COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Out with a bruised left foot since August, Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa was pleased that he came through his first game action of 2018 healthy and ready for more.
"My foot is feeling all right, so again, I'm going to just keep managing it," Bosa said. "At this point I really know what to expect. So when I wake up, it's tough to walk in the morning and it takes a little bit to warm up, it's totally fine and expected. So it's not much of a worry at all anymore."
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said the plan was for Bosa to play about 20 snaps in his first game action last week against the Denver Broncos, after missing the first nine games of the season with a foot injury.
However, Bosa ended up playing 31 defensive snaps in the Chargers' late-game loss to the visiting Broncos over the weekend. Lynn said Bosa was a little sore on Monday, but came through the game healthy.
"We probably had him around 20, but you know how coaches are," Lynn said. "When you get in the game, you're trying to win. But we have to be careful with him; we don't want to just throw him out there and say 'go.' He hasn't played in a while, and we didn't want him to hurt something else, so we'll work him back in there slowly."
For his part, Bosa said he felt a little rusty early on, but got more comfortable as the game wore on. Bosa said he texted younger brother Nick Bosa at halftime for some guidance. Nick Bosa told his older brother to focus on getting off the football, and Bosa said that helped.
Bosa did not have a padded practice last week, so he didn't know how his body would react when he first tried to pass rush against a 300-pound offensive tackle.
"I think at the start of the game all the focus was on my body and how I was going to feel, and that's not good when you have all of the tasks ahead," Bosa said. "But I think toward the second and third quarter I just started thinking, 'get off the ball,' and I knew my foot was going to hold up."
Bosa said he got confidence in the opening quarter when he chased down Denver running back Phillip Lindsay on a screen pass and then forced quarterback Case Keenum out of bounds on a scramble out of the pocket on the next play.
"After those two plays I was like, 'All right, I'm feeling good. I just pushed myself hard there.' I wasn't really feeling much with my adrenaline going and everything," Bosa said. "As the game went on I had a little more confidence and just started thinking about trying to get off the ball and make things happen."
Lynn said Bosa should get even more reps in practice and in next week's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
"I thought for his first game back and not playing football for 13 or 14 weeks, I thought he looked good," Lynn said. "I thought he showed good explosion and speed coming off the edge. He came out of the game healthy, and that was the goal."
Now that he has made it through the week and knows that he's healthy, Bosa said he's focused on getting back to the level he played at last year, when he led the team with 12.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl.
"I know my foot can withstand it, and I know my body can withstand it," Bosa said. "I was in pretty good condition out there, so this week will be about getting back to my technique and playing -- more of the football aspect of it than the health aspect of it."