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Don't Forget About That Massive Defensive Effort


Mike Williams, Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers' clutch offense will get most of the headlines following the team's big win.

Don't forget about the defense.

Facing the most explosive offense in the NFL, they're the only team this year to hold the Chiefs to under 300 yards of offense. They also kept them to just 28 points, well below their league-leading 36.1 ppg average.

Most importantly, they got a clutch three-and-out when it mattered most to give Rivers and company a chance to pull off the comeback.

"Our defense is very opportunistic," said Philip Rivers. "At the right time, 'Hey this is it. We've got to have a stop right now or this thing is going to get out of hand.' We had a couple of those situations and (our defense) came up big. That offense wasn't on the field as much as they're used to being on the field, but they didn't have 300 yards of offense, so hats off to our defense."

The ability to make a key stop late in the game has been a trademark of the Bolts all-year long. Similar efforts secured thrilling wins against the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals.

Now you can add the Chiefs to that list.

"(Defensive Coordinator) Gus (Bradley) does a heck of a job putting those guys in the right situations," Head Coach Anthony Lynn said about the defense's penchant for late stops. "They make plays, like they are supposed to. Sometimes it is a bend, but don't break. The defense always makes a stop when we need it. We have complete confidence in them."

A fired-up Melvin Ingram also agreed.

"It's a mindset!" he said. "We don't give up! We're going to always keep working. It ain't over until the clock says zero. Zero! That's what our mentality is."

That was the case once again when the defense took the field with 3:43 left in the game and the Chiefs leading by seven.

The Bolts absolutely had to get a stop, and they set the tone immediately when Darius Philon sliced into the backfield to drop Damien Williams for a three-yard loss. After Los Angeles took a timeout, Patrick Mahomes fired short to Tyreek Hill, who was immediately dropped by Adrian Phillips and Desmond King for a gain of only five. 

Then, following another Chargers timeout, the defense came through in a major way on what proved to be their final snap of the game.

Mahomes dropped back but was quickly engulfed in the pocket. He tried to escape but was swallowed up by Melvin Ingram and Isaac Rochell.

"We knew what we had to do," explained Joey Bosa. "We let up too many opportunities with the drives before with the too many third downs we had. We knew as a D-line we had to rush and keep him in the pocket, because our ends were winning all day on the outside and he would just step up in the B (gap) and get out of the pocket. We knew as a D-line we just had to keep him in the pocket and pressure rush, and that's what we did and we ended up getting in the playoffs."

Another late game stop needed.

Another late game stop delivered.

"Our guys stepped up, even when it looked like we couldn't," Lynn said. "When you thought it was over and down and out, they stepped up and they made plays. Defense made the stops when they needed."

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