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CBS Sports: Bolts Defense Stole the Show in Primetime


The Chargers defense is rolling.

The Bolts have allowed just 19 points in their past two games … and just 26 total points over their past 10 quarters of action.

The end result has been back-to-back wins by double digits to pull the Chargers to 4-4 and right in the thick of the playoff race.

John Breech of CBS Sports handed out a letter grade following the Chargers Week 9 win and gave the team a 'B+' while heaping tons of praise on the defense.

Breech wrote:

When the Chargers win, it's usually because their offense has a huge game, but not Monday night. The Chargers defense stole the show in what was easily their most impressive performance of the season. Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and Tuli Tuipulotu all recorded at least two sacks on a night where the Chargers racked up eight sacks of Zach Wilson.

As if that's not impressive enough, the defense also forced three turnovers, which led to two Chargers touchdowns. As good as the defense was, the play of the game came from Derius Davis, who returned a punt 87 yards for a TD in the first half. On an off night for the offense, everyone else shined for a 4-4 Chargers team that is now just one game out of a playoff spot in the AFC.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Bolts defense had an EPA per play against of minus-0.379 on Monday night, which qualified as the fourth-best mark of Week 9 amongst all defenses.

That was easily the Chargers best defensive performance of the season, and the traditional stats backed it up with 8.0 sacks, three takeaways and a third-down performance that saw New York go just 3 of 17.

Mack is now tied for fifth in the NFL with 9.0 sacks. Bosa, meanwhile, has come on strong of late with 3.5 sacks in his past two games and Tuipulotu has 4.0 sacks on the season.

"When we're healthy that's how they'll rush. They just haven't been healthy together for very long, but when they've been healthy together, that's how they've played," Staley said of Bosa and Mack. "That's why we have to keep them that way, but then when you get the other guys rushing, you know, when you have Tuli rushing as well as he is, Foxy (Morgan Fox), those interior guys, Derwin (James Jr.), it's going to create more opportunities for everybody.

"I still stand behind, the reason why we're able to rush the way we are is because of the way we're playing against the run and that's been the secret, that's been the formula to our success," Staley added. "When we've rushed well, it's how we've played against the run and then when those guys get that many opportunities, those are two of the best to ever do it and then you have this young guy that's really coming on strong."

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