The Los Angeles Chargers kicked off their season against the Indianapolis Colts at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The Chargers had a 24-16 lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter until Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton scored a touchdown, and the Colts converted a 2-point conversion, tying the game ay 24 apiece. In overtime, Philip Rivers handed the ball off to Austin Ekeler around the 10-yard line, and that led to a touchdown, as the Chargers won their home opener 30-24.
Ekeler had another impressive performance without Melvin Gordon. In the past two seasons in games that Gordon has not played in, Ekeler has had 40 rush attempts, 12 receptions, a total of 205 scrimmage yards and one touchdown. The Chargers won all three games when Ekeler was the primary back.
This season, Ekeler looks even better. Sunday against the Colts, Ekeler had 12 rush attempts which led to 58 yards and one touchdown. He added six receptions, 96 yards and two touchdowns as well.
Ekeler has shown that he can step up in the spotlight and perform at a high level. The Chargers are 5-0 now when Gordon has not played in the past two seasons.
As it stands now, Gordon will likely return anywhere between Weeks 6-8. If and when Gordon returns, Anthony Lynn should continue utilizing Ekeler in the same way as he did in Week 1. If that means Ekeler getting more snaps than Gordon or Ekeler being the full time passing back, Ekeler should get more snaps than Gordon, because he has proven himself and earned it.
Ekeler is earning $645,000 per year. To put that into perspective, Ekeler is underpaid, but goes to work every week, and lays it all on the line. He is the definition of heart over height.
The Chargers have done well with Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the backfield, and coach Lynn should not make too many changes if and when Gordon returns, as they have gone 5-0 without him.