Standing at his own end zone, Melvin Gordon took the ball from Philip Rivers on the Chargers' first snap of the 2017 season. Exploding through a big hole paved by a pulling Matt Slauson, the third-year pro burst up field for a gain of 21 yards.
Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the Bolts' rushing attack as the unit would gain only 43 yards the rest of the evening. Overall, they toted the rock 22 times, averaging a meager 2.9 yards per carry.
That's simply unacceptable for an Anthony Lynn coached team. However, the head coach isn't alarmed.
"I know the running game is going to get better," he said after watching the film. "The running game is always behind the passing game initially because of the offseason and not wearing any pads. Usually that's second week and third week (is) where you see the running game get into a better rhythm."
One area Lynn does want to see instant improvement from his bell-cow back is in one-on-one situations. Gordon did just that on his touchdown catch, flying through the air over a defender to pay dirt.
Nonetheless, Lynn believes number 28 is capable of even more.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, the head coach shared what he told the young Pro Bowler on the sideline in the middle of the game.
"I thought he saw (the run game) well. But, I'll tell you the same thing (I told) Melvin on the sidelines – elite backs in this league are going to win more one-on-ones. So, we have to work on winning more of our one-on-ones…. When you break through the line and you're one-on-one with a linebacker or safety, I want to see you do a little bit more."
Overall, Lynn wishes he gave Gordon and his fellow backs more opportunities to succeed.
While the Chargers had success airing it out late in the fourth quarter, Lynn believes the Bolts got away from the run too quickly in the third. In what he dubbed a learning experience, in hindsight, the head coach believes the offense could have worn down the Broncos defense had they stuck with the run.
Instead, the Bolts threw it on their next three snaps, resulting in a punt. After giving up a field goal, they passed on four of the next five plays, leading to a failed fourth down conversion.
"Coming out in the third quarter was a lesson for myself," he said. "We're down 14-7, and let's reestablish the run game. Let's get back to a balanced offense. (The next series) we passed the ball (almost) six times in a row, and it was three-and-out. I can be more patient instead of trying to catch up and sticking with our plan."
Another area the Chargers must improve upon is third down. The offense was just 3-for-12 on the money down, converting at a 25-percent clip. Knowing that is a recipe for disaster, Lynn explained how his team must do a better job on earlier downs as well as on third down.
"We have to get better on first down. We get better on first down, those third downs will get a lot more manageable."