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Chargers DC: Record-breaking Joey Bosa 'unbelievable'

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Lost in Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers' cross-country defeat to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday, a battle between two aging quarterbacks, was a record-breaking performance by the best young player on either team: Joey Bosa.

The Chargers' second-year defensive end sacked the immortal Brady in the second quarter, bringing his career total to 19 sacks. Bosa's takedown gave him the most sacks by any player in NFL history over his first 20 games, besting the likes of Aldon Smith, Clay Matthews and Von Miller.

Bosa, alongside Melvin Ingram, makes up the most feared pass-rushing duo in the league and, so far this season, the most prolific. Through nine weeks, the pair's combined 17 sacks are the most by any two teammates.

If you turn on your regular cable sports channel -- ahem, try NFL Network -- you likely won't see analysis or constant praise of Bosa, as the two play for a 3-5 team with home-field advantage issues. But the Chargers lynchpin is rightfully earning respect from the people who matter in the places that matter.

"His athleticism is unbelievable now," Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley told reporters Tuesday. "I've not seen a guy his size and weight, and have the athleticism that he has. It's very, very natural to him. Things come fast."

Bosa has also earned high praise from those outside the building, specifically those who will one day enter a revered building in Canton.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick orrated a 287-word love letter to the Bolts end ahead of last week's matchup, saying in part, "He's really just good at everything but he's got a great motor so you've got to deal with him every play. You can't run away from him; that's not the answer because he'll chase down plays."

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had similar things to say: "Well, there's not much that doesn't impress me. ... Sometimes it takes guys a little time to develop a repertoire of rush moves in our league that enable them to have success and I would say this guy is really -- for a guy that hasn't played multiple, multiple seasons in the NFL he's got a lot of different things to him as a pass rusher that you've got to get ready for."

Without J.J. Watt in the mix, there is a legitimate open race for Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Demarcus Lawrence is trucking tackles in Dallas; Calais Campbell started hot in Duval and hasn't let up; and Micah Hyde (5 INTs) has developed an uncanny nose for the ball.

But don't overlook Bosa, whose breakout performances are getting lost in the distracted Los Angeles media landscape but are not lost among his peers.

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