Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa is one of the NFL's best pass rushers, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has taken notice.
Bosa has tallied 7.5 sacks in nine games this season. He has a strong chance to finish with 10 or more sacks for the fourth time in five pro seasons. In fact, the only year in which he failed to reach the 10-sack mark came in 2018 when he only played in seven games due to injury.
The Ohio State product will be a difficult matchup for the Patriots offensive line when New England plays the Chargers in a Week 13 matchup Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. Bosa is coming off a fantastic Week 12 performance during which he had three sacks, five QB hits, six tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery against the Buffalo Bills.
Belichick had plenty of praise for Bosa in his Wednesday video press conference.
"He's a one-man wrecking crew," Belichick said. "I think he does everything well, really. You look at the Buffalo game -- he made plays against the run, plays on short yardage, he rushed the passer in passing situations, he sacked the quarterback on play-action situations where he converted a run-read into a play-action rush.
"He's very instinctive, he's got a tremendous motor, he plays hard. He never gives up, he makes a lot of plays on effort and hustle. He's got strong hands, he can control the blockers, and he's instinctive and can find the ball. It's a combination of his quickness, explosiveness and his instincts."
Bosa has played one regular season game versus the Patriots in his career. He tallied one sack, four tackles and one QB hit in a 21-13 Chargers loss in 2017. He also played against New England in a 2018 AFC Divisional Round contest and failed to record a single sack or QB hit in another Chargers loss.
In that playoff game, the Patriots dominated offensively and quarterback Tom Brady evaded the Chargers' vaunted pass rush by getting the ball out quickly. NFL Films caught Bosa telling Brady, "Stop throwing the ball so fast, Tom."
A similar approach would be wise in Sunday's game, but Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has held on to the ball too long in many instances over the last few weeks. Not getting the ball out quick enough has led to sacks and other bad outcomes.
The strength of the Patriots offense is its run game, and the Chargers defense allows 4.8 yards per carry. This is where the Pats can be most effective, but when Newton does have to throw, keeping Bosa away from him will be a top priority for New England.