Everything we know about Chargers’ 20-17 loss to Cowboys

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The Chargers and Cowboys went back and forth through all four quarters, but it was Dallas who came out victorious after kicker Greg Zuerlein hit the game-winning field goal from 56 yards out.

To recap the Week 2 matchup, here is everything we know:

It was over when….

Zuerlein connected from 56 yards out as time expired.

Keys of the game

The Chargers were penalized 12 times for a total of 99 yards.

The offense was 1-of-4 in the red zone.

The defense gave up 198 yards rushing.

4 stars of the game

RB Austin Ekeler: 108 yards from scrimmage

WR Mike Williams: 7 catches for 91 yards

WR Keenan Allen: 4 receptions for 108 yards

CB Asante Samuel Jr: 3 passes defensed

Quick hitters

The Chargers produced 408 total yards, but they left some points on the table due to the interceptions, penalties (both the givens and head-scratchers) and poor execution in the red-zone, primarily from a play-calling standpoint.

Outside of the interceptions, Herbert did well to keep the team in the game by keeping drives alive on late-down situations.

Austin Ekeler was a lot more active in the passing game after putting up a goose egg in that category last weekend, finishing with nine catches for 61 yards.

Justin Jackson saw more in action than he did last weekend and made the most with his carries, totaling 21 yards on four attempts.

Rashawn Slater followed up a phenomenal debut with another outstanding performance, both in pass protection and in the run-blocking department. Meanwhile, Storm Norton struggled against rookie Micah Parsons for the majority of the game.

Justin Jones’ absence was felt, as the Chargers had no answer for the Cowboys rushing attack. Coming into the game, I knew the lack of interior defensive line was concern but Dallas quickly exploited it and stuck with the ground game, finishing with 198 yards and two touchdowns.

Facing a backup right tackle in Terrence Steele, I figured Joey Bosa would be in a position to produce a monstrous game but the second-year player held his own for the majority of the contest. Bosa turned it up towards the end, but he still finished without a sack.

Like I said last week, I don’t like to blame the referees but they were factors in the outcome of this game. Like Tony Romo, the color commentator on the call, said, it was a “good game,” but one with “too many penalties.”

I think we all agree that the taunting penalties in high leverage situations are are outrageous.

On the illegal shift penalty that nullified the touchdown pass to Jared Cook, the refs saw that Cook was in motion while Mike Williams took a step back and it was not held for a full second before the ball was snapped.

The sack call on Herbert, which forced the Bolts to settle for a field goal, will draw plenty of debates. However, it should have been called for intentional grounding since the throw was still short of the line of scrimmage with no one in the area. It still would not have beneficial since the offense would have lost yards and a down.

There were a couple of other non-penalty “what if” plays that could have been in favor of the Chargers, like what if Nasir Adderley came up with the interception in the end zone? On Herbert’s second interception in the end zone, what if Keenan Allen never slipped?

What’s next?

The Chargers are on the road to take on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday, Sept. 26 at 10:00 am PT.