A torn ACL wiped away his 2020 season after just two games — all after a promising rookie campaign that saw him claim NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
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But on Sunday, November 22, in his home state of Florida, Bosa got to celebrate his latest accomplishment at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville…and he shared an emotional moment after this career milestone achievement.
Bosa Bear Hug
For a man who goes by @nbsmallerbear on Twitter, maybe it’s only fitting his delivered a bear hug.
Bosa penetrated through the Jacksonville Jaguars’ protection and got to quarterback Trevor Lawrence for season sack No. 10, marking it a career best number for the third-year defender. But instead of a sack dance, he went straight over to his defensive line coach as captured by The Athletic’s David Lombardi:
The 43-year-old Kocurek is sometimes in a thankless job: One where his unit will pile the tackles and sacks then get the glorification by fans and media afterwards…but the DL coach rarely gets mentioned. In this sequence, Kocurek received a much deserved gratitude moment from the man he coaches to attack the QB and continue his comeback path.
Bosa has gone from crutches, to trying to put weight on his injured knee all over again, to now reaching his first-ever double-digit sack season. And a usually soft-spoken Bosa became more talkative after the 30-10 trouncing of the Jaguars.
Bosa Claims He’s Improving
Bosa was asked about the feeling of getting sack No. 10 and where he now stands in his development as a rusher.
The ex-Ohio State Buckeye became honest in his personal assessment.
“I think I’ve definitely improved a lot,” Bosa said to reporters following the game. “I think I’m starting to get the hang of just how to really get sacks, get numbers.”
Is it much different from when he entered the league as the No. 2 overall pick in 2019?
“My rookie year, I was just out there rushing, trying to win every time, and it worked well,” Bosa recalled. “But now I’m really getting the hang of how the sack leaders in the league do it.
“They go out there with a plan and know when their opportunities are going to come, and they’re ready for it,” Bosa continued. “A game like this, I thought my ops (opportunities) were over, and then I get two. I’m just staying in the game and just playing mind games with the guys you’re going against.”
Here’s one example of the mental chess game Bosa now pulls: Here, he’s lined up against 6-foot-5, 312-pound right tackle Jawann Taylor, who has a 45-pound weight advantage over the 49er. However, Bosa tricks him with where he’s going by using the eyes — his eyes are looking left but Bosa cuts across to his right and attempts the rip (or arm under) move. Taylor ends up resorting to holding after getting defeated by Bosa on his first move. Bosa doesn’t stop rushing though.
He pulled the same eyes shift/stutter step move on Taylor who again is caught holding. This play, however, results in the sack for Bosa.
Bosa is proving he’s more than a QB attacker. On this run play, he fights with his hands and gets enough of a push to wreck the running play by driving back the blocking tight end.
None of those moves would be made possible if it weren’t for his recovery from his ACL tear, as rigorous training with his L.A. Chargers brother Joey led him to 10 sacks in 10 games.
“I definitely feel like I’m moving better than I ever have, which, coming off an injury is great to be able to get to this point,” Bosa said. “It’s a credit to our training that we do back home and all the work that me and my brother put in in the offseason, and it’s paying off.”
Snatching his 10th sack this season, then sharing the emotional hug with his DL coach, is the proof things are paying off for Bosa. Now, he has this honor through 10 games: