The Los Angeles Chargers look to go 8-2 when they face the Denver Broncos in Week 11 and expect Bolts running back Melvin Gordon to shine in his finest performance of 2018.
This is not your typical Broncos defense.
Yes, they have a lethal pass-rushing duo in All-Pro defensive end Von Miller and rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb. But aside from those two, the Broncos do not boast the same vaunted defense they had from 2015 to 2017. The defense that struck fear in opposing offensive players for three years is a faded memory, and there’s one Chargers player who will not be quaking in his cleats.
That player would be Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who is in prime position to have his best game of 2018 in Week 11, while also cultivating his greatest career performance against the Broncos.
Gordon has been spectacular so far in 2018. In eight games played, the University of Wisconsin alum has raced his way to fifth in the NFL in rushing yards with 672 while posting an efficient 5.4 yards per carry. Finding the end zone has not been an issue for him, as he’s recorded seven rushing touchdowns. Gordon also has 36 catches for 361 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions.
The main reason why the fourth-year running back will excel in Week 11 is that Denver’s run defense has been poor this season. In nine games, the Broncos have allowed 131.6 rushing yards-per-game, which is seventh-worst in the NFL. They have also given up 10 carries of 20-plus yards in 2018, tied for the fourth-worst in the league with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Denver’s run defense has crumbled when facing high-caliber running backs in 2018. The two best tailbacks they have clashed with are Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams and Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs. In those games, the Broncos defense gave up 208 rushing yards to Gurley in Week 6 and allowed Hunt to scamper for 121 ground yards in Week 4.
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Gordon certainly is not at Gurley’s level, but what NFL tailback is? However, he is just as dynamic as the Chiefs’ electric running back. The talent of the Kenosha, W.I. native will give the Broncos’ run defense fits for four quarters on Sunday, which will be a welcomed change for a playmaker who struggled against Denver last season.
In Week 1 at Denver last season, the Broncos’ defense bottled Gordon up for 54 rushing yards on 18 carries under the primetime lights of Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Things got worse for the Chargers’ runner in Week 7 when he recorded just 38 rushing yards on 18 carries. They were two of Gordon’s most dreadful outings of 2018.
The abysmal production will not be replicated on Sunday. The former Wisconsin Badger is on a roll in 2018 and placing him in the elite class of NFL running backs is not a delusional thought. It is something that was considered in the offseason. Furthermore, the Broncos’ run defense has been extremely inconsistent this year, so do expect Gordon to flash with his finest performance of 2018 in Week 11.