LA Chargers News

Chargers’ position group of the week vs the Colts

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers dances with Justin Jackson #22 at the end of the game after scoring the winning touchdown in overtime against Indianapolis Colts at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 8, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers dances with Justin Jackson #22 at the end of the game after scoring the winning touchdown in overtime against Indianapolis Colts at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 8, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit

The Los Angeles Chargers had to fight until the end, and then some, in order to come out with the victory, but one position group in particular did the most damage in order to lead this Chargers team to victory. The duo of Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler in the running back room.

Ekeler had a day, but of course, you’ll be hearing about that all week long, as the Chargers’ running back did have three total touchdowns on a day in which he totaled 154 yards on 18 touches. Ekeler could be the focus of this article, but that would leave out two things.

First, the other back, Jackson, who totaled 61 yards on his seven touches and looked far more impressive on the ground than he did through the air. One could even make the argument that Jackson was the better runner on the day.

The second thing that would go unnoticed, is the fantastic run blocking that allowed Jackson and Ekeler to have the kind of day they did. Unfortunately, the offensive line can’t be the position group of this week, as Trent Scott and Sam Tevi both struggled in pass protection in this game, and Michael Schofield didn’t look much better.

However, the reason the Chargers seem to be hesitant to adjust the starting offensive line is a tiny bit clearer now. The chemistry in the run game is fantastic, even perfect at times. Not to say there weren’t negatives even in the run game, but they were far and few between.

The first good sign that the Chargers’ run game could take off happened halfway through the first quarter, when Jackson galloped for 23 yards, picking up where he left off from last season.

Scott and Mike Pouncey were able to stall the linebackers at the second level of the defense, while Schofield and Tevi set up a wall on the right side of the line, allowing Jackson a lane to run through behind them.

This run led the Chargers to their first points of the day, in a drive capped off by Ekeler walking into the end zone on a one-yard touchdown reception from Philip Rivers, aided by a good rep of pass blocking by the entirety of the offensive line.

WE SEE YOU, @AustinEkeler. pic.twitter.com/L145AwjilJ

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 8, 2019

This touchdown proved to be the least impressive of the three for Ekeler. As his next touchdown was yet another reception that took off for 55 yards, and a defender was taken off his feet by Ekeler’s shoulder in the process.

Anthony Lynn said after the game that Ekeler was “pound for pound” the strongest player on this team, and he’ll hear no arguments after that one. Jackson decided next drive that it was his turn, going off the right tackle for a 24-yard gain on a drive that unfortunately ended in a Chargers’ punt. It was Jackson’s second 20+ yard run of the day.

AUSTIN EATIN' @AustinEkeler | #INDvsLAC pic.twitter.com/5QSlHfofuA

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 8, 2019

No play was as important as the overtime winner on the seven-yard rush from Ekeler, who bruised and eluded his way to the end zone in what sealed the game. Now, the stats and outcome are pretty, there is no argument there, but the main reason the running backs won this week’s position group is because of their vision and pass protection.

Jackson, in particular, was extremely impressive in holding off rushers just long enough for Rivers to get the ball off, and Ekeler excelled at finding open spots in the zone to allow Rivers an outlet. Add that to the way the two read the blocking and it was a beautiful, impressive, and inspiring day that should give Chargers fans confidence about the future of this running back room without Melvin Gordon.

Next. 4 biggest takeaways from Chargers Week 1 win

The Colts are no joke and have a stacked roster that many feared going into the playoffs last year. The Chargers were sloppy and still fought their way to a win, led by Jackson and Ekeler. Don’t be surprised if the trend of this duo winning position group of the week continues throughout the season.

facebooktwitterreddit