He came like a freight train around the corner.
Only this time, Joey Bosa didn’t explode into Jared Goff with the type of force he did 10.5 times a year ago. Instead, he put a new emphasis to use, going directly to the ball.
Then Melvin Ingram came out of nowhere in a dead sprint, scooping the loose ball off the ground. Seventy-six yards later, number 54 scampered across the goal line.
“They’re arguably the best pass-rushing tandem in the league,” Jahleel Addae said after the game. “One strip sacks, and the other one picks it up and scores. You can’t put that out there any better.”
Indeed, much is expected out of the Joey Bosa-Melvin Ingram pairing in 2017, and that single play showcased exactly why.
On 3rd-and-7 from the Chargers eight-yard line, it looked like the worst-case scenario for the Rams was settling for a field goal. Instead, it was the Bolts who got on the scoreboard for a minimum of a 10-point swing. Instead of 7-3, which would have likely been the score if Bosa simply took down Goff, it was 14-0.
As Bosa explained after the game, jarring the ball loose is a major focal point for him in year two.
“I think it’s huge any time a defense can put up points,” he said. “Our whole motto is get after the ball, so I’m not really worried about hitting quarterbacks as much as just getting the ball out of their hand this year. I think that motto has kind of been showing (from) the defense these last few weeks.”
Of course, forcing the fumble is only part of the equation. Equally important is recovering the loose ball. Ingram did more than that, as the speedy edge-rusher turned on the jets to take it all the way to the house.
“Shoot, (the ball’s there), go get it!” Ingram said of the play. “We preach (getting) the ball and turnovers. We try to put our offense in the best position possible. We feel like we have a great offense, and the better position we can put them in, the more points we can score.”
Of course this time, for the second straight game, it was the defense who found the end zone all on its own.
“I knew he was going to get there,” Bosa laughed after the game. “He better not let some o-lineman run him down…It was awesome seeing Melvin scoop it up and take it all the way there. It’s just fun to finally get the quarterback. I’m happy I finally got him in my last preseason game.”
While Bosa and Ingram have a world of potential, it doesn’t hurt that they have a top-notch secondary behind them. It’s led by a pair of Pro Bowlers in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. While Hayward didn’t suit up on Saturday, Verrett announced his return to action with authority, picking off Goff in his first game since last October.
As Ingram noted, their presence makes the pass rush even more effective.
“It’s amazing. The quarterback is going to have to hold the ball a little longer when you have two shutdown corners like that….They give us so much time to get there.”
As they proved Saturday night, all Bosa and Ingram need is a split second in order to take over a game.