the likes of Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State.
- This was Weeden’s first game since starting for the Cleveland Browns against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 1, 2013 in a 32-28 loss for the Browns.
- True or False? This was Hanna’s first preseason touchdown of his career.
- True or False? Hanna did not catch a single pass during the 2013 preseason.
The Cowboys are 2-2 for the third consecutive year. The team is 18-18 since the start of the 2011 season. Heck, the team is 130-130 since the 1997 season.
If everything in the NFL, and especially the NFC East, remains the same for the rest of the season, the Cowboys could make the playoffs even with an 8-8 record.
In fact, if the regular season ended today, the Cowboys would host a playoff game as the NFC East Champions. The team would play the Chicago Bears, who are currently 3-1.
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As for individual players, Tony Romo is on pace to 4,060 yards, which would mark the fourth season during the past five years where Romo would surpass the 4,000-yard mark.
Romo is also on pace to throw 32 touchdown passes with only 4 interceptions. (And the team will only finish with an 8-8 record?) Romo’s interception rate of 0.7% is lower than his total for any previous season. He also has a completion percentage of 72.4%.
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DeMarco Murray is on pace to rush for 1,424 yards. That would rank as the eighth-highest total in team history. It would also mark the first time since 2006 that a Dallas back has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark.
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Dez Bryant is on pace to catch 16 touchdown passes, which would break Terrell Owens’ record of 15 set in 2007. Bryant is on pace to have 1,128 receiving yards.
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Sean Lee now has eight career interceptions and two returns for touchdowns. He is clearly one of the biggest playmakers on the current team.
How does this total rank among other linebackers in team history?
Below is a list showing linebackers with at least 7 career interceptions.
Note that Lee is only on in his fourth season. By Jordan’s fourth season in 1966, he had only 5 career interceptions with 1 touchdown. Howley also had more interceptions later in his career and had only 8 picks during the first 6 years of his career, including 2 years in Chicago.
Philip Rivers dropped back to pass with the San Diego Chargers trailing the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 14-10.
Rivers tried to get the ball to Antonio Gates, but Jason Hatcher got to Rivers and caused the quarterback’s pass to pop up in the air.
Middle linebacker Sean Lee intercepted the pass and raced down the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown.
Dallas 21, San Diego 10.
The Cowboys then packed their bags and headed to the locker room. Perhaps they would shower and get ready to answer questions about their second consecutive win. Or maybe…
Well, maybe they might realize at some point that 73 seconds remained in the first half. That realization might have helped the Cowboys, because the team effectively stopped playing for those 73 seconds as well as the final 30 minutes of the second half.
From that point on, Rivers completed 21 of 23 passes and finished with 401 passing yards. The Chargers scored the last 20 points of the game to beat the Cowboys 30-21, dropping the Cowboys to 2-2 for the third consecutive season.
Need a reminder that the last two 2-2 starts ended up leading to 8-8 finishes? Nah.
Tony Romo did not look awful, completing 27 of 37 passes for 244 yards with 2 TDs to Dez Bryant.
Terrence Williams’ final stat totals were not bad as he started in place of Miles Austin. However, he botched an opportunity to keep the game close.
With less than three minutes remaining and Dallas trying to score from the San Diego 7, Romo hit Williams over the middle. Williams tried to reach for the goalline, but when he extended his arm, a San Diego defender knocked the ball out. The Chargers recovered and were able to kill most of the rest of the clock.
The loss was not Williams’ fault, though. This was just another team loss by a mediocre team that cannot find consistency when it needs it.
This team may have the talent to have a 4-0 record, but this team has no idea how to win games on a regular basis. Sean Lee can look like a beast, but that doesn’t mean the team has any idea how to cover Antonio Gates (10 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD).
Bryant may look unstoppable, but having Bryant does not improve the Cowboys’ statistic of going 3 of 9 on third-down conversions.
Perhaps the Cowboys come out of nowhere and beat the undefeated Broncos next week.
It’s possible, but there is also a good chance the Cowboys would follow up the win by blowing their game against the Redskins during the following week.
The Cowboys faced the San Diego Chargers on November 16, 1986. The player featured in the puzzle below led the Cowboys in rushing during that game.
1. What was the significance of this game to the Cowboys?
2. What was the significance of this game to the player in the puzzle?
provided by flash-gear.com
The Dallas Cowboys feel good about themselves after their 31-7 win over the St. Louis Rams last Sunday. The team can improve to 3-1 for the first time since 2008 with a win over the Chargers on Sunday.
It will require the Cowboys to win during week 4 for the first time since 2007.
Tony Romo has started during week 4 every season since 2007. The team’s record in those games is 1-5. He has thrown at least one interception during each of these week 4 games.
The week 4 games during the last three games were especially bad. He threw three picks against the Titans in 2010, three picks in a dreadful loss to the Lions in 2011, and five picks in a loss to the Bears last year.
Here is a complete list of those games:
Dallas 35, St. Louis 7
Romo: 21 of 33, 339 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int.
Washington 26, Dallas 24
Romo: 28 of 47, 300 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int.
Denver 17, Dallas 10
Romo: 25 of 42, 255 yards, 0 TD, 1 Int.
Tennessee 34, Dallas 27
Romo: 31 of 46, 406 yards, 3 TD, 3 Int.
Detroit 34, Dallas 30
Romo: 34 of 47, 331 yards, 3 TD, 3 Int.
Chicago 34, Dallas 18
Romo: 34 of 43, 307 yards, 1 TD, 5 Int.
Dallas record during week 4 since 2007: 1-5
Romo’s statistics: 173 of 258, 1938 yards, 13 TD, 14 Int.
In the weekly What-If Wednesday posts, we review some event (draft, game, or whatever) and consider what might have happened if history had been different. This week’s post focuses on the 1990 NFL Draft, where the Cowboys targeted USC linebacker Junior Seau.
In real life…
The 1988 Dallas Cowboys finished with a league-worst 3-13 record, giving the team the first overall pick in 1989 NFL Draft. Most knew the Cowboys would take quarterback Troy Aikman, and the team did so.
The team also took a chance in the supplemental draft that year by picking up another quarterback in Steve Walsh. The idea was that if Aikman had failed, the team might have a franchise QB in Walsh.
Aikman evolved into a franchise quarterback, but that took time. Meanwhile, the team finished with a 1-15 record and would have had the first overall pick in the 1990 draft. However, the team lost its pick because of its selection of Walsh. That meant that the first pick went to the Colts, who took Jeff George.
Most believe that the Cowboys would have taken USC linebacker Junior Seau, who went to the San Diego Chargers with the fifth pick overall. The Cowboys later traded up to get the #17 overall pick and took Florida running back Emmitt Smith. Not bad.
Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL but tragically died in 2012.
What if the Cowboys had drafted Seau?
1. The Cowboys would not have taken Walsh in the supplemental draft.
The Cowboys would have needed a high draft pick in 1990 to take Seau. This means that the Cowboys would have likely needed that first overall pick they lost because of the Walsh pick.
Walsh was the starting QB in the team’s only win in 1989. Of course, his numbers hardly suggest that the team would have lost without him. He completed 10 of 30 passes for 142 yards in the win over the Redskins.
2. The Cowboys would have taken Smith with the 17th overall pick.
The Cowboys traded a 1st and a 3rd pick to Pittsburgh to get the 17th overall pick. Even with the team taking Seau with the first overall selection, the Cowboys would have traded up to get Smith.
3. The Cowboys would not have had the 70th overall pick to take tackle Erik Williams in 1991.
The Cowboys traded Walsh to the Saints for three draft choices. One of these picks was the 70th overall selection in the 1991 draft, and the Cowboys took tackle Erik Williams.
Whether the Cowboys would have taken Williams at all is a good question. Williams came out of Central State in Ohio and was one of the great finds for any NFL team during the 1990s. Perhaps the Cowboys would get him in the 4th or 5th round, but the Cowboys would have had to grab him somewhere around the 97th pick.
The other picks received from the Walsh trade did not yield great results. The Cowboys traded the 14th pick from the Saints to the Patriots in exchange for 1st and 4th round picks. Dallas then traded down again to wind up with the 20th overall selection. However, the Cowboys were only able to pick up defensive lineman Kelvin Pritchett and linebacker Darrick Brownlow with those selections.
4. Seau would have been a major part of the dynasty years.
The Cowboys had some quality linebackers in Ken Norton, Dixon Edwards, Darrin Smith, and Robert Jones. However, Seau was significantly better than any of these players. The team would have had its core group of Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Daryl Johnston, Jay Novacek, Alvin Harper, Kevin Smith, Darren Woodson, Russell Maryland, Charles Haley, and so forth. Adding Seau to this mix would just make the team better.
5. Seau would have left via free agency.
The Cowboys did not put a high priority on signing linebackers during the championship years of the 1990s. The Cowboys let the likes of Ken Norton, Robert Jones, Vinson Smith, Darrin Smith, and Dixon Edwards leave via free agency.
Keeping Seau would have meant the team would have lost another player. This would have made it difficult for the team to sign Deion Sanders or keep some other stars during the mid-1990s.
My bet? Seau would have left via free agency after the 1995 season.
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In 2011, I wrote another piece asking what if the Cowboys had hired Norv Turner instead of Wade Phillips in 2007. Here is that article.
Some probably think that the playoff rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers began with The Catch in 1981.
Not true. The teams faced each other in the playoffs for three consecutive years from 1970 to 1972. Dallas beat San Francisco to reach Super Bowls V and VI.
In 1972, Dallas traveled to San Francisco for the third game in the series, and the Cowboys found themselves behind 28-13 heading into the fourth quarter.
This turned out to be Roger Staubach’s first miracle win, as he came off the bench to lead Dallas to a 30-28 win.
Staubach threw touchdowns to two receivers in the fourth quarter, but neither of these players played for the Cowboys after 1972.
The receiver who caught the game-winner was Ron Sellers, who played one more season with the Dolphins before his career ended.
The other receiver was our Most Obscure Player Award winner for 1972: Billy Parks.
Parks was a 6th-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1971. He had a productive rookie season, catching 41 passes for 609 yards for the Chargers, but he suffered a broken arm after 10 games.
The Cowboys finally had enough of running back Duane Thomas, and late in July of 1972, Dallas traded Thomas to San Diego for Parks and running back Mike Montgomery (yet another obscure player).
Parks only caught 18 passes for Dallas during the 1972 regular season, but he was a major factor in the win over the 49ers in the playoffs. He caught 7 passes for 136 yards and a score in what turned out to be his most productive game as a professional.
In May 1973, the Cowboys shipped Parks and former first-round pick Tody Smith to the Houston Oilers in exchange for a first-round pick and a third-round pick.
Those draft picks proved to be rather significant, as the Cowboys grabbed Ed “Too Tall” Jones in the first round of the 1974 draft and took punter/quarterback Danny White in the third round.
Parks had decent seasons in 1973 and 1974 with the Oilers but only caught one pass in 1975, his final year in the league.
His first catch as a sophomore was for a touchdown. When that season (1967) ended, Parks had caught79 passes for 1294 yards and 12 TDs. Injured much of his senior year, Parks finished with 169 career catches for 2919 yards and 22 TDs. After sitting out one season, Parks played five years in the NFL (San Diego, Dallas, Houston). He led the NFL in receiving in 10 games (41 catches) as a rookie in 1971 before being sidelined with a broken arm.
He unfortunately died of melanoma in 2009.
The first six quarters of the 2012 preseason gave Cowboys’ fans plenty of optimism about the defense. Dallas outscored two opponents 13-0 during those six quarters.
Then came the second half of Saturday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers. Stephen McGee committed two turnovers in the fourth quarter that led to two San Diego touchdowns, as the Chargers came from behind to beat Dallas, 28-20.
There were still plenty of positives for the Cowboys. Tony Romo led the starters on a 15-play drive in the first quarter, resulting in a field goal. Kyle Orton came in during the second quarter and led the team on its first touchdown drive of the preseason. His 35-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree set up a two-yard touchdown by Jamize Olawale.
The touchdown drive was set up by an interception by new cornerback Brandon Carr, who also had a second pick later in the second quarter. The second pick nearly set up more points, but Orton’s pass to Andre Holmes was tipped in the air and picked off (narrowly, but confirmed under review).
The Cowboys continued to lead until the fourth quarter. Charlie Whitehurst threw two touchdown passes during that quarter as the Chargers grabbed a 28-13 lead. Rudy Carpenter led Dallas on a late drive and threw a touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris.
Rookie Cole Beasley of SMU had a standout night, catching seven passes for 104 yards. He appears to be a long-shot to make the roster, but he had a night to remember on Saturday.
Dallas has its first home preseason game against the Rams on Saturday, August 25.