Austin Ekeler against the Pittsburgh Steelers recap
No, it was not the most statistically dominant night for Ekeler:
- 13 carries, 21 yards, 1.6 yards per carry
- Five receptions, 22 receiving yards, 4.4 yards per catch
- Zero touchdowns
Of his 20 plays, 12 were either off tackle or a reception. Regardless of whether it was the wrong play call or right play call, it’s not accurate to say the Chargers did nothing but run him up the middle the entire game.
Following the play-by-play, it’s glaringly obvious what happened in this game: The offensive line of the Chargers was no match for the front seven of the Steelers when Ekeler was the focal point of a play. The usual suspects (66, 75, 69) were all the culprits on multiple plays, highlighting once more the need for an upgraded line; Forrest Lamp can’t turn into an All-Pro fast enough.
One could point out Jackson’s own performance behind the same offensive line; how was he so much better? The answer is easy: He’s a fresh body who got the majority of his touches in the third and fourth quarter. Ekeler gained 36 of his 43 total yards in the second half, with his eight rushes or receptions giving him an average of 4.5 yards per touch; same offensive line.
There are at least two more games that need to be broken down before making an accurate judgement, but for now, hold off on assuming Ekeler can’t be the featured back because his performances as the lead were not spectacular. On top of what may have been poor play-calling (not saying it was, but that’s not the focus of the article), Ekeler was not done many favors by his offensive line in the first half.