Los Angeles Chargers exceeded the expectations of many in 2017, earning a 9-7 record that was good enough for second place in the AFC West. The Chargers, led by first year head coach Anthony Lynn, ended the season on the outside looking in at the AFC Playoff Picture. A big factor of their success was down to the the defense. Featuring a number of up and coming young players and was one of the best in the league. Lets see how they rated.
The Chargers’ defense was best known for its pass rushing duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. The pair helped the Chargers amass 43.0 sacks on the year, tying with the Tennessee Titans for the fifth-most in the league. The pass defense was especially good in 2017. It ranked third best in both passing yards allowed with 3,156 and passing touchdowns allowed with 17.
The weakness of this season’s team was the run defense. The Chargers allowed the second-most total rushing yards on the season with 2,098. Additionally, they finished dead last in rush yards per attempt allowed with 4.9. On the bright side, the defense allowed only 11 rushing touchdowns through 16 games, which was 13th best in the NFL. Overall, the team allowed a third-best 5.6 net yards per attempt, the third fewest points scored with 272, and ranked 15th in total yards allowed with 5,254.
One of the best parts of this Chargers’ defense was their ability to force turnovers, racking up 27 total turnovers, equating to sixth-best in the league. Nine of those turnovers were forced fumbles which ranked 14th. In the air, the group forced the sixth-most interceptions in the league with 18.
Down Conversion Rate
The defense managed to allow the sixth fewest opposing converted first downs with 282; 99 were allowed on rushing plays, 153 on passing plays, and 30 by penalty. However, their standard dropped on third downs, allowing 86 successful conversions on 221 attempts for an opposing 38.9 percent success rate which was only 19th in the NFL. The team fared much better on fourth down, allowing six successful conversions 20 attempts for a 30 percent success rate which was good for fifth-best in the league. The Chargers’ red zone defense performed spectacularly in 2017, allowing just 13 scores on 36 attempts for a success rate of 36.1 percent, the best mark in the NFL.
With the likes of Joey Bosa, Trevor Williams and Desmond King still young in their careers, the level can only raise. Chargers fans should expect for the defense to take another step forward in 2018 and continue its ascension to an elite level.
–Andrew Hernandez is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @achernandez17