Chargers’ Joey Bosa, Raiders’ Derek Carr tackle smack talk with compliments
They exchanged a little trash talk back in October.
This week, Joey Bosa and Derek Carr exchanged anything but.
“I’m a fan of him,” said Bosa, who on Thursday called Carr “one of the top passers” in the NFL, “a really good guy” and a “great competitor.”
Carr, speaking to reporters in Las Vegas a day earlier, labeled the Chargers’ Pro Bowl edge rusher as “one of the best in the world” before adding, “I think the world of Joey.”
Entering the teams’ game Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Bosa and Carr swapped the sort of respect befitting players with a combined 14 NFL seasons who will share the same field for the ninth time.
The Chargers beat the Raiders 28-14 at home in October, but L.A. coach Brandon Staley says neither team resembles the squads that played in the fall.
Their relationship felt somewhat icier following the Chargers’ 28-14 victory over the Raiders on Oct. 4 at SoFi Stadium.
That night, Bosa noted that Carr appeared shaken by the Chargers’ pass rush, saying the quarterback “was pretty much curling into a ball” even before being sacked on a play in the fourth quarter.
Carr countered by wondering if Bosa had watched the game in reverse since Las Vegas rallied in the third quarter to tighten the score and suggested the Chargers might have been swept up in their victorious emotions.
Asked to revisit the situation Thursday, Bosa said: “I have nothing against him, don’t disrespect him like that. But I was just pointing something out you could easily look up and see.”
The Chargers sacked Carr four times in the game, no team getting to him more often this season. He finished 21 of 34 for a season-low 196 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.
Bosa had seven of the Chargers’ 22 pressures — according to Pro Football Focus — and sacked Carr for a 12-yard loss in the first quarter.
The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners of Week 18 of the 2021 NFL season.
“I think we get along,” Bosa said. “I was just pointing out something that I noticed. When he gets pressure, he seems to shut down a little bit like it seems like a lot of quarterbacks do with pressure in their face.”
Verbally sparring with the opposition is part of the game, Bosa said. He likened it to the exchanges he said he had growing up with his younger brother, Nick, who is now an edge rusher for San Francisco.
“You don’t want to obviously say anything that’s too offensive or mean,” Bosa said. “But it’s fun chirping back and forth.”
Last weekend against Denver, Bosa engaged with Drew Lock, who was caught by a field microphone questioning Bosa’s stamina following a play.
“It wasn’t malicious or anything,” Bosa said. “He just looked at me and said, ‘He’s tired! He’s tired!’ I mean, I was extremely tired. So it was a good point. When he said that, I got in a three-point stance and said, ‘Run at me then! Come on, run at me!’
“And, somehow, they ran it right at me and I got a TFL (tackle for loss). And it was, ‘Who’s tired?’ as I run off the field and need a break.”
Justin Herbert broke Philip Rivers’ single-season record for most touchdown passes in Chargers history Sunday, showcasing how much he continues to improve.
With a playoff berth riding Sunday, the Chargers will be looking to pressure Carr once again. He and the Raiders have won three in a row, mostly behind a defense that has allowed only 47 points during the streak.
Bosa just made his fourth Pro Bowl. He leads the team with 9.5 sacks and tops the NFL with six strip-sacks, the most by a Charger over at least the last two decades.
The performance has followed an offseason that Bosa called “not the most productive for me.” He dealt with numerous injuries a year ago, including a pair of concussions.
Bosa has talked openly about struggling after the second concussion, including his participation in mental health programs promoted by the Chargers and the NFL.
The Chargers were able to beat the Raiders with a strong running attack during their first meeting, and they’ll need that again to become playoff team.
Last month, he was evaluated for a head injury after a play against Cincinnati and — although he was medically cleared — later admitted with “a few more bad shots” he might have to consider retirement.
“It was a tough year for me,” Bosa said of 2020. “To make it this far and to be productive and to still be healthy — playing hard and working hard — I’m honestly really proud of what I’ve accomplished this year.”
Pro Bowl Center Corey Linsley (back) returned to practice after missing Wednesday. Starting linebacker Drue Tranquill (ankle) was limited and reserve defensive tackle Joe Gaziano (ankle) did not practice.
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