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Top Ten Defensive Performances of 2017: #2 Desmond King v. WAS

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King was everywhere against the ‘Skins. Double-digit tackles. A take-down of Cousins. This was the rookie’s breakout game of ‘17.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

#X.) Week 14 Desmond King vs. Washington - 10 tackles, Sack, Pass Deflection

Our list of top defensive performances from the 2017 season kicks off with a rookie defensive back that fell to the Chargers in the fifth-round just a year removed from winning the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back in college football.

Desmond King started to make an impression before the season even again as he recorded his first professional interception in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. While displaying a sticky tackling ability that’s rare among defensive backs, King quickly found his way to meaningful snaps just two weeks into the regular season.

In the Bolts’ Week 14 game against the Washington Redskins, King enjoyed a standout performance as he accumulated double-digit tackles for the first time in his career and showed off some of the skills that made him a consensus all-american at the University of Iowa.

For most of the game, the defense was in a Dime package that included six defensive backs on the field with Denzel Perryman being the only true linebacker on the field. King spent the majority of the game in the box and up on the line of scrimmage defending the slot/tight end while being one of the enforcers in run support.

King made a dozen splash plays that included a tackle of 240-pound back Samaje Perine in the flat that resembled a pile-driver more so than a regular tackle. Towards the end of the third quarter, King made three-straight plays for the defense that went as follows:

  • 1st & 10: Cousins throws a short stick route to tight end Vernon Davis. King patiently reads the patter and sits on it before exploding into Davis as soon as the ball hit his hands, jarring it loose. Incomplete.
  • 2nd & 10: Perine takes the draw up the middle for three yards before King throws a shoulder into his lower-body, upending him and immediately halting all progress. Perine had a lot of space to work with on this play but King read the action before wide receiver Jamison Crowder could make the block, saving a potential splash-play.
  • 3rd & 7: King comes on a slot blitz from the left of the formation and corrals Kirk Cousins for a sack.
  • 4th & Long: Punt.

It was the most fun I had watching a defensive player for the Chargers that wasn’t named Melvin Ingram or Joey Bosa. King was the real deal against the ‘Skins and I just hope the defensive backfield isn’t so crowded that the team loses out on getting him on the field as much as he should be.