The Los Angeles Chargers displayed bright spots when regarding its second year wideout in Joshua Palmer showing flashes of becoming a dynamic offensive weapon while starters rested.
Palmer played two quarters finishing with three receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown, showcasing his speed on an 18-yard score off a designed screenplay and great body control on a contested 41-yard grab down the left sideline.
“I thought that Josh played well tonight,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said of Palmer. “I felt him tonight. … I felt like he had a really good week of practice against these guys. Separation, moving around, I think that he’s playing with confidence, and that’s why we wanted to get him in these games in the preseason — we know that he’s a starting-caliber player, but I think that he can gain a lot of confidence.”
Even with the success on offense, it was the Dallas Cowboys who had an electric weapon of their own in KaVontae Turpin, who led the team to a 32-18 victory over the Chargers on Saturday night at SoFi Stadium in week two of the preseason.
Turpin, the former USFL MVP has made the most of his opportunities since joining Dallas in late July and immediately electrified the entire stadium after a 98-yard kickoff return TD in the first quarter and then an 86-yard punt return TD in the second period.
“It’s been a crazy year, you know. I’ve been playing football all year round, so I haven’t got a chance to get my body back,” said Turpin, who went undrafted in 2019. “I’m just happy for this opportunity the Cowboys gave me after the USFL to come out here and show everybody what I can do, prove to myself I belong in this league.”
“Obviously, he had a very successful run there with the USFL, but really from the first day of practice, I mean, he came in and I was really impressed with the way he picked up the receiver play and the language,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “But you can see he’s dynamic in the return game. Two excellent big plays set the tempo.”
Cowboys play callers Cooper Rush and Will Grier both led first-half drives that were capped with rushing scores from Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis. Dowdle rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries and Davis finished with 37 yards on eight carries as Dallas led 29-10 at halftime.
“It was a really poor first half for us. About as poorly as you can play and that really put us behind. I didn’t like the way that the first half felt or looked. It was really in all three phases,” Staley said. “When you have two turnovers and you give up two special teams touchdowns, that’s the way the score is gonna look.”
“They’re going to learn that the entire NFL is watching, and we’re watching the entire NFL,” Staley said of the team’s underwhelming performance. “That’s why these games are important when you’re playing. You need to make sure that you perform, or else we’ll find someone else who can.”
Chargers backup quarterback Easton Stick started the first half and threw for 134 yards while connecting with Palmer for two highlight plays. Chase Daniel took the field in the second half for Los Angeles and found Michael Bandy on a one-yard score late in the fourth quarter to make the final score 32-18.
Chargers rookie fourth-round running back Isaiah Spiller tweaked his ankle late in the second quarter and was unable to return while the team struggled as a whole to get the run game going.
“It’s all 11 guys, but all five running backs didn’t do much tonight,” said Staley, as the team rushed for only 77 yards. “I don’t think any of the five of them played very well. We’ll have to look at it, but just being out there on the field, I didn’t think any of the five played very well tonight.”
The Chargers will close out its preseason play on the road against the New Orleans Saints on Friday at 5:00 p.m.