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Super Sack Bros: Chargers Pass Rush Is Becoming Dominant

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Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are the best pass rushing duo in the NFL.

San Diego Chargers v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Super Sack Bros, dubbed by BFTB’s Michael Peterson, Mel-rio and Joey-gi are singlehandedly ending drives for the Chargers this year. Last week was by far the best game the Chargers had up front. Melvin Ingram was winning inside and out with sheer speed and athleticism. Joey Bosa was being held every other play and when the Broncos weren’t holding him he was bringing down the quarterback. Darius Philon was plugging up the middle and Chris McCain looked like a player who shouldn’t come off the field.

Here’s a crazy stat per Dan Woike: If Bosa and Ingram were their own NFL team, they’d have more sacks than 20 NFL teams. If you throw in McCain, they’d be tied for the 6th most sacks as a team in the NFL. Not only are these three getting consistent pressure, but they’re finishing when they get home.

Sportin’ the speed

Sunday, we saw a “NASCAR” front for the first time.

From left to right it was Bosa, Ingram, Jerry Attaochu, and McCain. We saw this look a handful of times and they created havoc each time. You can do a lot out of this front. One time they walked Jatavis Brown over the center and ran a twist from both sides. The offensive line’s heads were spinning with all that speed out there. We are seeing more and more of Ingram and Bosa on the same side. In fact, we saw that the first obvious passing down. Here is how it turned out.

Ingram’s athleticism against guards isn’t fair. The Chargers smelled blood in the water right away. As a football team, when you know you can beat the guy in front of you, it’s contagious. Everyone wants to get in on the action. One guy would beat his man, would force the quarterback to step up, and the next guy would hit Trevor Siemian. The defense swarmed Denver on Sunday. There was a screen on 3rd down in the 1st quarter that’s a good example of this.

Another NASCAR look. Before we talk about the swarm, check out Ingram. Maybe his biggest improvement this year save his strength has been his football IQ. In years past there’s no way he recognizes this screen. He’s been recognizing these quite a bit this year. He’s been playing sound football. As for the swarm, there are five defenders around the ball with Attaochu coming in hot. That’s what you want.

They are getting pressure in every way imaginable. I mentioned Ingram’s strength. His bullrush got him a sack on Sunday without even touching the quarterback. On the play where Jahleel Addae had the ball bounce off his chest, Ingram caused that play as well with a bullrush.

This year you’re seeing Ingram get home in a variety of ways. Now he’s finishing. That’s why he has a chance to break the single-season sack record for the franchise. He has some guys helping him out, though. Ingram has some selfless teammates that set him up nicely with stunts and twists. Ingram’s burst does the rest. Take his sack against the Giants for example. Look what Bosa does to the left tackle.

Who is Chris McCain?

We complained over and over that you have to get another pass rusher in the draft. How it should’ve been addressed. Almost halfway through the season, it appears another gem has been found by the coupon god. Chris McCain did not get drafted in 2014. He’s been on a couple different practice squads but never really made his presence felt enough to stick. During the preseason this year, you could see some flashes. He played himself onto the roster. McCain has gotten his opportunity this year and he hasn’t disappointed. You know those drills where defensive ends “run the hoop” in practices? That’s what McCain’s sacks look like if you added nos to him. He has some serious flexibility and burst.

That’s all speed right there. McCain is in the top 15 of sacks this year and the guys above him are full-time players who are mostly stars. He’s been everything we had hoped out of Attaochu. These aren’t hustle or coverage sacks. He’s flat out beating his man. Just like he did at the end of the game.

That dip and speed rush is a beauty. As nice as it would be for McCain to be producing sacks, if he can simply keep playing competent football and give the two starters a rest, that’s enough. The sacks are icing on the cake and make the defense that much more dangerous.

Oh Boy, Bosa

Last week I mentioned how Bosa was turning the corner. Based on this week it’s safe to say he's taken a couple laps around the corner. Bosa hit Siemian’s arm for a would-be pick-six that Jatavis Brown dropped. I love how he goes for the ball when he gets close. That’s what superstars do. They go for the jugular. He’s the guy who sets Ingram up on these stunts. Not to mention the guy doing the dirty work against the run. But when he gets a chance to pin his ears back and just go, oh boy. He can make you look silly. His bullrush isn’t too bad, either.

Poor Garrett Bolles had a rough go on Sunday.

Bosa’s first sack he almost ran himself out of the play. He plays so damn hard. The second sack is what great players do to inferior ones.

That’s what Von Miller does to the Chris Hairstons of the world. What J.J. Watt does to the AFC South. That’s what makes them great. I do think Ingram has been better than Bosa so far, but that’s no slight to Bosa. Bosa is coming on strong of late and it wouldn’t shock me if he ended up leading the team in sacks.

Winning is fun. Playing hard is contagious. The Chargers are finding favorable matchups and have guys that can take full advantage of those. They’re not going to be able to sustain the kind of dominance they did on Sunday. Look for teams to keep more guys in to block and help out on these guys. All that does is make the throwing lanes congested and the perimeter threats easier to cover.

It feels like the first time in a long time that the pass rush is not only consistent, but you almost expect somebody to get a sack on a drive. Last year, the Chargers ranked 15th in adjusted sack rate at 5.9%. So right around league average. This year they’re up to 9.3%, which would’ve been 1st last year. This year they’re the entire front line is playing for each other. Everyone celebrates no matter who makes a play. Playing for each other and learning from one another is paying huge dividends. We’ll see how they do against the Patriots, but the Super Sack Bros look here to stay. Having a sidekick like McCain only makes life easier. As of now, they’re the best duo and trio in the league.