Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Bandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert, linebacker Drue Tranuquill and others after the Bolts Week 6 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
Tranquill has big night under the lights
In a game that required 'everybody in Powder Blue' to win, linebacker Drue Tranquill provided one of the biggest plays of the night in route to a 19-16 overtime win over the Denver Broncos under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
With the game tied 16-16 and 2 minutes and 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Bolts defense was in need of a stop on third-and-6. Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson snapped the ball, and before he had time to drop back, Tranquill flew through the defensive line to sack Wilson for a nine-yard loss. It was the linebacker's second sack of the fourth quarter.
According to Next Gen Stats, Tranquill got to Wilson in just 2.25 seconds, the fourth-quickest sack of the season. The sack ignited the crowd at SoFi stadium and forced the Broncos to punt the ball away on the next play.
After the game, Tranquill talked about what went in to making that play under the bright lights at a crucial moment in the game.
"I love the call," Tranquill said. "They called a timeout and I was like 'Coach, let's keep it on', and we brought a zero [blitz]. Great design by Coach Staley and our staff and well-executed, well-timed blitz timing by Derwin [James, Jr.] and I and everybody did their job and it opened it up for me."
James also got in on the blitz action as he recorded a sack for an 11-yard loss during the third quarter. James talked about what was going through his mind when Tranquill made the big play.
"It was so big," James said. "When I saw it, I just felt the energy. When he got [Russell Wilson] I was like, 'Yeah, that's a big play'."
All together the Bolts recorded four sacks with Tranquill, James and OLB Khalil Mack, who recorded a sack in the first quarter. James talked about how much energy those types of plays give the defense and a teams as a whole.
"It feels good," James said. "You hear, after we get a sack, the roar you get from the crowd and the momentum, it just feels good. The energy feels good, the sideline feels good. It's just a good feeling."
Wide receiver Mike Williams talked about what he thought of Tranquill's two-sack performance and the leadership Tranquill brings to the Bolts defense.
"I mean everybody knows what Drue can do," Williams said. "Drue is one of the leaders on the defense, always making plays, always a vocal leader, the guy out there putting everybody in positions. So that was good to see Drue fly around and make plays."
Offense hangs tough to secure overtime win
To pull off the 19-16 overtime win, the Bolts relied on injured kicker Dustin Hopkins to make four field goals and an extra point to score 13 of the teams 19 points.
After the game, quarterback Justin Herbert, who finished the night with 238 yards gave credit to the Broncos defense and talked about penalties that the offensive unit can clean up.
"That's an incredible defense that we were going up against," Herbert said. "We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, a couple of penalties here and there, second-and-long, third-and-long. It's tough like that."
"You put the defense back out there and you know that they're going to come up with some big stops," Herbert added. "Those guys played great all day. To have a guy like that and when special teams come alive, too, it's great for us."
Despite being held to limited yards, Williams found a way to secure a clutch catch in overtime to set up the game winning field goal. Williams talked about what he was thinking when he hauled in the nine-yard catch on 3rd-and-12.
"I was just hoping that it was enough for Dustin to put [the field goal] through and obviously it was, so we got the W," Williams said.
Despite going down 10-0 in the first quarter, Williams explained what the offense had to do in order to keep their cool and walk away with the win.
"Just keep going, that's the main thing and it's not over yet," Williams said. "Obviously, last week we were down 14 and we were able to capitalize and win on that game. We've been in that position before so we knew what we had to do."
Another bright spot on offense was tight end Donald Parham, Jr., who hauled in his first reception since December 12th, 2021 when he exited the Chargers game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a head injury. After the game, Herbert talked about the toughness the Parham showed Monday night with three catches for 53 yards.
"I have so much respect for Parham, especially what he's fought through for the past couple of years." Herbert said. "He's a tough guy. He's a great team guy. It's great to see him go out there and catch a couple of passes like that. It's great to have him back."
Bolts win three straight to improve to 4-2
After the Bolts win on Monday night, the team now moves to 4-2 on the year and 2-1 in the AFC West. The Bolts batteled through two games on the road and a close overtime win on primetime to go on a three-game winning streak heading into Week 7.
With players like wide receiver Keenan Allen out and veteran center Corey Linsley being ruled inactive before the game due to an illness, Staley talked about why it took everyone to get their third straight win.
"We needed everybody in order to win this game," Staley said. "That's a good team over there. Every one of their games this season has been down to the wire, all of them, and that's what it was today.
"The fact that we're able to show our resilience in all three phases, and then be able to finish that game on our home field in front of our fans, I'm really proud of our group today," Staley added.
Herbert talked about how important their 4-2 record is and the resilience it shows after starting the year at 1-2.
"I thought 4-2 has been a big step up for us, especially where we were at with 1-2. For us to answer back and to win three games in a row like that, I think it says a lot about our team, our defense, our special teams, because they have stepped up big time. It's been awesome to see from them," Herbert said.
James, another captain, talked about how they can build off the momentum going forward.
"It feels good. We just got to finish. We got three in a row," James said. "We just got to keep it going, keep the momentum going and keep coming together as a team, because we're getting closer."
The Bolts now prepare to face the Seattle Seahawks on a short week in Week 7.
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