That, ladies and gentlemen, was the single finest defensive performance in Chargers postseason history.
Surprising the Ravens by rolling with seven defensive backs, the Bolts gave up only 229 yards of offense, which is the fewest allowed in a postseason game in Chargers history.
The Bolts defense came out strong, allowing only 69 total net yards in the ﬁrst half, which was the fewest allowed in the first half of a postseason game in team history. In addition, it was the fewest allowed in an opening half of a playoff game since the Indianapolis Colts allowed 16 yards against Kansas City in the AFC Wild Card of the 2006 postseason.
Oh, and a Baltimore offense that averaged 229.5 yards per game on the ground with Lamar Jackson at the helm was held to a paltry 90. If that wasn’t enough, the defense allowed 139 yards passing, good for the fourth-best single-game mark in team postseason annals.
Well, you can understand why the defense received rave reviews following the 23-17 victory.
“Our defense was outstanding,” said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “We held that team down to 100 yards rushing. No one has played that team the way our defense played today. I was really impressed with the way our defense stepped up. Especially with playing the little guys inside and not playing with our linebackers. So, my hat goes off to Gus Bradley and his staff. They did an outstanding job all week of getting that defense ready for this unconventional style of offense.”
Meanwhile, Los Angeles’ pass-rush was outright dominant. They sacked Lamar Jackson seven times, tying a team mark for the most single-game sacks in the postseason since 1992.
Overall, those sacks came from Melvin Ingram (2.0), Joey Bosa (1.0), Justin Jones (1.0), Desmond King (1.0), Isaac Rochell (1.0) and Uchenna Nwosu (1.0).
Thus, it’s only fitting that the Bolts sealed the win late with a strip-sack by Nwosu that Ingram recovered.
“I just saw Lamar holding the ball out,” Nwosu said. “My eyes got big, like looking at candy when you’re first born, and I just swiped for it.… I was looking to scoop and score. There are not many opportunities you get when the ball is on the ground, so I wanted to scoop it and score. The bottom line was to get on top of the ball. I knew my teammates were coming behind me, and we were able to get on it.”
So, what was the overall key to the top-notch performance?
According to many in the locker room, facing the Ravens twice in a three-week span played a big part.
“Facing (Jackson) a few weeks ago, we already had an idea of what he can do,” said Joey Bosa. “After watching a couple more weeks of film and watching our game against them, we had a better idea of what they were going to do, and you kind of saw that in the first half. They weren’t able to do much, and it will be a different challenge next week with a true drop-back quarterback. He’s ridiculously fast, so you feel like you’ve got him, and then he’ll separate real quick. We did what we were supposed to do most of the game, and then he kind of got after us in the fourth quarter, but we were able to shut it down.”
“It was extremely beneficial,” echoed Isaac Rochell. “I can’t express how important that was. You have a team like that with a crazy offense. If you’re watching it, you don’t know what’s happening. They’ve got tons of moving parts and to see them twice in 21 days is huge. It really gave us the advantage and we were able to stop them.”