LA Chargers: Austin Ekeler game grade for Week 1 vs. Cincinnati

The LA Chargers ran the ball exceptionally well in their 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Here’s Austin Ekeler’s grade for the game.

With what was a pretty lackluster LA Chargers offensive playbook Week 1, Austin Ekeler still established himself as a good ball carrier in Cincinnati.

Ekeler had himself a great day rushing the ball, considering how awful the offensive game plan looked altogether. Ekeler’s final stat line for the day was 19 carries for 84 yards (averaging out to 4.4 yards per carry) with no touchdowns. Through the air, he had just one reception on one target which went for a measly three yards.

So what grade do I give Ekeler for his performance against the Bengals? I think a B is about right, and here’s why.

Breaking down Austin Ekeler’s B grade:

When the ball was in his hands, Ekeler did what he needed to do and he did it well. However, the ball was not in his hands enough even though that is no fault of his own. However, I cannot say he played an A+ game without cracking even 100 scrimmage yards and not finding his way into the endzone.

The biggest positive from this game for me is that Ekeler continues to prove that he can be a feature back for the LA Chargers. He is not just a change of pace type of player as we previously thought when Melvin Gordon was the team’s primary ball carrier (what a time that was).

He could get 20-25 carries in a game, and I do not feel there is any problem with that. However, as a running back with almost 1000 receiving yards last season, he must get the ball in his hands more.

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When trying to think of anything negative about Ekeler’s play, there was really nothing whatsoever that stuck out very clearly. As stated before, when the man touched the ball, he was pretty damn good with it. He didn’t turn it over, and didn’t have any drops as he was only targeted once in the entire game.

The only thing preventing Austin Ekeler from earning an A grade for this game was the play calling of Shane Steichen. Tyrod Taylor should be the perfect quarterback to get Austin Ekeler the ball in the open field and let him do his thing against the opposing defense.

Next: Tyrod Taylor game grade for Week 1 vs. Cincinnati

The LA Chargers can certainly go back to the drawing board before they line up against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs at SoFi Stadium. Get your best players the opportunity to make the plays they’re capable of making, and Austin Ekeler could for sure see a bump in his grade regardless of the outcome of the game.