The Chargers Defensive Line: Week 12
The Chargers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football 24-17. At 4-7 their season is quickly spinning out of control as they have virtually been knocked out of the playoffs.
Much of the team has not played up to standard and a lot can be improved in all phases of the game. The defensive line is one of those units who must perform better. They have struggled against elite rushing attacks and can give up big gains on the ground at the worst times.
Currently the Chargers are the 12th worst in the NFL by allowing 112.3 yards per game on the ground. They have also allowed 10 rushes of 20 or more yards which has proven to break their backs on more than one occasion. While they don’t have much depth at rushing the passer, their two best pass rushers have combined for a respectable 14 sacks. Let’s take a closer look at how the Chargers defensive line has played heading into the bye week.
Joey Bosa: 50 tackles, 8.5 sacks; B
Bosa has been relatively consistent throughout the year. The turning point of the season was during a three week stretch starting with the Titans game and ending with the Packers when he recorded an incredible 5.5 sacks. Since that incredible run of dominance he has only had four tackles and has yet to record a sack.
Brandon Mebane: 19 tackles, 1 sack; B-
Mebane started off the season strong with six tackles against the Colts. While he has not had nearly the same numbers since that incredible performance, he has been consistent and has recorded at least one tackle in every game this season. He has been in a bit of a slump the past three games, having only recorded one tackle in each of those games. His consistent play is the lone bright spot for the Chargers interior defensive line.
Justin Jones: 23 tackles, 0 sacks; C
Jones has been a good presence in the middle. However, the Chargers have struggled against big gains on the ground at critical times in games. He can collect the tackles but he struggles against slowing down the opposition’s rushing attack.
Jerry Tillery: 11 tackles, 1.5 sacks; C-
The Charger top draft pick has struggled to dominate in his rookie campaign. His best games were early in the year against the Dolphins and Broncos. In those games he recorded his first career 1.5 sacks and also added three tackles for good measure.
Melvin Ingram: 32 tackles, 5.5 sacks; B
Ingram struggled early this season. He only had one sack in the first five games and was out with an injury for two games. However, in the past three games he has been dynamic. Against the Packers, Raiders, and Chiefs he has recorded a combined 15 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
The Chargers defensive line has dominated at times this season but never completely as a unit. One week Bosa plays well and the next week Ingram plays well. However, the rest of the defensive line has done little to help in rushing the passer. There have been only 3.5 sacks between the rest of the unit.
Sitting at 4-7, one has to wonder how their season may have fared if the entire defensive line had played well at the same time. Opportunity knocks only so many times in a person’s life, let’s hope this season is not a wasted opportunity the Chargers will regret for rest of their lives.
Overall Grade: C