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How Melvin Ingram's Monster Sack Sparked Bolts to Victory


Melvin Gordon summed up the first quarter of the game best, describing it as an atmosphere unlike any other he'd ever been in.

Likely a side effect of the smoky conditions that kept many fans at home and the ones in the stands with their mouths covered, it was as quiet of an atmosphere as the star running back could remember.

"The energy was just weird today," Gordon said. "If you ask any of the guys, it was just really weird today. I don't know (if it was the conditions for) the fans or something. I kind of like to feed off the fans' energy, too, even when they're booing us. But they were quiet too. It was just awkward. I don't know the reason for that. It is what it is though."

The Bolts slogged through the first 20 minutes of the game, running only six plays on offense while possessing the ball for a meager one minute and 46 seconds. Oakland held a 3-0 lead, and were in field goal range facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Chargers' 32-yard line.

Then Melvin Ingram happened.

The Pro Bowler unleashed a spin move that would make even Dwight Freeney envious, sacking Derek Carr for a loss of 11. Even better, he dislodged the ball, which wound up in the arms of Corey Liuget who galloped 24 yards to the Oakland 40.

To say that play was a game-changer would be a massive understatement. The Bolts clearly needed something – anything – to provide a spark, and Ingram's sack proved to be the springboard the team needed as they left Oakland with the 20-6 victory.

"When you don't have energy or something from the fans or from whoever, it's on you to create it and that's exactly what (Ingram) did," Gordon said. "We did our best to pump ourselves up and that's what great teams have to do."

It also proved to be a historic sack for Ingram.

Number 54 became only the seventh player in Chargers history to record at least 40 sacks for his career on the play, and it's hard to think of many more that proved to be as clutch.

Ingram is as straight a shooter as they come, so he didn't even try to talk down the importance of his sack.

"I came up big!" he said with a huge smile. "I was just trying to make a play, and I did. It just happened to be me who came up big. We all try to make plays together, and it's all of us out there doing what we're supposed to do."

Ingram's defensive teammates also couldn't stop raving about the big play after the game, especially Derwin James, who spoke a mile a minute when rehashing the huge sack.

"Man, that was so big," he said. "I was in man (coverage), and then I'm going to my man, I see the sack and go, 'That's my dog!' Once I saw the fumble, I was like, 'Go Corey! Go Corey!' It's good to play with guys like that. They make it fun."

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