It’s time for the Los Angeles Chargers to get their running game going.
The Buffalo Bills are on a two-game losing streak. And in those two games, Buffalo has been unable to stop the run.
In Week 9, the Bills allowed 194 total rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to the Jets. A week later, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 237 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. The Saints rushed for 298 yards and six touchdowns altogether.
Going into Week 11, the Chargers rank 26th in rushing offense, averaging 88.7 yards per game. Their 3.8 yards-per-carry average and five rushing touchdowns rank 22nd and 20th, respectively.
Melvin Gordon, the Chargers’ leading rusher, has the 10th-most rushing yards through 10 weeks, but he really has struggled as of late. Whether it be poor run blocking, injuries or just not finding the holes, Gordon isn’t getting the job done. He hasn’t gotten more than 20 carries since Week 6 vs. the Oakland Raiders, too.
On the other hand, backup running back and undrafted rookie free agent Austin Ekeler is on the rise. Ekeler finished with 119 total yards from scrimmage and two total touchdowns in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ekeler had a costly fumble in the final minutes of the game, but the Chargers should have gone with the hot hand (Ekeler) despite the one mistake.
The Chargers shouldn’t force the run when it’s not working, but facing the Bills’ defense gives them a chance to commit to it early on. It will take pressure off quarterback Philip Rivers, who is having his fair share of ups and downs this season. Not only that, but it helps HC Anthony Lynn and OC Ken Whisenhunt not be so predictable in key situations, including third downs and in the red zone.
Should they find success, it will give Gordon and Co. confidence going forward.