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5 takeaways from the Chargers’ 28-6 win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving

The Chargers took care of business on the road.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the first Thanksgiving game for the Los Angeles Chargers since 1969, the visiting team spoiled the Dallas Cowboys’ 50th game on the holiday with a 28-6 beat down.

The score may have even been closer than the game, as the Chargers took just a 3-0 lead into halftime despite out-gaining Dallas 228 to 84 in yardage in the first half. But the floodgates opened in the second half, even if Los Angeles didn’t have a healthy kicker to work with.

Dak Prescott finished the game with 179 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions as the Chargers offense cruised to more than 500 total yards with Philip Rivers leading the way. The veteran quarterback has never played on Thanksgiving before 2017, but shined in his debut with 434 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Here are five things we took away from the Chargers’ victory:

1. Los Angeles looks like a potential playoff team

That’s five wins in the last seven games for the Chargers, who are looking good on offense again and dangerous on defense. The combination of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are harassing opposing quarterbacks, forcing big mistakes, and the Chargers are rolling right now.

In the AFC, the Wild Card berths currently belong to the 6-4 Titans and 5-5 Ravens with the 5-5 Bills in the mix too. Now at 5-6, the Chargers are nipping at the heels of the teams in the race and could potentially chase down the 6-4 Chiefs too if Kansas City continues to slip.

Up next for Los Angeles is a home game against the Browns that could get the Chargers back to .500. Mind your P’s and Q’s, Chiefs, the Chargers are playing good football again.

2. The Cowboys offense has vanished

Tyron Smith was back in action, but that wasn’t enough to get Dallas back on track. The Cowboys are without the contributions of Ezekiel Elliott and suffered the loss of three-time Pro Bowler Zack Martin to a head injury Thursday.

The Cowboys offense was already spiraling, but bottomed out on Thanksgiving with three scoreless quarters before finally getting into the end zone in the fourth quarter after the Chargers already jumped out to a 16-0 lead. It was the first touchdown for the Cowboys in more than 10 quarters.

The loss Thursday likely eliminates Dallas from postseason contention too in a conference as unforgiving as the NFC. The Eagles won’t be caught and the NFC Wild Card race is too competitive for a team has hapless as the 5-6 Cowboys to have a shot.

Postseason dreams died for good Thursday.

3. At least there’s Jason Witten

The 35-year-old tight end defines reliability and was Dak Prescott’s favorite safety valve Thursday with seven receptions for 44 yards. He already entered the game as the all-time leader in receptions on Thanksgiving and added the receiving yards record to his career résumé too.

He’s No. 4 all-time in receptions and No. 21 in receiving yards. His case for a spot in the Hall of Fame got strengthened just got a little bit more with another milestone Thursday.

4. The Chargers may have kicker problems to address

When Nick Novak got injured in the first quarter, he wasn’t available on the team’s second offensive drive.

Instead of trying a 33-yard field goal with emergency backup Drew Kaser, the Chargers went for a long fourth down and turned the ball over on downs deep in the red zone. Why the Chargers weren’t confident in Kaser wasn’t hard to figure out.

He missed the dang kicking net in his warm ups.

Novak returned and hurt himself more leading to Kaser getting a shot that he surprisingly nailed. That’s good for the Chargers, but he missed his next two kicks. More importantly, the team may need to add a new face to the mix with the already struggling Novak now hobbled.

5. Come on, just go for two

With Novak sidelined, Thursday became a reminder of just how stubborn NFL coaches are. It’s already mathematically smarter to go for two instead of kicking extra points and that’s with a healthy kicker.

For some reason, Anthony Lynn thought it was smarter to try three extra points with Kaser instead of just going for two. Los Angeles got 500 yards of total offense Thursday. Five hundred! Just go for two.

The Thanksgiving Turkey Leg Award Tradition