Chargers DE Ingram gives Seahawks something to think about
However, he couldn’t resist the chance to exploit a Seattle offensive line that clearly had not game-planned for him, not with the teams set to meet again in the regular season.
Ingram made the game anything but enjoyable for quarterback Russell Wilson by getting into the backfield seemingly at will. Though he did not record a sack, Ingram sped past Ifedi and forced Wilson to step up into the waiting arms of Isaac Rochell for a loss of 4 yards late in the second quarter. He also bull-rushed through Ifedi to force Wilson to scramble and make an off-balance throw that fell incomplete.
Ifedi had no answers for Ingram, who has 29 sacks over the past three seasons. Even the right tackle’s attempt to cut block on a stretch run to the other side of the formation couldn’t even knock Ingram off his feet, with Ingram putting his hands down to keep his balance and popping back up to provide the backside pursuit.
“We like the matchup with Melvin always,” Chargers linebacker Kyle Emanuel said with a laugh.
The loose nature of the preseason game allowed Ingram to showcase the raw athleticism that led the Chargers to draft him 18th overall in 2012. But Rochell said Ingram and bookend Joey Bosa, who did not play because of a foot injury, have a clinical understanding of how to create pressure off the edge. Unlike some players that rely solely on physical tools, Rochell said Ingram and Bosa can explain how and why they can get to the quarterback. That skill has been invaluable for the progression of Rochell entering his second NFL season.
“It’s really impressive from that standpoint, and it’s really easy to learn from guys like that cause then you can ask them, ‘What did you do there? How can I do that? And, how can I implement that?'” said Rochell, who had two sacks. “And they can coach you through it. By far the best thing for me in my pass rush development has been being around Melvin and Joey.”
At 29 and coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance after matching his career high with 10 1/2 sacks last season, Ingram believes he has still not reached the point where his athleticism and understanding of the game have intersected.
That declaration seems hard to accept given how he forced a fumble at the goal line early in the second quarter. Lined up as a middle linebacker, Ingram saw that the defensive line and secondary had occupied blockers to give him a free path to running back Chris Carson. Ingram met Carson at the line of scrimmage, stood him up and ripped the ball loose so defensive tackle Brandon Mebane could recover it.
“I’ve still got a long way to go, man,” Ingram said. “You can never be too good. I’m trying to get better every aspect of my game, mentally and physically, so we’re just still climbing.”
Wilson recognized that the Seahawks would have to do a better job of accounting for Ingram when the teams play in Seattle in Week 9.
“Melvin Ingram is one of the best to do it in the game,” Wilson said. “The key is not letting them make too many big plays. We’ll see them down the road and we know that he’s going to try to cause havoc again.”