Chargers see TD chance taken away in bizarre sequence, blown call against Cowboys

Written By Edward Sutelan
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Chargers fans could not have been happy with the officials in the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles trailed the Cowboys 17-14 with 10:25 left in the game, and marched down the field all the way to the Dallas 2-yard line. It appeared the Chargers had taken a 20-17 lead when quarterback Justin Herbert found tight end Jared Cook for a 2-yard score, but multiple flags appeared shortly after the score: one for taunting and another for an illegal shift.

Dallas took the five-yard illegal shift penalty to negate the touchdown and move the Chargers back to the 7.

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But that wasn't all on that drive.

After an incompletion, Herbert was again chased in the backfield and appeared to get rid of the ball in time to avoid a sack, but officials ruled he had been sacked as he had already begun to fall backward. He had not yet hit the ground when the sack was called. The Chargers were spotted at the 25-yard line and moved just 14 yards back up the field and had to settle for a game-tying 29-yard field goal.

The following drive, the Cowboys marched down the field and sent Greg Zuerlein out to kick a walk-off 56-yard field goal to win the game, 20-17.

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It was certainly not the home opener Chargers fans wanted to see at SoFi Stadium. Herbert threw two interceptions and the team ran for a collective 95 yards, while allowing the Cowboys to rush for 198 yards.

The Chargers had built up momentum after falling behind 14-3 in the first quarter, with Herbert finding Mike Williams early in the second quarter for a 12-yard score. Austin Ekeler rushed for the 2-point conversion to make it a 14-11 game heading into halftime. Los Angeles tied the game at 14 with a field goal with 9:22 left in the third.

The loss to Dallas comes after another middling offensive performance in Week 1 as the Chargers won 20-16 against Washington, with Herbert going 31-for-47 with 337 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, and the team collectively rushing for just 90 yards.

On the Dallas sideline, it was a chance to pick up that first win of the season after coming up short in a 31-29 loss to the Buccaneers on "Thursday Night Football" to open the 2021 NFL season. Running back Tony Pollard had the big game for the Cowboys, rushing 13 times for 109 yards and a score while catching three passes for 31 yards.

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