This is a weekly series breaking down the Chargers offensive and defensive play each week. To read the Chargers Week 1 offensive scouting report against the Cincinnati Bengals, Click Here.

The Chargers played exceptionally well on defense against rookie Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense. The Bolts kept the Bengals under 300 total yards in week one with Burrow passing for 173 yards. The defense had two takeaways with a fumble and interception. They struggled at getting off the field on third down where the Bengals had 42% conversion rate. They also struggled to contain Burrow who flashed some athleticism with his feet. He rushed 8 times for 46 yards, which included a 23-yard touchdown score. Overall, the Bengals scored 13 total points, the third lowest of any team last week.

Defensive Line Looks Massively Upgraded

(Mike Nowak/ Los Angeles Chargers)

Jerry Tillery had the best game of his short career. Many thought that Tillery had already stepped into bust territory, but if he can replicate his game on Sunday, there a lot to be excited about. As a pass rusher, Tillery was quick off the line with great motor. He was credited with one sack and three total pressures. Tillery still has work to do against the run, but he looks leagues ahead of where he was a year ago. He played only 28 snaps, of which, 21 where against passing plays. He came in on obvious pass rush situations, but based of his play last week, he has earned additional game reps.

Justin Jones was the starter over Tillery and he played 51 total snaps. He was credited with two tackles and two total pressures. Jones received a 70.0 grade from PFF. He is still struggling when rushing the passer, but plays a vital role against the run. Linval Joseph was able to get two pressures and three tackles on 42 total snaps. There is no denying the presence he brings to the interior of the defense, especially against the run.

Joey Bosa had three hurries, three hits and one sack for seven total pressures, which tied for second most in week 1. He routinely embarrassed Bobby Hart, the Bengals right tackle. PFF credited Bosa with a 91.6 overall grade. Melvin Ingram also had a great game, getting pressure on Joe Burrow four times. He was credited with two tackles, one stop and made a interception that really helped turn the ball game around. He admittedly struggled at times against the run, but stepped up when he needed too.

Linebacker Room Makes Big Plays When They Matter the Most

(Mike Nowak/ Los Angeles Chargers)

The loss of Drue Tranquill is going to be painful to this team, but Nick Vigil played well and could become the biggest under-the-radar signing in the entire NFL. Vigil seemed to be around the tackle on every play and came up with a fumble recovery. There were times in pass coverage where Burrow wanted to throw slants, but Vigil’s ability to cut off throwing windows forced coverage sacks or throwaways. Kenneth Murray’s rookie debut looked promising. He had eight total tackles and missed a perfectly read screen that nearly went for a five-yard-loss. He did give up five catches in coverage, but overall looked in position to limit big gains. Denzel Perryman did not play much, but he forced a massive turnover. He came downhill hard on Joe Mixon, who tried to spin out of contact, but the sheer force, mixed with Mixon’s spin, jarred the ball loose in Bengals territory.

Secondary Limits Heisman Winners Debut

He wasn’t given much love by PFF, but Casey Hayward had one hell of a day. Hayward was targeted more then any other defensive back in week 1 with 16 targets. He gave up 8 receptions for 82 yards. While that seems terrible, the reality is that Hayward really made things difficult for Joe Burrow and AJ Green. Hayward had 12 total tackles, where most of his tackles came out in space. He also had two twitchy pass breakups and Burrow had a 65.1 passer rating when targeting him. For his play, Hayward won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Michael Davis and Chris Harris Jr. had quiet days and were not targeted much. Harris played in the slot and started outside in base defense. Davis played outside on Nickel and Dime and played exceptionally well on special teams, especially at gunner on punt teams. Rayshawn Jenkins rotated between free safety and strong safety. He gave up two receptions on three targets. Adderley played only 27 total snaps, but had the biggest hiccup on the day that led to the Bengals only touchdown. On the play, he took a terrible angle on a Joe Burrow QB sneak, where he ran into a block and tripped over Rayshawn Jenkins. He will need to massively bounce back to redeem himself this week.

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