The Chargers had a 24-10 lead over the Denver Broncos towards the end of the third quarter. They had been generating a pass rush on defense led by defensive end Joey Bosa until he went out with an injury. The team’s doctors diagnosed him with a concussion, and he had to sit out the rest of the game.
Denver came back to win the game 31-30. Bosa said he was told that he was kneed on the back of the head during a play.
“I remember arriving here on the bus and that's about it,” Bosa said.
The next few days were rough for the defensive end.
“It was it was stressful dealing with it afterwards,” explained Bosa. “I definitely fell off for a few days, slowed down. I really didn't leave my room for the first day, I just went to get COVID tests or whatever. So, a little depressed for a few days thinking about it and the way it affects your brain.”
That’s what concerned the 25-year old player. When speaking to reporters on Thursday he stressed how important mental health is to him.
“It's your health long term and you see so many people losing their minds,” Bosa explained. There's people around me that have been losing their fathers from, from brain diseases and it's just it's a scary thing to think of.”
This was the first concussion for Bosa in the NFL. He tried to stay upbeat during his roughest of days.
“I’m sure my brother can attest that I was a little agitated for a few days,” Bosa said of his brother, Nick, who plays for the San Francisco 49ers and is staying with the Bolts player while he rehabs a torn ACL.”
After sustaining a terrible head injury, Bosa said he won’t change his style of play. His defensive coordinator believes he will see the same number 97 on Sunday.
“The number of tests he took. The number of things he’s gone through to get to this point, I think in some cases, or a lot of cases, really eases the players’ minds,” Gus Bradley said. “He’s gone through so much that I think just going through the process breeds confidence. That part I think he’s good.”
Bosa was out for two games. Their defense wasn’t able to generate a pass rush and the team lost both games. After sitting out and resting his body Bosa is ready.
“Coming off of two weeks off I feel good,” said Bosa. “My legs feel good. So, I'm just excited to get out there and play football.”
The team isn’t doing all that good. They are 2-7 this season and have lost every game by one score. On Monday, receiver Keenan Allen told the media the team needs to start making plays. Bosa also wants players to step up and make plays including himself.
“When you are presented opportunities, I have said this five times I am not asking you to do a cartwheel and then backflip it and pick it off between your legs with one arm then moonwalk into the endzone or some sh**,” explained Bosa. “If the ball is thrown at you, you have to make plays. I am not pointing fingers but if you want to win and be a great team you got to call it out and you got to tell it how it is.
“I always want to say it starts with me because I am as big of a culprit as anybody. Two or three of my sacks this year you see me holding on for dear life when I can easily reach out and go for the ball. I need to do a better job with that. When the balls are thrown at you or any opportunity you can’t make silly mistakes you just have to capitalize on the opportunities.”
Both sides of the football have struggled. The offense at times becomes passive and doesn’t take advantage of opportunities. The defense has lapses where they miss tackles, blow coverages, and can’t seem to create turnovers. Special teams are just riddled with mistakes all over. All three areas are equally at fault for the Bolts record.
“It's tough when you're on a on a little streak like this, but I think guys have really done a good job of staying with it,” said Bosa. “Because it's tough losing. But I think we all understand the room we have or the group of guys that we have and what we can do and to just to lay down and give up on the rest of the season isn't what these guys are about. So, we're going to play hard.”
This Sunday, the Chargers will face off against the winless New York Jets. The team has been asked about facing a winless team all weekend and they have all reiterated the same message, not to underestimate them.
“You can't take anybody lightly,” explained Bosa. “I learned last time the Browns a few years ago. We were there only when so been there.”
The game Bosa is referring to was on Christmas Eve 2016. The 5-9 Chargers faced the 0-14 Cleveland Browns. It came down to the wire. The Browns were up 20-17 when then kicker Josh Lambo got a field blocked in the second to last drive of the game. Then missed a 45-yarder at the end of the game and gave the Browns their only victory of the season.
Bosa understands that anything can happen on Sunday, but he feels good about his team moving forward.
“For us to get to where we want to go at the end of the season, we got to start with this game,” explained Bosa. “So, it's an important game for us to stay locked in and not look ahead, but they're playing for pride too. They're going to give it their best shot too. So, we have to be ready.”