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Pass Rush Returns for Bolts
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In the Chargers’ two losses over Weeks 2 and 3, something was glaringly missing – a pass rush.
After rookie linebacker Kyle Emanuel met Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the backfield in Week 1, the Bolts have been held sack-less over the past two weeks and averaged just 2.5 quarterback hits per game.
The lack of a pass rush contributed to the pair of losses, but it all changed in Week 4’s 30-27 win over the Cleveland Browns as the Chargers’ defense brought the heat getting to quarterback Josh McCown.
“You know, the way we played the first three weeks, the numbers may not be exactly there, but I think you look at the number of hits or number of decisions the quarterback has to change (and) it’s not always the quarterback sacks,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said. “It’s creating turnovers, creating pressures…and a number of times you will affect (the quarterback). The effort is definitely there and the production was definitely there today.”
“It felt good (getting to the quarterback),” outside linebacker Melvin Ingram said.
Get there they did. Ingram and the Chargers notched nine quarterback hits and sacked McCown four times for a total loss of 24 yards.
Ingram finished the night with 1.5 sacks and one quarterback hit. His biggest play came early in the first quarter on third down, where he and Eric Weddle converged on McCown who then fumbled. Having caused the fumble and being ever the hustler he is, Ingram pounced on the loose ball for the recovery to give the ball back to his offense.
“It was very (satisfying),” Ingram said. “No matter who’s in there, we’re all going to play together. And we’re going to always go until the clock (runs out) and try to get a win.”
Another Charger who got to the Browns signal-caller was Jerry Attaochu. After notching two sacks all of last season, Attaochu recorded two in his team’s win, notching his first-career multi-sack game.
His first came late in the second quarter where on first down, he drove through to McCown for his first sack of the year. His second sack came early in the fourth quarter. The Browns were in San Diego territory eager to come away with points and on 2nd-and-8, Attaochu drilled McCown back to the San Diego 37-yard line for a loss of 12 yards. His sack made it harder for the Browns to go for a touchdown and instead, forced them to settle for a field goal two plays later.
Attaochu, who joined the captains at midfield for the coin toss today, has been steadily increasing his production each week after missing the season opener. His teammates acknowledged his superior performance tonight and said it’s directly attributed to how hard he works during the week.
“(The fourth quarter sack) was tremendous,” Ingram said. “It was one of the biggest plays of the game and it was just him, working and working to get to the quarterback.”
“Jerry just has a knack for getting to the quarterback and he just works so hard. He is one of my closest friends on the team and I see the work he puts in, the focus that he has during the week and (how) it all pays off on Sundays. You can always expect number 97 to be around the quarterback, whether he is getting the sack or the quarterback pressure.”