The Chargers needed their defensive line to step up in the absence of nearly their entire linebacker corps, and Melvin Ingram delivered…
Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram did not deliver one of his more statistically productive seasons in 2018, as his seven sacks and 43 combined tackles were his lowest numbers since 2014. However, in the face of a dominant Baltimore Ravens rushing attack, Ingram had his best game of the year.
- Seven combined tackles
- Two sacks
- One forced fumble
Technically, this is a 2019 game, and if Ingram had performed this well in the team’s actual 2018 game against the Ravens, the Chargers may have skipped the Wild Card Round altogether. It’s a part of the 2018 season, though, so it counts.
The Chargers were without starting linebackers Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown, and Kyzir White, forcing more defensive backs to move up and play linebacker. Although a linebacker corps of Derwin James, Desmond King, Adrian Phillips, and even Jahleel Addae is a solid unit, there’s only so long corners and safeties can hold off an offense built to run the football.
Ingram, who had not recorded a sack since Week 15, was a one-man wrecking ball through M&T Bank Stadium. With the Chargers offense struggling to move the ball in the first quarter, Ingram forced a fumble leading to a short field goal, the first three points of the game. His second sack of the game pushed the Ravens into a fourth-and-19 punt, which gave the Chargers a short field to convert a field goal for another three points.
How much did the Chargers win by? Six points.
.@MelvinIngram. Sheesh. ?
— NFL (@NFL) January 6, 2019
There were multiple heroes in this game, but Ingram was arguably the most dominant player on the field. Without Ingram’s game-wrecking plays, the Chargers may have never seen an opportunity to play in the Divisional Round. As a disruptive force along the defensive line, Ingram was the difference-maker a depleted Chargers defensive unit needed.