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Chargers pass defense was one of the best at preventing first downs in 2018

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In what should be a surprise to nobody in 2019, passing first downs and passing first down percentage are some of the clearest indicators of an offense’s quality and that’s offense’s overall success. And on the other side of that coin, prevention of first downs is one of the keys to successful defense.

The great Chase Stuart of Football Perspective, defines passing first down percentage as “passing first downs divided by total team pass attempts (which includes sacks).” The Chicago Bears defense led the NFL in defensive passing first down percentage with a mark of 28% while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in dead last at 36.5%.

The Los Angeles Chargers pass defense led by Derwin James and the pass rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram rank 6th by this metric having allowed a first down on only 30.4% of passing plays and allowed the fifth fewest passing first downs overall.

The top defenses by this statistic were all quality defenses overall and that is certainly true of Gus Bradley’s unit.

Offensively, the Chargers were quite strong by this metric as well as they were tied with the New Orleans Saints and trailed only the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.