Skip to main content

Chargers Official Site | Los Angeles Chargers -

5 Takeaways: Why Sunday Was Joey Bosa's Best Game of the 2023 Season


The Chargers are 3-4 as they now turn their focus to a Week 9 road game against the Jets.

Here are five takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley's Monday media availability:

1. Bosa leads the way on defense

The Chargers defense flashed all game long against the Bears, limiting Chicago to just 13 points and under 300 yards of offense on Sunday Night Football.

And it was outside linebacker Joey Bosa who led the way in what was perhaps his best game of the season — and top overall performance in recent years.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bosa posted an 82.7 defensive grade last night, which is his best mark of the season. It's also his top grade since Week 2 of the 2022 season.

Bosa had a first-half sack on Tyson Bagent that upped his season total to 4.0 on the season.

"You saw a healthy Joey Bosa last night. He's been practicing well and I thought he rushed well," Staley said. "He had one sack, but in terms of his effect on the quarterback and his pass-rush win percentage by our count, he had an outstanding game.

"I thought probably his best game of the season. And he's healthy," Staley added.

Bosa said postgame that he enjoyed his sack, but actually took more pride in his run defense against Chicago.

That aspect of his game was on full display late in the third quarter when the Bears ran the ball on fourth-and-1 from their own 29-yard line.

The play went nowhere as Bosa shed tight end Cole Kmet and powered his way into the running back for no gain.

"The way our defense is set up, they're the ones that have the angles and the green light to be aggressive," Staley said. "I thought you saw on the fourth-and-1 stop last night — he gets the tight end 1-on-1 — and Joey is going to win that 10 out of 10 times."

Staley also added: "You're not just paying guys to rush the passer. You're paying them to be complete players. You pay them to make all the plays. Those guys take a lot of pride in doing that."

Take a look back at the Chargers Week 8 primetime win over the Bears in monochrome

2. Keep the momentum going

Staley noted postgame that the Bolts had an excellent week of practice ahead of the Bears game, something that clearly carried over into Sunday night's 17-point win.

The goal now is to do it again, but it will come with an altered schedule as the Chargers play on Monday Night Football in Week 9 at the Jets.

The Bolts worked out the kinks from the game on Monday and will get back to practice on Thursday in preparation for New York.

Staley outlined his goal for the team as the season reaches its midway point.

"Just focusing on the details of each day. I thought we came in today and had good meetings," Staley said. "They had their workouts this morning and flushed it all out. Just taking it one day at a time.

"That was the message last week, just to make the most of the day. Keep it simple that way, keep it fresh," Staley added. "Our guys really had their best week of practice, now we have that extra day to get freshened up. You have to pick up that extra day and get fresh so we can take the practice field on Thursday ready for the Jets."

The Bolts prolonged week also includes the NFL's annual trade deadline, which is Tuesday at 1 p.m. (CT).

Staley said the Bolts front office will assess where the team is at in the next 24 hours.

"Yeah, I think those conversations will take place between now and then," Staley said.

3. A strong return for Gilman

Alohi Gilman seemingly always provides steady play from his safety spot in the secondary.

Gilman brought more of the same Sunday night, even as he made his return from a heel injury that kept him out for most of the month.

Gilman last played against the Vikings in Week 3 but had missed the past three games. He made his presence felt in the fourth quarter when he deflected a pass that was corralled by Derwin James, Jr. for the Chargers second interception of the night.

"I thought Lo played well in the game," Staley said. "I thought he communicated well, he had the big pass breakup on the fourth down that led to the interception.

"Just had good respect for the deep part of the field, just commanded well back there," Staley added. "I thought that him, Derwin and Dean [Marlowe] did a good job getting us into the right stuff and it was good to have him back."

Get an inside look at the postgame celebration from the Chargers 30 - 13 win over the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium!

4. Kudos up front

Justin Herbert's stat line from Sunday night is simply what many have come to expect from the Bolts quarterback.

He completed 31 of 40 passes for 298 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 122.7.

Staley made it a point of emphasis Monday to praise Herbert for all that he does — seen and unseen — as the leader of the Bolts, and noted that games like that should be appreciated because of the standard Herbert has set across the league.

But Staley also gave a shout out to the starting offensive line — Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson, Will Clapp, Jamaree Salyer and Trey Pipkins III — as that group allowed no sacks against the Bears.

"The play style showed up and our guys played really hard together. It wasn't a perfect performance, but man, they played really hard," Staley said. "When you can play hard and tough, that's playing O-line … playing five guys as one. I think they have Justin clean enough sightlines to operate.

"You don't go 31 of 40 with a really crowded pocket where you're getting hit all the time and there's people in the way," Staley added. "It was similar to the Minnesota game when they brought a ton of pressure. He doesn't go 40 of 48 because he couldn't see … it was because the protection was really good. Hats off to those guys, they put in a really good week of practice together."

The Chargers have allowed just 15 sacks on the season, which is tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL.

5. An eye on trick plays

If you were watching closely Sunday night, you might have noticed a pair of trick plays — one ran by each team in primetime.

For the Chargers, they ran a flea flicker where Herbert handed off to Joshua Kelley, only for the running back to pitch the ball back to Herbert.

Usually, flea flickers mean deep shots down the field. But the Bolts added a wrinkle where Herbert hit tight end Donald Parham, Jr. on a screen pass that gained seven yards.

"It was a good play to [Parham], not a huge play," Staley said. "We thought it could have been a big play, but they were in a pressure so it didn't quite hit the way we maybe felt like it could. Good play nevertheless."

Staley went into detail on defending trick plays and said that defensive must simply follow the rules within their scheme to make sure they don't get burned when opposing offenses try one.

Sure enough, the Bears tried a trick play on the ensuing drive after the Chargers did, with wide receiver Darnell Mooney getting the ball on a reverse and quarterback Tyson Bagent running a route down the left sideline.

Fortunately for the Bolts, outside linebacker Khalil Mack read the play perfectly and was in coverage on Bagent downfield.

"I think if you follow your rules defensively and you're sound, those plays generally have a tough time working against you," Staley said. "They tried one last night as you guys know, and if you follow your rules then good things happen.

"But you've got to have guys like Khalil Mack on your team that are star players and do what they're supposed to do and follow the rules," Staley continued. "Last night I thought it was a good example of us defending what could be a very tough play down there. It was good play design by them, but we defended it well because our guys followed the rules."

He later added: "It just establishes the consistency in performance and the discipline within your assignment. And that there's no role too small for any of us. There's nothing beneath anybody on the team. He sets a high standard for everybody and that's why he's one of the greats."

Bolt Up!

Secure your Chargers Mini Plan today! Click here to learn more.

Related Content

From Our Partners