We are four games into the 2018 season and there some real themes to this team that are starting to develop.
The most prominent theme up to this point has obviously got to be the interchangeable productivity of the team’s backfield duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. At this moment, the Chargers are currently one of four teams with two running backs receiving a grade above 70.0. If you include Derek Watt, the team sports a trio of backs receiving above-average grades (60.0 = average).
2018 Season grades:— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) October 1, 2018
Only three other teams have two RBs with 70.0+ grades. pic.twitter.com/xUcNAxQOv2
Its also great to see Ekeler still at the top of PFF’s rankings as he continues to be the highest-graded running back through the first four weeks of the season with a grade of 91.2 (90.0=elite).
The stat sheets of both Gordon and Ekeler help paint a picture of complimentary football where both running backs always get their fill of yards and points.
Here’s the breakdown of their stats up to this point:
Rushing - 54 carries, 276 yards, 5.1 per tote, 2 touchdowns
Receiving- 24 catches, 199 yards, 8.3 per reception, 3 touchdowns
Total yards from scrimmage per game - 118.8
Rushing - 28 rushes, 188 yards, 6.7 per tote, 0 touchdowns
Receiving - 13 catches, 163 yards, 12.5 per reception, 2 touchdowns
Total yards from scrimmage per game - 87.8
According to Chargers reporter Chris Hayre, the Bolts’ backfield is on course to do some historic things this season:
Through the season’s first quarter, @Melvingordon25 and @AustinEkeler are on pace for 3,304 yards from scrimmage and 28 TDs. The historic Saints duo of Ingram/Kamara combined for 3,094 yards and 25 TDs in ‘17.— Chris Hayre (@chrishayre) October 1, 2018
To gas up the play of Ekeler even more, he currently sits as the most elusive back in the NFL according to PFF with a 131.7 rating in that category.
Austin Ekeler has touched the ball 41 times this season and had avoided 12 total tackles. This is good enough for the highest elusive rating in the #NFL (131.7) among RBs with 20+ rushing attempts. pic.twitter.com/NIkCaiRgqv— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) October 1, 2018
Not to compare this team to last year’s Saints squad, but we all saw what that team was able to accomplish with a surprising defense and the pairing of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram leading the offensive charge.
Could something similar be in the cards for the Chargers? Only time will tell.
(And maybe if Joey Bosa and Forrest Lamp can finally get on the field.)