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Surge or Static: Ekeler shines in RB1 finale

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers managed to NOT screw up Miami’s #TankForTua and walked out of HardRock Stadium with a 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.

Although the team gave their fans plenty to worry about, including an extremely rare Dolphins’ lead, they inevitably came out in the second half and put the Fins away once and for all.

And even though it was against the worst team in the NFL, it was still nice to see the Chargers score points after the midway point.

The victory was not without another handful of injuries to the team. In fact, my responsibility on Sunday was to write-up any in-game injuries.

I wrote SIX blurbs on SIX players that got hurt.

Those players included defensive end Melvin Ingram, kicker/punter Ty Long, and tight end Sean Culkin.

Ingram is expected to miss a few weeks, Long is getting a break from kicking since the team just signed kicker Chase McLaughlin, and Culkin is out for the year with a torn achilles.

I really can’t make this stuff up.

(Long sigh)

Well, we move on, adapt, and keep our eyes forward.

Here are you Surge or Static players for week four against the Miami Dolphins.

Surge

RB Austin Ekeler

In what could have been his final start for the Chargers this season, Ekeler continued to do what he does best: fill the stat sheet.

Ekeler finished the blowout of the Miami Dolphins with 122 yards (60 rush/62 rec) from scrimmage and another pair of touchdowns.

On the year, Ekeler has already tied his career-high of six total scores by finding paydirt three times both on the ground and through the air. Through four games, he has totaled 220 rushing yards and 270 yards receiving yards which puts him on a 16-game pace for 1,960 yards from scrimmage and a staggering 24 total touchdowns.

We will never likely know what Ekeler could do over the course of an entire 16-game season while Gordon is still around, but we, the fans, shall never take this man for granted.

QB Philip Rivers

Rivers makes the “Surge” list this week on top of being nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Week after completing 24 pass on 30 attempts for 310 yards and two touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins.

But it wasn’t simply his stat line that got Rivers included in this article. Rivers seemed to turn back the clock on his two touchdown throws, showing an unexpected amount of cleverness and mobility to get the ball in the hands of Pope and Ekeler, respectively, on their runs for touchdowns.

On Pope’s 13-yard score, Rivers escaped the pocket to the left and baited the flat defender into stepping up to the quarterback. As soon as he did, Rivers made him pay by slinging it with his side-arm release into Pope’s hands before the runner cut against the grain into the end zone.

On Ekeler’s reception, Rivers stepped up in the pocket and made it seem like he was going to take off through a vacated middle of the field. Right before he crossed the line of scimmage, Rivers fired the ball on a rope to his left to Ekeler who scooted up the sideline for a touchdown.

Both plays left me with a giant smirk on my face. It was just incredible to see from a guy that many believe could hang it up in the next year or so.

For fans, this past game should them that Ol’ Man Rivers still has plenty left in the tank heading into SoFi Stadium.

CB Desmond King

The Chargers pass-rush was less than stellar through the first three weeks, to say the least. On Sunday, the Chargers got to quarterback Josh Rosen on five occasions, much better than getting to Deshaun Watson only twice the previous weekend.

However, half of those five sacks actually came from Desmond King who left Hard Rock Stadium with 2.5 sacks. Those 2.5 sacks place King firmly in the lead amongst Chargers defenders with Joey Bosa close behind with 2.0.

King has been as steady as they come at the slot corner position, parlaying his early-career success into a First-Team All-Pro nod following the 2018 season. With Mike Davis and Trevor Williams struggling to stay healthy on a consistent basis, King’s been a blessing alongside Casey Hayward in the secondary.

Static

WR Keenan Allen

Allen came back to Earth on Sunday due to the fact that he wasn’t really needed to carry the team to victory.

The Slayer finished the game with five catches for just 48 yards. It was a far-cry from his tirade through the teams first three game but he still leads the NFL with 452 receiving yards through one quarter of the regular season.

With a divisional match-up coming up against the Denver Broncos, I’d expect Allen to come out with a fiery passion and continue his hot-streak, even if Mike Williams is back in the fold.

OT Trent Scott

The second Trent Scott walks onto the field, he is already a liability as the back-up left tackle who has been thrust into a starting role due to Russell Okung’s pulmonary embolism. While Scott has done an okay job at keeping Rivers on his feet, he has a ways to go in keeping his cool in certain situations that could cost the team penalty yardage.

On Sunday, Scott was called for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty following a second-half play. Now, anyone getting that type of penalty is going to be in trouble, but a guy who is only in his second year, at an extremely important position on the field, who shouldn’t honestly see the field with this team, cannot cost the team yardage in any way, shape, or form.

LB Denzel Perryman

It’s obvious when Perryman is on the field that the defense plays with a little more “thump”. The run defense has been much-improved since he returned, as well. It just sucks that he can’t get away from the injury bug.

On Sunday, Perryman came up slow following a play where he missed his fourth tackle of the game.

Now we know it’s not Perryman’s fault for winding up injured as often as he does, but it doesn’t bode well for his current situation and future with this team.