Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert and defensive lineman Morgan Fox from Sunday's win over the Rams.
Fox and Van Noy keep shining on defense
Defensive lineman Morgan Fox and linebacker Kyle Van Noy have been exactly what the Chargers wanted when they added them in the offseason.
And over the past four weeks, they've shown what exactly it was.
Defensive contributions have had to come from many places this season, but the play of Fox and Van Noy has been something that has been a boost throughout the Bolts winning streak that was extended to four games following their 31-10 win over the Rams.
When it comes to Fox, Van Noy and other offseason defensive additions, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley noted that their value has come in ways that are bigger in the stat sheet.
"All of these guys that we've on boarded on this team in free agency, they're two of them," Staley said after the win. "They've helped us significantly, from their performance, and then adding the type of leadership and that type of toughness — the intangibles — that our team needed to be as good as it can be."
Fox added another sack to his season tally with a first quarter sack that forced a Rams punt on their first drive of the game. With that sack, Fox now sits at 6.5 sacks on the year, which is a new career-high for him in a season.
The veteran defensive lineman has been as versatile as can be along a defensive line that has gone through many injuries throughout the year. Getting some pieces back and the defense playing at a high level has allowed him to tally four sacks in his last three games.
"It's awesome, but it's a product of everybody else," Fox said after the game. "If I'm going to be proud of anything, it's a product of 10 other guys doing their job at a very high level. If I don't make the play, it's kind of like I'm doing a disservice to them.
"All the plays I've made this year have been because I have great guys around me," Fox added.
As for Van Noy, he has really come alive in the last four games, notching a sack in each one. Although he's listed as a linebacker, he's been a little bit of everything the team has asked for him and he has produced in the most important stretch of the season.
Van Noy's recent surge is far from a coincidence, as Staley mentioned how settling in has helped Van Noy be one of the brightest spots in a defense that's shining late in the year.
"From a coach's perspective, I think that he's comfortable," Staley said. "He played in the same system for a long time. There are just little things [different]. Football is football to him, but I think that he is getting comfortable.
"What makes him such a good player is he's a playmaker, he makes plays, on top of all the intangible stuff that he does," Staley later added about Van Noy. "I think you've been able to see that in these last four games, where he's making a lot of plays for us that are helping us win."
He made another on Sunday afternoon, stripping Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield and recovering the fumble while the Rams offense was driving. Whether it's big plays on the field or simply being a presence in the defensive room, Van Noy has continued to show his value down the stretch of the regular season and heading into the playoffs.
"Old man has some juice to him," Fox said about Van Noy. "He's been moving. He's been great. An extremely cerebral player, so when he's out there he makes a lot of stuff happen.
"Then you add the fact he can rush … he gets a strip-sack and makes a huge play for us … that's what Kyle can do," Fox added.
Bolts end 3rd-quarter touchdown woes
After almost three months, the Chargers long-awaited third quarter touchdown came on Sunday afternoon.
Third quarters had been a difficult one for the Bolts, as they struggled to score more than field goals coming out of the half. Week 17 was a different story though, as the offense started the quarter on offense and marched down the field.
"I think that our guys came out on a mission in that third quarter," Staley said. "Finished the half with a field goal, a good two-minute drive. Would have liked to have seen a touchdown, but we were able to finish with a field goal.
"That middle eight so important," Staley added. "You get the ball, and for us to go drive the ball, score the ball, it was really big for our offense."
An 11-play, 75-yard drive that took over six minutes was how the Bolts were able to cash in their first third quarter touchdown since Week 5 in Cleveland.
Like they did almost the entire game, they did it with a balance of run and pass, as the Chargers methodically drove down the field, culminating in a six-yard connection from quarterback Justin Herbert to tight end Gerald Everett.
"I thought that it was good for us to play consistent football on offense," Herbert said postgame. "All four quarters, I thought that we moved the ball pretty well. We did a lot of good things up front. We made some plays down the field. Overall, I thought that it was a great performance."
Third quarter offense had been a topic that lingered around the team as long as the touchdown-less streak continued.
The development of a run game that rushed for 192 yards helped the third quarter and overall offensive performance, as the team was able to strike a balance. Overall, it was something the team can continue to build on heading into the postseason and something that they can finally move past.
"You just really felt like that group, it was a big lift for them, like, 'We scored this thing, and that's kind of off our back now. Now, we can just keep it moving," Staley said. "That's what I think led to a complete performance, that third quarter leading to an even better fourth quarter, in terms of time of possession. I thought that we really ran the football well."
Get an inside look at the postgame celebration from the Chargers 31-10 win over the Las Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium!
Chargers use depth in blowout win
The big win allowed the team to do something they hadn't done all year in a victory.
With the game in hand and a three-touchdown lead, Staley decided it was time to sit some of the starters and see others get some run in. It was a luxury that the team had not been able to do so far this season.
Not only did it take away the risk of some players getting banged up, but it also allowed them to see some players in game action that they might not otherwise get a chance to look at.
"I thought that we were able to take a look at some guys," Staley said. "I thought that that was an advantage for us. It felt good to play a game like that, where you could take a look at some guys, defensively and offensively."
Herbert's afternoon was over with around 11 minutes remaining in the final quarter and backup quarterback Chase Daniel took over for the rest of the game. Running back Larry Rountree III, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, also got some carries in the fourth quarter.
With the amount of injuries the team has gone through so far this season, Staley mentioned that everyone has been needed and he expects that to continue moving forward.
"We were able to get Justin out of the game, get Chase some snaps," Staley said. "I think that was important for Chase to get some snaps. I thought that Chase did a nice job of operation, when he was in there, too.
"We got Larry Rountree some carries," Staley added. "We've needed everybody in order to make it to this point, and we're going to need everybody moving forward."
The Chargers win in Week 17 means that the team will be no lower than the No. 6 seed in the playoffs and could be able to go as high as No. 5. The team will decide what plan to take as the week progresses heading into the final game in Denver.
Whatever that decision is, the team will be ready to go.
"We love playing football," Herbert said. "Every opportunity to play football is a great opportunity. I completely trust our coaching staff, our front office, whatever they decide. I love playing football with these guys, so whatever happens, happens."
Bolt Up for 2023!
Secure your 2023 Season Ticket Memberships today! Click here to learn more.