When Christian Covington flung his Las Vegas Raiders defender aside and started to collapse the pocket, Derek Carr tucked the ball in his chest and turned around.
He’d stepped up in the pocket, looking for a receiving option to open up downfield, but Covington — along with the other Los Angeles Chargers defenders — prevented those windows from opening.
“He was pretty much curling into a ball before we even got back there,” Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa said postgame about Carr’s reaction to pressure.
Bosa said he knew that would happen, that once the Chargers started to register a few quarterback hits they’d throw Carr and the Raiders offense off their rhythm. Carr “really gets shook” when those hits happen, Bosa said.
Los Angeles registered four sacks in its 28-14 win over the Raiders on Monday, and the Chargers limited Carr to 196 yards passing — his fewest of the season by nearly 186 yards — and slowed down what was one of the NFL’s top offenses through the first few weeks.
“Great dude, great player, (Carr’s) been having a great year,” Bosa said. “But we know once you get pressure on him, he kind of shuts down and he’s not as effective with the crowded pockets.”
Bosa recorded one of Los Angeles’ additional sacks, along with Kyler Fackrell and Jerry Tillery, and also forced a fumble early in the game that the Raiders recovered but set the tone for his defensive unit. Las Vegas recorded 51 yards of offense in the first half, trailing 21-0 at the break before recovering with two touchdowns in the third quarter to make it a one-possession deficit.
Austin Ekeler’s 11-yard run with five minutes left capped a 10-play 58-yard drive that extended the Chargers’ lead back to two possessions, though. And the Chargers then forced Carr and Las Vegas’ offense into back-to-back turnovers to close the game — one via an interception, one via a turnover on downs.