Bosa's 2 sacks in debut provide positive in Chargers loss
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Joey Bosa's long-awaited debut for the San Diego Chargers was a success - except for the final result.
After having the start of his rookie season derailed by a nasty contract dispute and a hamstring injury, Bosa got his first opportunity to get on the field Sunday and showed why the Chargers picked him third overall in the draft.
Bosa sacked Derek Carr twice and added another tackle for loss on a run play in the Chargers' 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
''It's football,'' Bosa said. ''It's the same as college, except players are a lot better. I've been it doing it my whole life. It felt pretty natural. It's nice to get the butterflies out because I was pretty nervous coming into this game. A lot of tension leading up to this moment. I'm happy the way I played. I know I could play a lot better. But, until we start winning, it really doesn't matter.''
The loss wasn't Bosa's fault. He entered the game on Oakland's second drive and spent plenty of time in the Raiders backfield. He hit Jalen Richard for a loss in the second quarter, then got his first sack on a late first-half drive for the Raiders.
Bosa added a sack in the fourth quarter that helped the Chargers earn a key defensive stop that set up what could have been a game-tying drive.
''It was the first time I was really feeling playing football in a long time,'' Bosa said. ''It took a series or two to get used, but once I got the butterflies and got back in the swing of playing, it was fun.''
It just wasn't enough for the Chargers to avoid another heartbreaking loss late. San Diego (1-4), which lost three games it led at the two-minute warning, seemed poised for a comeback win.
Philip Rivers threw his fourth TD pass to cut Oakland's lead to 34-31 midway through the fourth quarter and then Bosa's second sack set up the Chargers for a late drive.
Rivers drove San Diego down the field late. But after Melvin Gordon was held to 1 yard on third-and-2, coach Mike McCoy opted for a 36-yard field goal. Mike Windt's snap was on target, but rookie Drew Kaser couldn't get down the hold and the Chargers never got a chance at the tie.
''It's pretty unbelievable the things that are happening to us, but there's no one else to blame, only ourselves,'' Bosa said. ''We got to get together as a team and really find out why this is happening. It's a theme. Things don't happen for no reason. There's a reason. We got a lot of great guys and we're playing really hard. It's not a talent thing, we just got to figure it out and I think we will.''
It will help having Bosa on the field. The Chargers were counting on him to make an immediate impact after drafting him third overall. But a lengthy contract dispute kept him away from the team until just before the start of the season.
Then soon after he joined the team, he injured his hamstring, leading him to miss the first four weeks.
But the Chargers liked what they saw Sunday.
''It's what you expect from a player like that, the way he's played,'' coach Mike McCoy said. ''There's a number of plays you look at and say, `Wow, there's the wow factor.' So he played lights out.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL