FOXBORO, Mass. — The Los Angeles Chargers boast two of the most feared pass rushers in all of the NFL, but they seemingly were nonexistent Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Despite the forces that are Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the New England Patriots managed to maintain a clean pocket throughout their divisional-round tilt with the Chargers. The lack of pressure from the Bolts allowed Tom Brady to complete 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards with a touchdown in the Patriots’ 41-28 win.
Joey Bosa couldn’t help but tip his cap after the game to Brady, who apparently was able to put aside the tension of a postseason matchup and have a little fun with the Chargers defensive end during the game.
“He did a really good job getting rid of the ball,” Bosa said. “I mean, every single time I won — which, I won a few pass rushes here and there — the ball was gone. We made a joke, we were talking to each other and he just patted me on the back and I said ‘Stop getting rid of the ball so fast!’ He said ‘Stop getting to me so fast and I won’t have to get rid of it!’ Their O-line, they did a good job. I wasn’t getting much in the first half. Every time you win a rush and you look up and the ball is gone, it’s a little demoralizing. But I just kept going and I think our defense fought that whole second half. Came up very short this time.”
Bosa’s frustration certainly is understandable, as Brady incorporated quick, short throws throughout the contest. While Julian Edelman shined with nine catches for 151 yards, James White quietly put together a monster performance with 15 catches for 97 yards. Brady and the Patriots opted for few deep balls down field, rather employing a death by a thousand cuts style of play.
Given the Kansas City Chiefs’ strong pass rush, which tied for the league lead in sacks in the regular season, we could see a similar game plan from New England in next Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports