Chargers grab lead thanks to Cowboys turnovers

Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) passes during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers in a preseason NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium.  

Jake Roth/Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers cashed in on two Dallas Cowboys fumbles to take a 14-7 lead into halftime at Qualcomm Stadium Thursday night.

On the Cowboys’ opening drive, quarterback Brandon Weeden mishandled a shotgun snap from center Travis Frederick that resulted in a 35-yard loss and Chargers ball at the Dallas 33. Six plays later, San Diego running back Danny Woodhead scored an eight-yard touchdown on third-and-4 to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead after the point after attempt.

"I was probably going to try to throw a slant to the right side, and snap was right there," Weeden told the Dallas Cowboys TV broadcast. "I need to catch it. Travis [Frederick] throws it back there pretty hard, which most quarterbacks like and just kind of went through my hands."

Dallas responded on their third drive when running back Gus Johnson, the starting back for the evening, rushed for a five-yard touchdown on first-and-goal.

On the next drive, Dallas forced a San Diego punt, and undrafted rookie receiver Lucky Whitehead returned the punt 19 yards, but coughed up the football. The Chargers recovered, and took a 14-7 lead three plays later off of a Brandon Oliver 10-yard scamper.

"I think coming out here and facing another opponent other than ourselves and the lights are on," said Weeden, who went 4/5 for 45 yards. "It means something. You know, you’re live. I feel like we handled everything pretty well. Overall, I don’t know how many plays we ran, but had some good successful plays and I thought our communication level was really good."

Second-year quarterback Dustin Vaughan completed 13 passes on eight attempts for 83 yards. Johnson carried the ball 11 times for 32 yards and a a touchdown. Devin Street led all receivers with three catches for 45 yards while tight end Gavin Escobar had two grabs for 33 yards.

Chargers first-round running back Melvin Gordon had six carries for 11 yards. Starting quarterback Philip Rivers went 2/2 for 20 yards.

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