Despite how depressing the week 1 game at the Kansas City Chiefs was, between losing Keenan Allen for what looks like the whole season, and blowing a 21 point lead to lose in overtime, it wasn’t ALL bad.
Melvin Gordon looked great. The pre-season definitely was not a fluke. MG3 is a different player than he was last year as a rookie, and it is a good thing.
Gordon had 14 carries for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. That is 2 more touchdowns than he had all of last season. The craziest, and saddest, part of that stat line, is that basically all of that production came in the first half. He looked very decisive, outside of one 3rd and short where he hesitated behind the line and got stopped for a loss, and picked the right holes on almost every rush.
MG3 should have all of the confidence in the world right now and will hopefully be able to build on today’s performance. I am completely mind boggled that the team went away from him in the 2nd half, but this is a positive article so we’ll ignore that for now.
Brandon Mebane (and most of the DL)
Mebane was awesome in his debut. He had a sack, a TFL, 2 QB hits, and was generally a nuisance for the Chiefs offensive line. Both games vs the Chargers last season the Chiefs managed well over 120 yards rushing, today they only managed 83 total with only 69 yards from their running backs.
When you combine Mebane’s performance with that of newcomer Caraun Reed and the obviously improved play from Corey Liuget, there is a lot to be hopeful for on the defensive line. Especially with Joey Bosa due to return in the next couple of weeks.
The Offensive Line
The Offensive line was night and day better than last season. Yes Justin Houston was out and yes Tamba Hali was limited, but the entire line put on a vastly improved performance. Rivers saw almost no pressure until the 4th quarter. Gordon and Danny Woodhead enjoyed good holes to run through all day.
If this line stays healthy, Rivers should enjoy a less painful year than last year. And it looks like the team is trying to make that happen. There were no reports of D.J. Fluker being hurt, yet the team was rotating Fluker and UDFA Spencer Pulley almost every other series. I think it was a good move to keep Fluker fresh and limit his reps as he finishes recovering from tweaking his ankle in practice a few weeks back.
So if you are a positive person, and looking for reasons to not pull a Tommen Baratheon this is a good place to start.