Chargers vs. Cowboys preview

The San Diego Chargers open the 2005 season at home against the Dallas Cowboys in hopes of defending their AFC West crown.

LEADER 5-2  
STREAKS 4 of past 5  
COACHES VS. OPP. Parcells: 4-1 Schottenheimer: 3-5
LAST GAME 9/23/01: Chargers 32 at Cowboys 21. San Diego QB Doug Flutie completes 23 of 38 passes for 353 yards & 2 TDs.
LAST GAME AT SITE 10/15/95: Cowboys 23, Chargers 9. Dallas RB Emmitt Smith rushes for 2 TDs while Cowboys WR Michael Irvin has 7 catches for 103 yards.
BROADCAST FOX (1:15 PM PT): Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Patrick O'Neal (Field reporter)
PASSING Bledsoe (Buff.): 256-450-2,932-20-16-76.6 Brees: 262-400-3,159-27(T3C)-7-104.8 (2C)
RUSHING J. Jones: 197-819-4.2-7 Tomlinson: 339-1,335-3.9-17 (1C)
RECEIVING Witten (TE): 87-980-11.3-6 Tomlinson (RB): 53-441-8.3-1
OFFENSE 324.8 347.0
TAKE/GIVE -15 +15 (3L)
DEFENSE 330.3 335.0
SACKS Ellis: 9.0 Foley: 10.0
INTs Newman: 4 D. Edwards: 5
PUNTING McBriar: 42.4 Scifres: 43.1
KICKING Cortez (WAS '02): 24 (9/9 PAT; 5/8 FG) Kaeding: 114 (54/55 PAT; 20/25 FG)

CHARGERS: Won AFC West last year with 12-4 record and aim for back-to-back division titles for the first time since 1979-81. Head coach Marty Schottenheimer has 11 Kickoff Weekend wins, most among active coaches.

Pro Bowl QB Drew Brees ranked 2nd in AFC with a 104.8 passer rating last yr and was named AP Comeback Player of Year.

Pro Bowl RB LaDainian Tomlinson has a rush TD in each of past 12 games and can tie the NFL record with a TD run in 13 consecutive (John Riggins, George Rogers). He led AFC with17 rushing TDs in '04 and needs 10 rush TDs this year to become only player in history with 10+ rush TDs in 1st five seasons. Rookie RB Darren Sproles tied for 4th-most catches in NFL in preseason (15).

WR Keenan McCardell has catch in 86 games in row. The offense posted NFL-best 69.8 TD pct. inside 20-yd line in '04.

The club had +15 turnover ratio in 2004, 3rd in NFL. LB Donnie Edwards led the team w/ith 151 tackles, five interceptions and 14 passes defensed in '04. LB Steve Foley had team-best 10.0 sacks in '04.

COWBOYS: Head coach Bill Parcells enters season with 165 career wins and needs six to pass Bud Grant (168) and Paul Brown (170) for 9th-most all-time.

QB Drew Bledsoe makes Cowboys debut after spending last three years with the Bills. He has 39,808 career passing yards & needs 192 to become 10th player in NFL history with 40,000..

RB Julius Jones rushed for 803 yards in the final seven games of '04, including three 149-yard+ performances. Joined Earl Campbell as only players in NFL history with three consecutive 30-carry games.

WR Terry Glenn teamed with Bledsoe from '96-'01 in New England, posting four 50-catch seasons. WR Peerless Price posted 94-catch, 1,252-yard season with Bledsoe with Bills in '02. WR Keyshawn Johnson has 8,917 career receiving yards and needs 83 for 9,000. Jason Witten set club TE records with 87 catches & 980 yards in '04.

DT Jason Ferguson joins club after spending previous eight years with Jets. Rookie 1st-round DE Marcus Spears makes NFL debut. CB Terence Newman seeks to lead club in interceptions for the 3rd consecutive year.

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