For the San Diego Chargers, the start to the 2016 NFL season was nothing short of a headache. They not only were dealing with a holdout from first-round pick Joey Bosa but also were off to a 1-4 start to the season, which featured the team losing by a total of just 14 points. It was brutal loss after brutal loss it seemed and early on, the Bosa thing didn’t seem to be improving at all. Fortunately, the Chargers and Bosa were able to come to an agreement, and the former Ohio State star was on the field for the 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders. That loss would wind up proving to be a springboard for two huge victories in the following two weeks.
After losing to the Raiders, the Chargers pulled out victories over two teams who were holding two of the best records in the NFL in the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. While Bosa signing hasn’t been the lone reason for the Chargers’ turnaround, it’s evident that how he’s been able to produce is changing the game a bit on that side of the ball.
Via NFL Research:
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 27, 2016
While Bosa was quiet in the 21-13 victory over the Broncos, he was a force against both the Raiders and Falcons. Between those two games, Bosa totaled 10 combined tackles and four sacks, quickly showing that he has the potential to be one of the best rushers in the NFL down the road.
Things with Bosa are fresh, but it’s exciting to see something on the defensive side of the ball coming together for the Chargers. After all, this is a team who’s allowing 26.4 points per game, with 366.4 total yards per game to opponents in 2016. While the tides do seem to be turning just a bit, there’s no denying that the Chargers defense has been at the bottom of the league in recent seasons, and to start 2016, it wasn’t looking ideal for that to change.
Over the first five games, the Chargers allowed 33, 14, 26, 35 and 34 points. Obviously, only one of those numbers is even respectable, while the rest leave a massive burden on Philip Rivers and their injury-depleted offense. Even still, Rivers and company have made it work, and the defense has a glimmer of hope for the future, and possibly even for 2016.
After back-to-back wins against two likely playoff teams, and their record sitting at 3-4 heading into another huge matchup with the Broncos, fans are excited about the future of this team. Bosa specifically, gives them something they’ve desperately lacked in recent years — a pass rush. After totaling just 35 sacks in 2013 (No. 23 in the NFL), they dropped drastically to 26 sacks in 2014 (No. 29) and then wrapped up 2015 with 32 sacks (No. 24). Through just seven games, the Chargers are in the top-10 in sacks with 17 and are on pace to top all of those numbers and then some.
Bosa’s doing damage, and his impressive start to his young NFL career is making life easier for the rest of the defense as well. Best of all, there’s no reason to believe that he’ll slow down in 2016 either.