Thanksgiving Recap: Chargers stifle the Cowboys

The game initially went the way just about every Chargers game this year has: a frustrating start defined by an inability to capitalize on golden opportunities that was capped off by kicker Nick Novak injuring himself on an early field goal miss.

After the sluggish first half in which the Chargers defense was lights out and the offense moved the ball up and down the field but scored just three points, they came out on fire in the second half. Philip Rivers silenced any remaining critics from early in the season with a dominant performance, throwing for 434 yards and three touchdowns. Keenan Allen erupted for 172 yards and a touchdown and the defense had an all around dominant effort in the Chargers' first Thanksgiving game in nearly 50 years.

Dak Prescott was shut down just a few days after he made his comments about how the Chargers defensive front wasn't "the most talented" and the Cowboys scored just 6 points. Rookie cornerback Desmond King recorded his first career interception, a late pick six of Prescott that sealed the game. Hunter Henry re-emerged and caught all five of his targets for 76 yards and a touchdown, again showing off the incredible efficiency of throwing to him. Henry continues to demonstrate what a special player he is and why the Chargers need to make more of an effort to get him involved. The Chargers are now 5-1 this season when Henry gets at least five targets, and 0-5 when he doesn't.

The defense sacked Prescott twice but was in his face all afternoon, doing a great job getting pressure. Just about the only disappointment was Melvin Gordon, who struggled yet again. Against a Cowboys run defense that's been getting shredded all season, Gordon managed just 65 yards on 21 carries. Gordon continues to show a startling lack of vision and looks hampered by injuries. It won't be a surprise to see Austin Ekeler, who had several nice catches, continue to eat into his workload.

Now at 5-6, the Chargers are in the thick of the wildcard race and are serious threats to win the division with the way Kansas City has been playing recently. The Chargers also have the benefit of a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way, including hosting the Browns next week on extended rest. Three of their final five are at home, and if the Chargers can avoid getting in their own way too much, they have a very good chance to make the playoffs.


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