The healthy return of Austin Ekeler
The Chargers just aren’t the same without their sparkplug, Austin Ekeler, who has missed the last two games due to injury. But what he brings to the table is immeasurable.
Ekeler is one of the best receiving running backs in all of football and what he can do to a defense on third downs is huge. The Chargers already have great weapons in the passing game, but when a defense has to account for a serious threat such as Ekeler out of the backfield, they become even more dangerous.
On the season, Ekeler has caught 39 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also gained 496 yards on the ground to go along with two more touchdowns. Most importantly, he gets over five yards per carry, which he did as a rookie as well.
Justin Jackson has done a good job filling in for him, but having a full rotation of backs will become necessary in the postseason.
Next Sunday against the Denver Broncos, the game may become a moot point if the Chiefs are able to beat the Oakland Raiders. Unless Ekeler is feeling 100 percent ready, it might be best to hold him out of that game as well.
That will give him the best chance to contribute and help the Chargers advance past the Wild Card round the following week.