Melvin Gordon is the key to closing out games
By Nick Matt
Week 1 left a very bad taste in the mouth of the San Diego Chargers and their fans. We watched our Bolts squander a 24-3 halftime lead at the hands of division rival Kansas City Chiefs, something we have seen a lot of over the past two seasons. A lack of running attack the past two years has also played a large part as to the inability to close games. It was a tale of two halves in Week 1.
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The Chargers looked unstoppable in the first half until Keenan Allen went down and the Chargers also abandoned the running game in the second half. Melvin Gordon was having the best game of his career with his first two rushing touchdowns. The second half was a different story, though. Gordon was nowhere to be seen on rushing situations. The Chargers once again found them themselves in a very comfortable place with a large halftime lead.
But unlike Week 1, they rode Gordon to the finish line and had different results.
With a healthy group of offensive linemen and Ken Whisenhunt running the offense, Gordon will get the offense rolling and will help close out games. In recent years, the Chargers have let a lot of big leads slip away because we were one-dimensional leaning on the right arm of Philip Rivers. That is a different story now. Whisenhunt likes using the fullback in the running game which a lot of teams don’t use anymore. They drafted friend and former teammate fullback Derek Watt from Wisconsin and brother of all-world defensive end J.J. Watt.
With a commanding lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Whisenhunt relied heavily on Gordon to get us to the finish line, and he did exactly that. This is the best start to the season that the Chargers have had in a decade running the football. This past offseason, Gordon trained with his idol, Adrian Peterson. He looks like a mini AP out there the way he is violently running the football. Gordon’s mom stated last year that she would not wear his No. 28 until he “accomplished” something in the NFL. Well, yesterday she was seen wearing her baby blue No. 28 jersey.
The Chargers’ last successful run came nearly a decade ago when LaDainian Tomlinson was leading the league in rushing year in and year out. The Chargers were able to get a lead and then build leads with a dynamic rushing game with L.T. and Darren Sproles. Similarly, the current Chargers roster has Gordon and Danny Woodhead to fill the Sproles type role in the passing game (UPDATE: Woodhead out for year with torn ACL).
Time will tell, but Gordon might be the peace to get the Chargers back to perennial playoff runs.