By Dave Thomas
After a heartbreaking 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on the road this past Sunday, the San Diego Chargers look to right the ship this Sunday when they host the Dallas Cowboys.
The loss for San Diego in Nashville was especially disappointing given that the Chargers had the lead until the final :15 of the game.
As Jake Locker threw for the game-winning TD pass, San Diego (1-2) saw its second loss of the season in the final moments of a game. Just two weeks earlier, the Chargers dropped their home opener in disappointing fashion, losing 31-28 to Houston on a Randy Bullock field goal with :06 remaining in the contest.
So, what can Charger fans expect this Sunday when the NFC East leading Cowboys (2-1) come to town?
For starters, expect Dallas to look to use the run game behind running back DeMarco Murray, who has rushed for 286 yards and a touchdown through three games to date.
Through the air, the Cowboys are led by veteran QB Tony Romo, who has thrown for nearly 800 yards and six touchdowns through three games. Romo’s top receiving threat is wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has tallied 201 receiving yards and a pair of scores to date.
Dallas scored early and often in rolling to a 31-7 win over St. Louis this past Sunday, giving the Cowboys the NFC East lead. With Washington and the New York Giants both 0-3, and with Philadelphia 1-2, the Cowboys can continue to lead the division with a win against the Chargers this coming weekend.
Can San Diego Run on Dallas?
In the win over the Rams, Dallas amassed nearly 400 yards of total offense while holding St. Louis to 35 yards on the ground on only 12 carries.
That last statistic could be worrisome for the Bolts, especially given the fact that starting running back Ryan Mathews was once again average at best in the team’s loss in Nashville Sunday.
Mathews, who has yet to establish himself as one of the NFL’s elite backs, was held to 58 yards rushing on 16 carries in the contest.
After compiling more than 500 yards of total offense in a win at Philadelphia the prior weekend, the Chargers were held to 275 total yards in the loss to Tennessee. If Dallas is able to shut down San Diego’s run attack (Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Danny Woodhead etc.), the Bolts could be in for a long afternoon.
Defensively, Dallas was led in the win over the Rams by DeMarcus Ware (five tackles, two sacks) and Justin Durant (six tackles).
Dallas leads the all-time series with San Diego 6-3, though the Chargers captured the last contest between the two teams in 2009, a 20-17 victory in Texas.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.