Chargers Free Agency

How Melvin Gordon can go from despised to season hero on Monday

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball as cornerback Steven Nelson #20 of the Kansas City Chiefs defends during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball as cornerback Steven Nelson #20 of the Kansas City Chiefs defends during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 07: Running back Melvin Gordon #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball against the defense of the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on November 07, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 07: Running back Melvin Gordon #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball against the defense of the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on November 07, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Chargers have one more chance to turn their season around with a win over the Chiefs, and Melvin Gordon is the key to a road victory.

It’s difficult to remain level-headed as an NFL fan; nowhere is this more apparent than with Chargers fans, who just watched their team wallop the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and lose to the Oakland Raiders just a few days later. One topic of conversation giving Chargers fans whiplash: Melvin Gordon.

Before the season, fans had no problem with Gordon, arguably one the fans most beloved players on the roster. Fresh off a season where he averaged 5.1 yards per carry, No. 25 (after the jersey number switch) looked poised for an even better year in 2019 with Hunter Henry returning to block and the internal improvements along the offensive line. Most fans were in favor of extending him, so long as the price was right.

Then, the holdout happened.

Fan support plummeted, and Gordon’s value dropped along with it (no correlation). The team didn’t want to pay him the money he wanted, and no team was willing to trade anything worthwhile for his services and/or eventual contract. So sit he did.

Meanwhile, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson looked like the NFL’s best running back duo for a few weeks, which helped Chargers fans move past Gordon and look to the future.

Then, Gordon returned. And it was awful.

2.6 and 2.3 yards per carry in his first two games back, ending with a disastrous 2.0 yards per carry and two fumbles against the Titans. Fans were over him, and personally, though I loved cheering for Gordon, it was hard to forgive the holdout and poor return after that mishap.

But, as previously mentioned, it’s important to try and remain level-headed. Because here comes Gordon, and he looks about as good as anything else the team has had on offense over the past two weeks.

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