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Los Angeles Chargers: Melvin Gordon’s return has hurt the team

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 13: Melvin Gordon #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers is upended by Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on a pass reception during the second quarter of a game at Dignity Health Sports Park October 13, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 13: Melvin Gordon #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers is upended by Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on a pass reception during the second quarter of a game at Dignity Health Sports Park October 13, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Chargers have had Melvin Gordon back for two games and have gotten stagnant results.

Gordon decided to take some terrible advice before the season started and hold out for more money. He missed training camp, the entire preseason and the first four games of the regular season. He returned to the team in time to play in its Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos, but his return has slowed the offense down.

We’ve talked about how the Chargers have been able to win games without Gordon and how Austin Ekeler has proven he can handle the role as the team’s lead back. All of that has been thrown to the wayside in the last two games as the Chargers have tried to revert back to an offense that features Gordon, and it’s flat out not working.

Gordon was on the field for 60 percent of the team’s offensive snaps on Sunday night, compared to Ekeler who was on the field for just 45 percent. But that’s not the worst part. In Week 5, Ekeler was still on the field for 46 offensive snaps. That number dipped down to just 28 during Sunday’s loss.

During those two games, Gordon has carried the ball 20 times and gained a whopping 49 yards on the ground. Yes, he deserves so much more money (sarcasm).

But let’s take a look at what has happened to the Chargers’ rushing attack since his return.

4 games without Gordon: 97 attempts, 414 yards, 2 touchdowns

2 games with Gordon: 30 attempts, 67 yards, 0 touchdowns

That is a significant difference. Without Gordon, the Chargers were attempting to run the ball about 24 times per game and averaging about 4.2 yards per carry. Since Gordon’s return, they are running the ball just 15 times per game and averaging a paltry 2.2 yards per carry.

If you want to look for reasons why the team has looked so badly in the last two games, this is a good place to start.

Taking Ekeler off the field in favor of Gordon is not only a bad idea, it’s downright ridiculous. This is not to say that Gordon is not a great talent, because he is, but the offseason program is there for a reason. You don’t just skip camp and preseason games and come onto the field ready to make the Pro Bowl. Their roles should be reversed with Ekeler, who is also one of the best receivers on the team, out snapping Gordon two to one, at least.

The team’s insistence to get Gordon on the field more and then not recognizing that he’s just not that effective right now has slowed the offense down. If you watched the game on Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers were not one bit worried about the Chargers’ running game. They were dropping eight players back and forcing the Chargers to throw short, then making quick tackles to limit yardage.

Related Story. Are Eagles a potential trade partner for Gordon?

We have talked about possible trade scenarios involving Gordon since news of his holdout became public, such as this one. Whether you are a big fan of Gordon or not, it makes sense to try and trade him now, for multiple reasons.

These last two games have only made that more evident.

Of course, the Chargers likely won’t trade Gordon but if they don’t make some serious adjustments in relation to how they are using their running backs, the losses could continue to pile up.

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