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Cowboys offense stumbles against Chargers

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POSTED: Sunday, August 21, 2011 - 9:54pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:23pm

Tony Romo was sharp. Philip Rivers was sharper. And the most accurate guy of all was San Diego coach Norv Turner.

Rivers led San Diego to scores on two of his three drives, then Turner helped his club score another touchdown with two successful challenges on a single series in the Chargers' 20-7 preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

Romo was 8 of 12 for 58 yards, plus a little bit of what the Cowboys (1-1) love to see (a scrambling 6-yard touchdown pass to a sliding Jason Witten) and hate to see (an interception on a deep throw he never should've made).

Felix Jones stood out most among Dallas' offensive starters, darting and dashing 56 yards on seven carries.

San Diego safety Eric Weddle, who recently received a $40 million, five-year contract, intercepted Romo's wayward pass. For Dallas, pass-rushing star DeMarcus Ware had a sack of Rivers when the Chargers were facing first-and-goal from the 7.

The most exciting play of the night didn't even count.

On a third-and-1 in the second half, Dallas running back Phillip Tanner fought for a first down near the line of scrimmage and got his helmet pried off, yet kept going and turned it into a 23-yard touchdown run. Alas, a new rule says plays are dead when a ball carrier loses a helmet; worse still for the Cowboys, an illegal shift wiped out the gain and shoved them back 5 yards.

This game marked the third time in four days these clubs squared off, as they practiced together Thursday and Friday. There didn't appear to be any built-up hostilities, perhaps because of the good vibes between the coaches. Turner was among the most impressionable mentors on Dallas coach Jason Garrett.

Turner must not have shared all his secrets. Garrett went 0 for 1 on challenges.

The Cowboys now prepare to head North when they face the Vikings Saturday.

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