Chargers formula vs. Packers: Austin Ekeler and turnovers
Step 4: Feed Ekeler, early and often
One of the things that needs to change in Steichen’s new attack is giving Ekeler the ball. He was lights out during the first four weeks until his carries were limited by Gordon’s return. Ekeler will get catches, but it’s time for him to get the bulk of the carries now. Frankly, it’s been time.
Now, the reality of it is that Lynn still has some weird affinity for Gordon to the point that he’ll get carries no matter what. But the ratio with him and Ekeler has to be close to 50-50. He’s simply been too productive this year to keep ignoring.
Other than giving more reps to Ekeler, the runs simply have to be more creative. Every running play the Chargers have run this season feels like the eternal purgatory of two runs up the gut and then it’s promptly third-and-long. Sweeps, counters, reverses, and pitches all have to be used at some point than just smashing it in I-formation and praying something works.
Step 5: Keep turnovers down
With the Bears’ known struggles on offense, turning the ball over wasn’t the end of the world against them last week. The Packers? Not so much the case. The Packers have a +7 turnover differential and are getting almost 100 yards more per game than the Bears. Give them the ball, and you’ll pay for it.
The Chargers have had eight turnovers in the last four games to drop their turnover differential to -3. If Rivers is throwing picks or Gordon is fumbling, it makes the game that much harder against one of the NFL’s truly great quarterbacks in Rodgers, who simply doesn’t turn the ball over.
How many turnovers did the Eagles have in their win over the Packers? Zero. Teams have to play close to flawless football vs. Green Bay, and that’s no different this week.
The formula to beating the Packers is tough. It requires nearly flawless football. The ball cannot be turned over to Rodgers and the Packers’ high flying and varied offensive attack. The team must put pressure on Rodgers while also stopping an underrated running attack with Jones and also Jamaal Williams.
Los Angeles desperately needs a change of pace on offense as well as a change of scheme, and that has to start on Sunday with Steichen taking the reins from Whisenhunt. Gordon’s touches have to go down while Ekeler’s touches go up. The team also has to be able to find receivers not named Allen, Henry, or Ekeler on occasion to test the defense.