Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry individually had outstanding games, leading the Los Angeles Chargers to a 28-6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday afternoon.
Allen finished with 11 receptions for 172 yards and one touchdown on the day.
"We had a great play call. I had a corner route," Allen explained about 42-yard touchdown catch and run. "The two men, they're playing inside and I'm outside. Obviously, that's a good play. Philip [Rivers] threw a great ball. After that, gotta make them miss and get into the end zone. I just know the safety was coming. Once I felt the safety, I broke out I had to get up field really fast. It was a matter of making those guys miss."
Desmond King intercepted a pass intended for Cole Beasley, and ran it back for 90 yard touchdown that sealed the deal in front of 93,015 fans at AT&T Stadium.
The Chargers (5-6) came off an impressive 54-24 win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday at Stub Hub Center. On a short week, the Chargers traveled to AT&T Stadium and faced the Cowboys (5-6), a team that has struggled offensively without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott. Alfred Morris is the Cowboys' primary running back, and averaged 6.2 yards per carry on the year. Morris had 17 carries a week ago for 91 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.
At one point in the season the Chargers had the second-worst run defense in the league. That stat was before the return of Denzel Perryman, who debuted in Jacksonville against the Jaguars with 8 tackles.
After a solid opening debut for the Chargers defense, quarterback Philip Rivers kept the opening drive alive with a 46-yard pass to Travis Benjamin for a crucial 1st down. Unable to continue the drive in the end zone, Chargers kicker Nick Novak missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.
Later in the opening quarter, Rivers found Keenan Allen for two bail-out catches, along with Hunter Henry's dynamic catch that kept the drive alive. With Novak out for two series due to a back injury, Los Angeles was unable to convert in the red zone on fourth down.
Outstanding defense by the Bolts allowed the offense to have one more chance before halftime to put points on the board. Rivers, in a series of passes to Allen and Henry, allowed them into the red zone for the third time, which proved to be the charm. The Bolts settled for a 22-yard field goal by Novak for the 3-0 lead late in the second quarter.
The first half was filled with penalties from both the Cowboys and Chargers and a highly contested defensive battle between both teams. Prescott was sacked twice and never got the Cowboys past midfield.
It was the first time the Cowboys have been shut out in the first half in five seasons.
Rivers found Austin Ekeler for a 38-yard catch that set off the drive. Two plays later Rivers found Allen on a skinny post route for the hard-fought first down. Eventually Rivers found Henry in the back of the end zone for the 3-yard touchdown pass and the 9-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
It was Henry's first touchdown since Oct. 8, as Los Angeles is 4-1 this season when Henry gets at least five targets, and 0-5 when he doesn't.
Dak Prescott ran for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a holding penalty by left tackle Tyron Smith. The Bolts defense buckled down and forced Dallas to punt on that drive.
Late in the third quarter, Rivers with great field vision found a sprinting Tyrell Williams for a 27 yard touchdown.
The Cowboys offense looked putrid for three quarters, as the Chargers defense continued to break their spirits. The only bright spot for the Cowboys was a 2-yard touchdown run up the middle by Rod Smith. However, they failed to score on the two-point conversion where Dallas still trailed 16-6 early in the final quarter.
The Cowboys (0-2) are one of three teams (excluding the Chargers) never to beat Philip Rivers, along with the 49ers & Giants (each 0-3).
Philip Rivers completed 27 of 33 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Hunter Henry finished with five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Hunter Henry finished with five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.
"We want Hunter involved every week like that," Rivers said. "It just didn't happen on a consistent basis. He was big today, especially early. Everybody contributed. It was a team effort. It's exciting."
Dak Prescott completed 20 of 27 passes for 179 yards and two interceptions in the loss. Morris finished with 9 carries for 36 yards.
The Chargers return home to face the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 3 at Stub Hub Center.