No Melvin, No Problem. As cliché as it sounds, the proof was on full display Sunday afternoon in Carson, California. Austin Ekeler, thrust into primary running back duties with Melvin Gordon continuing his lengthy holdout, accounted for three total touchdowns, including 58 yards on the ground and 96 yards through the air.
The Western Colorado product was dynamic in every sense of the word, proving himself to be a serious homerun threat every time he touches the ball (his screen pass in the third quarter went for a 55-yard touchdown). Additionally, and perhaps more importantly for this Chargers team moving forward, Ekeler proved himself worthy of being an every-down back and handling a serious workload.
Phillip Rivers was his usual accurate self on Sunday, connecting on 25 of 34 passes for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns. His primary recipients, Keenan Allen (8 rec,123 yds, 1 TD) and the aforementioned Ekeler. The sixteen-year vet showed his mettle on the first and only drive of overtime, connecting with Allen and tight end Hunter Henry on consecutive big plays to put the Chargers in great field position for Ekeler to ultimately punch it in with the walk-off.
While the offense was seemingly firing on all cylinders Sunday, the Charger defense was less than impressive. The unit squandered fifteen consecutive points in the second half to the Jacoby Brissett led Colts and were gashed the entire game by Marlon Mack to the tune of 174 yards from scrimmage.
Brissett, in his first action since assuming command of the offense from the now-retired Andrew Luck, proved he was more than up to the task – twice connecting with T.Y Hilton in the endzone, including the game-tying touchdown with 48 seconds remaining.
The Chargers will look to continue their winnings ways next week in Detroit, a team that was also was taken to overtime this afternoon by a young Arizona Cardinals team.
The Chargers will once again be without Pro Bowler’s Derwin James (Safety) and Russell Okung (Tackle). James remains on Injured Reserve for a stress fracture he sustained in his foot, while Okung continues to recover from a Pulmonary Embolism.
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