The Good: Got a win today, so that was good and goes without saying... but I said it anyway.
1. A Good Game Plan: Coming into the game, with Dallas's defense as it is, the team couldn't really afford a shootout. It would lead to too many passes, that regardless of who you have at quarterback would expose his tendencies in that game and expose him to injury. In this the game plan to throw a lot which worked reasonably well against Tampa Bay wouldn't work against the Chargers... particularly where the Chargers were vulnerable. That would mean running the ball and trying to control the clock. And it would seem that a run heavy scheme was planned and thankfully the game never got out of hand and thus we never had to abandon it.
2. Zeke and Pollard: Coming off of point one... these two had a huge day and did a lot to keep the offense going with huge runs, and particularly Pollard in the second half. Pollard had 109 yards (8.4 yards per carry) and Zeke had 16 carries, 71 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and both had touchdowns That's a good day on the ground.
3. Turnovers: This played a big role in the win and largely saved the defense in this game. Particularly Kazee's INT, which was in the end zone.
4. Red Zone Offense in the 1st Quarter: Two appearances, two touchdowns. That's good.
5. Preventing touchdowns: Outside of the two interceptions... there wasn't a lot that was good that came out of the defense. The Chargers never punted and spent much of the game half going up and down the field... and largely at will. But aside from the one touchdown in the first quarter... the defense managed to limit the damage to field goals. Now, much of this was helped along by Chargers penalties, but by limiting the Chargers to field goals the 14 points scored in the first quarter was enough to ensure the 6 points in the second half secured the win.
1. The defense outside of those interceptions: They had their moments where they played well on certain drives, but outside of those INTs the defense was largely on its back foot the entire game and allowed the Chargers to move the ball at will on it. The only thing that saved the defense from giving up touchdowns was a lot of sloppy play on the part of the Chargers. We weren't forcing 4th downs so much as the Chargers committed penalties that made the line to gain too far to reach in four downs or literally took points off the board.
2. Penalties: It may seem odd to include penalties as a part of the "bad" category when Chargers penalties were a big part of what helped the defense. But there is some context to this. See: LA Chargers vs. Dallas, Team Comparison - Yahoo Sports, and note that while we had only 8 penalties to the Chargers 12, we also gave the Chargers 4 first downs by penalty. This included a roughing the punter penalty on the only time the defense managed to get the Chargers' punting unit onto the field.
3. The refs: They fall into this one too... not so much for missing calls on penalties, though that sort of thing happens from time to time and there could be legitimate arguments for it. But for completely missing the fact that Herbert was not DOWN in the fourth quarter on the last Chargers drive. Yes, Parsons got to him, but Herbert had not been tackled and threw the ball away as he was hit. That play should have been an incomplete pass and not a 18 yard sack, and both Romo and Nantz said as much in the booth.
The Dak: Statistically the day wasn't as good as week one. He had fewer yards, no touchdowns, and a pick... but he still did a lot that was good in the game. At 23/27 he was largely effective with his pass completing 85% of them and moving the ball, and this included some good throws to Lamb through the game and then Zeke and Cooper on the final drive. And even with a backup offensive tackle in, he was mostly quick to get the ball out. In this, while things may not have been dazzling, Dak was certainly effective with what he needed to do.