Turpin has kickoff, punt return TDs; Cowboys beat Chargers

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Dallas Cowboys' KaVontae Turpin celebrates as he returns a punt for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – KaVontae Turpin became the first player in nine seasons to have kickoff and punt return touchdowns in the same game, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Los Angeles Chargers 32-18 Saturday night.

Turpin signed with the Cowboys on July 28 after garnering MVP honors in the United States Football League this past spring. Before Turpin, the last player to run back a punt and kickoff in the same game — preseason, regular season or playoffs — was Detroit's Jeremy Ross on Dec. 8, 2013, against Philadelphia.

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“He’s so dynamic. You go back to his college days and clearly, in my opinion, he was the best player I saw in the USFL coming out," coach Mike McCarthy said of Turpin at halftime. "I’ve been so impressed with him since day one.”

After a 22-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins gave the Chargers a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter, Turpin returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.

Turpin got a nice wall of blockers in the middle of the field before getting into open space near the 40 and going untouched up the right sideline.

Dallas had a 29-10 lead at halftime after a pair of touchdowns in the final minute of the second quarter. That included Turpin's 86-yard punt return, where he eluded a tackle attempt from punt gunner Deane Leonard after fielding the ball, did a couple juke moves and then broke free for the score.

“I’m an exciting player, and every time I get the ball, there’s a big play waiting to happen. I’m happy to be here and take advantage of this opportunity,” said Turpin, who led the USFL in receiving yards and had the league's lone punt return for a TD.

Victor Bolden of the San Francisco 49ers was the last player to have a kickoff and punt return during the same preseason in 2017.

After two days of joint practices earlier in the week, both teams rested most of their starters. Dallas improved to 1-1 while the Chargers are 0-2.

Cooper Rush and Will Grier each directed first-half TD drives for the Cowboys, while Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis each had rushing scores. Dowdle finished as the game's leading rusher with 44 yards on 13 carries.

Easton Stick played the first half for the Chargers and connected with Joshua Palmer on a wide receiver screen for an 18-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Chargers a short-lived 10-7 advantage.


Chargers: RB Isaiah Spiller suffered an ankle injury during the second half and did not return.


Cowboys: Finish the preseason at home against Seattle on Friday.

Chargers: Travel to New Orleans for their preseason finale on Friday.


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