The LA Chargers have their first regular-season game in front of their home fans in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season against the Dallas Cowboys. After 12 months of behind closed doors competition the bolts fans get to witness Sofi stadium in all of its glory.
The Chargers will be feeling positive after opening the season with a win on the road against the Washington Football Team and their much praised defensive unit. Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off of a hard-fought loss against the defending Super Bowl Champions to open up the regular season last Thursday night.
Quarterbacks throwing bombs
Both sides had different question marks over their quarterbacks heading into week 1. The Chargers would have been keen to make sure there was no second year slump from Justin Herbert. The Cowboys were anxious to see if Dak Prescott was indeed fully recovered from his shoulder injury. So far so good!
Herbert and the offence were clicking against Washington. Herbert piled up 337 passing yards from his 31 completions to go along with a back shoulder touchdown throw to Mike Williams. New tight end Jared Cook made an instant connection with the signal caller collecting 56 yards on his 5 receptions and also hauling in Herbert’s longest completion of the day.
The best stat of the day however was the Chargers converting 14 of 19 3rd down plays meaning they dominated the time of possession.
Dak Prescott looked as though he had never been away as he torched the Tampa defense for over 400 yards through the air. 36 of his 42 completions went to either a tight end or a receiver which demonstrates the Cowboys ability to push the ball down the field.
Ezekiel Elliot may not like it, but he is becoming a bit of an after thought in this Cowboys attack. He was limited to just 11 carries and 2 targets in the passing game.
Parsons to become face of the defense?
Its never good news when your highest paid defensive player lands with a significant injury. Unfortunately for the Cowboys that is exactly what has happened with the news of a broken foot for DeMarcus Lawrence that will side line him for 6-8 weeks.
Does this mean more pressure firmly on the shoulders of first round draft choice Micah Parsons? There may have been some unfair criticism of Parsons debut against Tampa. Tom Brady has schooled many a seasoned linebacker, let alone a rookie making his debut. Parsons opted out oh his senior year also, so last week was his first significant action in some time .
Outside of the unwanted highlights was a steady performance from Parsons. He was on the field for 785 of the snaps and recorded 7 tackles, a quarterback hit and a pass deflection. These early season reps are vital for the learning experience that the Penn State product needs as he should become the 3 down linebacker that the Cowboys will want on the field all of the time.
Ekeler to out-do Zeke?
Austin Ekeler was supposed to break out in 2020. Injury did for him 12 months ago, but is the dimnutive running back primed for a big year in 2021?
He has already equalled his rushing touchdown from a season ago after reaching pay dirt on a 3 yard scamper to open the scoring against Washington last weekend. Rushing wise the Chargers were efficent enough as he was joined in the backfield by rookie Larry Rountree, who made a few nice plays himself.
It is in the passing game however that Ekeler can be a difference maker. Against a stout Washington defensive front he wasn’t involved in the passing game at all but I would expect to see potential double digit targets this week. Tom Brady made 10 pass attempts to his stable of backs in the match up against this Dallas defense a week ago, so look for Herbert to look for Ekeler early and often.
I mentioned on the podcast this week a number. That number was 1,151, the highest amount of combined yards in a NFL game in history. There is a chance it could be under threat this weekend here.
Both teams will have faith in their offensive units to over power their opposing defensive counterparts. If it does indeed become a shoot out we will get to see 2 of the very best young quarterbacks go toe to toe and both could rack up yardage with ease.
Surely the highest scoring game of the weekend? However has the ball last wins.
Cowboys 34, Chargers 40