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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Cowboys
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The San Diego Chargers return home to Qualcomm Stadium after two consecutive road games when they host the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys. Kickoff is set for 1:25pm.
A Look Back At Last Week
The Chargers fell to the Tennessee Titans 20-17. The Bolts led nearly the entire game but Jake Locker drove the Titans 94 yards in 10 plays and 1:50, capping the drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left in the game. San Diego was without a number of key starters due to injury, including right tackle D.J. Fluker, wide receiver Malcom Floyd, inside linebacker Donald Butler and cornerback Shareece Wright. During the game, the Chargers lost both left guard Chad Rinehart and left tackle King Dunlap.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Philip Rivers is one of the hottest players in the entire NFL through the first three weeks of the season. The leader of the offense has completed 70 of 100 passes (70 percent) for 798 yards, eight touchdowns and a rating of 116.2. Among all NFL starting QBs, he ranks second in touchdowns and passer rating, and third in completion percentage. He’s aided by a potent three-headed rushing attack comprised of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. Mathews, the Chargers’ eighth all-time leading rusher with 2,640 career yards, leads the team with 164 yards on 45 carries. Meanwhile, Woodhead leads the team with 17 catches this season and Brown scored the team’s first rushing touchdown of the season against the Titans.
On Offense for the Cowboys
Like the Chargers and Philip Rivers, the Cowboys have received standout play from Tony Romo so far this year. The Cowboys QB ranks second in the league in completion percentage (72.2 percent), is tied for fourth in touchdowns (six) and ranks fifth in passer rating (103.9). His top target is Dez Bryant, but four different Cowboys have at least 15 catches this season, including Bryant (17 catches – 201 yards -2 TDs), Jason Witten (16-149-2), DeMarco Murray (16-116) and Miles Austin (15-125).
On Defense for the Chargers
Defensive Coordinator John Pagano’s unit aims to limit the damage of Romo and company behind the leadership of Eric Weddle. The All-Pro safety leads the team with 24 tackles, nine of which came last week in
On Defense for the Cowboys
Entering his 48th year of coaching, Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin is in his first year with the Cowboys, and the team is reaping the rewards. The architect of the famous Tampa 2 defensive scheme, Dallas ranks second against the run, ninth in points against and 13th in total defense. Leading the way is perennial Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware, who already has four sacks this season, as well as Bruce Carter with a team-high 19 tackles.
The Chargers and Cowboys will meet for just the 10th time in the regular season when they face off on Sunday. Dallas leads the all-time series, 6-3, but the Chargers have won two of the last three, with both wins coming in Dallas (2001 and ’09). The Chargers are just 1-4 all-time against Dallas in games played in San Diego.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 11th in total offense (359.7 yards per game), 12th in passing (257.0 ypg), 18th in rushing (102.7 ypg) and ninth in points (26.0). The Cowboys rank 15th in total offense (348.3 ypg), 18th in passing (242.7 ypg), 16th in rushing (105.7 ypg) and fifth
Defensively, the Bolts rank 31st in total defense (470.7 ypg), 32nd in passing (340.7 ypg), 28th in rushing (130.0 ypg) and 23rd in points allowed (27.0). Dallas ranks 13th in total defense (341.0 ypg), 22nd in passing (274.7 ypg), second in rushing (66.3 ypg) and ninth in points allowed (18.3).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers comes into Sunday’s game with 197 career touchdown passes, needing just three to become the 34th quarterback in NFL history with 200 career TD strikes.
Rivers also needs four touchdown passes to reach 201 and tie John Hadl for second- most in team history.
Rivers has started 115 consecutive games, the NFL’s second-longest streak among active quarterbacks behind Eli Manning’s 130.
Rivers threw for 419 yards on Sept. 15 in Philadelphia, the fourth 400-yard game of his career. He needs two more 400-yard games to tie Fouts’ franchise record of six.
Antonio Gates and Rivers have combined for 57 career touchdowns, most in NFL history for a quarterback-tight end tandem. They connected on their 57th together in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game in Tennessee.
Gates has 655 career catches and needs seven to tie Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome (662) for fourth-most by a tight end in NFL history.
Malcom Floyd is 10th on the Chargers’ all-time receiving list with 4,133 career yards. He needs 51 more to catch Tony Martin and move into a tie for ninth place.
Ryan Mathews (2,640 career rushing yards) ranks eighth on the Chargers’ all-time rushing list and he needs 58 more rush yards to catch Keith Lincoln (2,698), the Chargers’ seventh all-time leading rusher.
Fozzy Whittaker is sixth in the NFL with a 26.0-yard average on kickoff returns.
Playing for Jacksonville in 2010, cornerback Derek Cox had a career-high two interceptions against the Cowboys.
Chargers tight end John Phillips was drafted by the Cowboys in the sixth round in 2009 and played four seasons (2009-12) in Dallas.
Defensive end Sean Lissemore was picked by Dallas in the seventh round in 2010 and he played three seasons (2010- 12) for the Cowboys. The Chargers acquired him in exchange for a conditional draft pick in early September.
Kicker Nick Novak spent a brief time on the Cowboys’ roster in 2005.
The Chargers have two players who played collegiately in the state of Texas, Fozzy Whittaker (Texas) and Bront Bird (Texas Tech), while Texas natives include Bird (Odessa), Whittaker (Houston) and Jeromey Clary (Mansfield).
Dallas’ roster includes former San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar and former Aztecs defensive tackle Jerome Long.
FOX Sports (Fox 5 in San Diego) – Kenny Albert(play-by-play), Darryl Johnston (analyst)and Tony Siragusa (sidelines)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)
All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage after the game ends.
For a unique, one-of-a-kind look at the Chargers, be sure to tune in each week to Chargers Insider on Fox Sports San Diego. The half-hour program will be the go-to destination for fans that want behind-the-scenes coverage and unique features on the team. Chargers Insider airs Thursday at 10 p.m. PT as well as Saturday at 11:35pm on KFMB, Channel 8.