From there, he never looked back.
Merriman went on to lead the Chargers in sacks with ten, the first rookie to ever lead the team, tying a rookie record set by Chris Mims in 1992.
He also recorded three multi-sack games, becoming the first rookie to have a multi-sack game since Sims.
"I am pretty aggressive in the way I play," said Merriman. "I want to play every down as if it is my last."
Nine of his sacks came after he was inserting into the starting lineup - a period of ten games.
"I told him that he surpassed my expectations," head coach Marty Schottenheimer confided. "He played extremely well. He is competitive, bright - I was pleasantly surprised."
Merriman is the first Chargers player to win the award.