Los Angeles now sits at 3-8 with a Top 5 draft pick in the 2021 draft.
The lone bright spot of Sunday’s loss was the dominant performance from Joey Bosa, who wreaked havoc on the Bills Offensive line and Josh Allen all afternoon. Amassing 3 sacks and 6 tackles for a loss, in arguably the best game of his 5-year career.
There was more to his performance on Sunday, it was Bosa growing into more of a leadership role in the defense in the absence of longtime captain Melvin Ingram who was lost for the season.
Ingram will likely hit free agency in the offseason leaving a leadership vacuum on the Chargers.
Bosa being the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, is going to need to grow into the leader that Ingram has been for years for the Chargers.
The Chargers have had a challenging season, and there are several factors from poor coaching decisions, to poor defensive play late in games. Throughout this season the Chargers defense has gotten off to great starts in early quarters and that’s where most of their sacks and turnovers have come from, this biggest issue this season is the defense disappears late in games which normally causes blown leads and comebacks by opposing teams. It has happened in almost every game this season, and in the three wins that the Chargers have won the opposing teams have made some sort of comeback in the second half of games.
Those three wins for the Chargers are currently the Top 3 teams in the draft order for 2021, the Bengals, Jets, and Jaguars are a combined 2-31 this season, and the Chargers defense gave up some sort of comeback to each of them.
There is a strong chance that the Chargers could have been 0-10 this season or close to 10-0 simply based on how the defense plays in the second half of games. The Chargers did break a streak on Sunday in their loss to the Bills they finally lost a game by more than 7 points, they had played 10 games this season in games decided by a touchdown difference.
The problem starts with the coordination in Gus Bradley putting his players in the correct formations and position for them to succeed, that can be improved and the Chargers could have a new defensive coordinator next season as well.
The second issue is the bigger one, it’s executing the game plan that the coaches have laid out.
The defense has not played a cohesive unit this season, and that has been caused by players going off and doing their own things on the field and not being held accountable. Head coach Anthony Lynn has said several times that there are players on the defense that are not putting the team in a position to win. Part of these problems is that the Chargers planned on bringing in outside leadership in Chris Harris Jr and Linval Joseph, instead of going in-house after the Derwin James injury. James was one of the main “spark plugs” and leaders on the 2018 Chargers defense which helped lead them to a 12-4 record and get them into the divisional round of the playoffs.
Unfortunately, injuries have sidelined him for a majority of the last two seasons, and not having him on the field has shown in the Chargers defense.
Ingram is likely gone which would mean that Joey Bosa would then be the longest-tenured Charger on the defense, and he needs to step up to that role if the Chargers want to change their performance and atmosphere on the team.
He has made a couple of media comments on the performance of the defense and how they need to improve and get more turnovers, which is the first time that he has really made a comment towards his teammates, and it needed to be said. Bosa is locked up for the next five seasons, he will need to learn to become the leader of this defense as Derwin James recovers and Kenneth Murray grows in the play-calling MIKE role.
It’s time for Bosa to step up, lead, and hold his teammates and himself responsible for mistakes.
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