Chargers defense might have been “insane,” but it worked

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It was clear things were different from the first play of the game. And the Chargers knew it.

They threw a huge curveball to the Ravens yesterday, spending nearly the entire game in a seven-defensive back package, including the first snap of the game.

On that play, Chargers safety Derwin James dropped Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson for a loss of a yard, setting the tone for the entire day.

The momentum of the defense rose from there,” James told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “When that play happened, we just got so jacked.”

The idea was first broached by Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley last week, and was unconventional to say the least. Against run-heavy teams, many coaches want to be bigger. But the Chargers were a bit shorthanded at linebacker (Jatavis Brown was out with an ankle), so Bradley floated the idea to head coach Anthony Lynn to trade power for speed.

“Are we insane, or what?” Lynn replied.

As it turns out, they weren’t, but the results were crazy. They held the Ravens to 229 total yards, 90 on the ground. In the seven games since Jackson took over for an injured Joe Flacco, they were averaging nearly 230 rushing yards per game.

“I wasn’t sure how this was gonna hold up,” Lynn said. “They were running for 300 yards lots of games with Lamar playing. Gus felt like getting speed on the field could help contain Lamar. It could help in the passing game, dropping back and taking over routes that our linebackers usually cover. It worked. Our guys, they embraced it. It was risky, but it paid off. We’re talking about going up against a rushing attack that no one can stop right now. And we’re gonna do it with two 200-pound guys?”

It will be harder to catch Patriots coach Bill Belichick off guard, but the Chargers can also do a lot of different things with such a versatile defender as James and constant pressure coming from their front.

17 responses to “Chargers defense might have been “insane,” but it worked

  1. After his debacle in Jax, I felt like we’d never see Gus Bradley again. He never showed an inkling of this creativity.

    Some people are just made to be coordinators.

  2. Send your Thank You cards to the Ravens OC Marty Mornhinweg. He had no answers. Didn’t make any game plan changes at half time. He ruin Flacco, now he’s going to ruin Lamar.

  3. Jackson will not be good next year. Other teams will have an entire off season to figure him out and he will be exposed. Just like the year RG III, Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson exploded with great seasons, once other teams had a while to process what they were doing only Wilson survived because he had an arm too.

  4. There are many critics of the massive defensive shifts in baseball leaving one side of the field unprotected. It works. Hitters don’t try to adjust. We saw that with an offense yesterday. Baffling

  5. Which in turn the Ravens will counter with a Legarette Blount type or 2.

    A FB, two TE set would have shut that right down. Can’t believe they never adjusted. You have a running QB, you should have a thumper, a FB and some TE’s who can block on your roster (and roll off of blocks for screens etc). Add a couple of guys who run fly patterns.

    If Jackson is their QB of the future, watch for the above roster adjustments as the whole league will throw 6 plus DB’s at them every game.

    Physics 101. F=MA. Force = Mass X Acceleration. You want to be forceful, get the mass (obviously the faster, the better).

  6. While its true that Chargers will not see nearly as good a defense as they did yesterday. They certainly will face an offense that is not as totally inept as the Ravens…should be a great game.

  7. The Chargers should put their defensive genius on further display this weekend by blitzing defensive backs up the middle instead of defensive ends. Let’s see if that works. If you have to cart a couple of DeeBees off the field that have James Devlin’s helmet imprinted in their chest, you can “make adjustments.” LOL.

  8. Insanely brilliant! But, I saw traces of complacency near the end of the game. Rivers face showed he was pissed. Can’t finish and put the “hammer” down. Chargers of old.

  9. “Belichick can be caught off guard by the Wildcat. Try that.”

    The wildcat was effective in the NFL exactly once, the very first time the Fins pulled it out against the Pats. After that it never had any significant success including against the Pats after that so no, he won’t be caught off guard again.

    Now if they can come up with something else different that no one in the NFL has done or done in a long long time, perhaps the Charges will get lucky again.

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