SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 18: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 and head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys talk things over during a Cowboy drive in the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on August 18, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 28-20. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
The first six quarters of the 2012 preseason gave Cowboys’ fans plenty of optimism about the defense. Dallas outscored two opponents 13-0 during those six quarters.
Then came the second half of Saturday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers. Stephen McGee committed two turnovers in the fourth quarter that led to two San Diego touchdowns, as the Chargers came from behind to beat Dallas, 28-20.
There were still plenty of positives for the Cowboys. Tony Romo led the starters on a 15-play drive in the first quarter, resulting in a field goal. Kyle Orton came in during the second quarter and led the team on its first touchdown drive of the preseason. His 35-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree set up a two-yard touchdown by Jamize Olawale.
The touchdown drive was set up by an interception by new cornerback Brandon Carr, who also had a second pick later in the second quarter. The second pick nearly set up more points, but Orton’s pass to Andre Holmes was tipped in the air and picked off (narrowly, but confirmed under review).
The Cowboys continued to lead until the fourth quarter. Charlie Whitehurst threw two touchdown passes during that quarter as the Chargers grabbed a 28-13 lead. Rudy Carpenter led Dallas on a late drive and threw a touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris.
Rookie Cole Beasley of SMU had a standout night, catching seven passes for 104 yards. He appears to be a long-shot to make the roster, but he had a night to remember on Saturday.
Dallas has its first home preseason game against the Rams on Saturday, August 25.