The Dallas Cowboys took care of business and bounced back from an embarrassing measuring stick game to seal the deal, defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 20-17.

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Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers Highlights

Here are some highlights from the game:

  • CB Stephon Gilmore sealed the win with an interception — his second of the season.
  • WR Brandin Cooks scored his first touchdown as a Dallas Cowboys on a 2-yard pass.
  • RB Tony Pollard had a 60-yard catch, which is the largest for the Cowboys’ offense this season.
  • CB DaRon Bland got a clutch pass deflection on a Chargers fourth down.
  • QB Dak Prescott had an 18-yard touchdown run.


The Cowboys’ Offense Continues To Struggle

Despite the win, the Cowboys’ offense continues to be the worrisome unit for the team.

The issue is the need for more efficiency in getting down the field and scoring. Their lack of production on third downs wasn’t great. They were 5-of-13 for the night.

This is the second week in a row this is an issue for the Cowboys and the second time it prevented them from getting into the red zone. The Cowboys were 2-for-4 in the red zone for the night, so the production needs to be better overall.

The unit had 96 rushing yards in 26 attempts, showing their struggle to establish the run, which will be problematic down the road.

If the Cowboys’ offense can’t keep up with the defense, they will wear them down, making them less explosive and compelling.

MORE: NFL Offense Rankings 2023

The offense must find a way to match the defense’s energy.

Is Mike McCarthy’s Time Management an Issue?

One of the most significant conversations that will come out of this game is HC Mike McCarthy’s time management.

This was noticeable before halftime when the Cowboys’ offense had eight seconds left on the clock from inside the 20-yard line. Instead of having the offense take a shot in the end zone, McCarthy opted to kick the field goal.

There was some confusion after the play clock went from eight to three seconds, but during the ESPN broadcast, it was explained that the scoreboard operator jumped the gun and stopped the clock, thinking McCarthy would take a timeout to have the offense take another shot in the end zone.

The refs asked McCarthy if he wanted to take the timeout, and he declined, allowing the clock to run down to three seconds. 

Dallas kicker Brandon Aubrey made the 32-yard field goal, making the score 10-7 at halftime. But, with the game coming down to the wire within the final two minutes, this could have been a difference-maker if the defense didn’t respond to the Chargers’ last drive.

There is no doubt that this will be something that McCarthy is questioned on during the week — regardless of the win — and if it was his call or a call by the team’s analysis department.

Penalties Continue To Be an Issue

The Cowboys had 11 penalties for 85 yards during the game, which is the second-most for the team so far this season. This was a highly penalized game by the officials for both the Cowboys and Chargers — it was also the Chargers’ second-most penalized game of the season. 

However, pre-snap penalties have been an issue for the Cowboys all season and have created self-inflicted wounds. If this were a loss, fingers would have pointed directly at the number of penalties during the game. McCarthy said pre-snap penalties are holding the team back, and they have to get better at cleaning them up.

A clean game can only help a team that struggles to play at the same level in all three phases. While a win is a win, there are many things the Cowboys can clean up and work on during their bye week.

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