Thu, 20 Jun 2019

Chargers flash pass rush without Bosa

Sports Xchange
18 Sep 2018, 14:45 GMT+10

The San Diego Chargers' defensive line was dominant -- even with standout pass rusher Joey Bosa sidelined because of a bruised foot -- in a 31-20 victory on Sunday over the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y.

After finishing with just one sack in a season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs a week earlier, the Chargers redeemed themselves with five sacks and constant pressure on Bills quarterback Josh Allen, a rookie making his first NFL start.

The leader of the sack pack was Melvin Ingram with 1,5 sacks and three quarterback hits.

"I feel like we got good pressure, but we can always have more," Ingram said. "We have to get back in the lab and keep practicing. We still have to try and get to the quarterback. If every passing play isn't a sack, we can always get more."

Rookie safety Derwin James contributed a sack -- his second in two games -- and led the Chargers in tackles with eight. He added two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit and a pass breakup.

"Derwin is a phenomenal athlete," Chargers cornerback Desmond King said. "That guy is freakish out there (coming) off the edge rushing and dropping back in coverage. I think once he gets the hang of it, he's going to be a great player.

"I was was everywhere," James told the team's website. "I played a couple reps at free (safety). I played a couple reps at strong (safety), I played a couple reps at linebacker. I was just everywhere."

Ingram joined in the sack party, as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley unleashed the rookie safety out of Florida State.

Chargers rookie second-round draft choice Uchenna Nwosu produced the first sack of his career on the Bills' opening drive. One of the pressures also resulted in an interception by linebacker Kyzir White.

"Kyzir, his game and his talents speak for themselves," King said. "He's out there as a linebacker running out there with the tight ends and receivers just making plays. That's what we expect from the young guys and I'm pretty sure they're going to keep growing throughout the season."

There was no word on Monday when Bosa might return. That leaves the young players to persevere until he does come back.

"I thought this week in practice, those guys looked better," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. "They looked faster, and just learning our system is what they're doing. This is about the time you see those rookies come on. They understand the speed of the NFL game right about now. You saw it in practice and it showed up in the game."

--RB Melvin Gordon match a career high with three touchdowns. He rushed for 66 yards on 15 touches. He passed Don Woods (4,045) for the 10th-most scrimmage yards by a running back in Chargers history. He also moved into solo possession for sixth in career receptions by a running back in Chargers history, passing Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles.

--RB Austin Ekeler ran for a career-high 77 yards against the Bills on 11 carries, averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Ekeler also chipped in through the air, catching three passes for 21 yards. teammate Russell Okung said. "They are an incredible one-two punch."

--QB Philip Rivers' first incompletion did not come until 8:37 remained in the first half Sunday. He connected on eight more throws in a row on the way to the Vikings' first win of the season.

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