D.J. Fluker didn't even need to wait until he heard the entire question, but he did anyway. The fourth-year guard's eyes grew wide and his head nodded up and down when asked his reaction when Head Coach Mike McCoy told the team they would start the game by shoving the ball down the opposition's throat.
Suffice to say, it was a message the O-Line relished hearing.
"I was excited!" Fluker said. "It's a sweet sound to an offensive lineman to hear 'run the ball first'. I've been dying to hear that and we wanted to take advantage of it. That's what we did."
"We love that," echoed Kenny Wiggins. "That's what we want to do. As linemen, we dream of putting our heads down and going forward. As long as we keep getting positive yards, it's a good play."
The Chargers spoke all season about a commitment to jumpstart the run game. They knew they needed to bring balance to the offense and keep opposing defenses honest. Starting the game against the Tennessee Titans with five straight rushes backed up that pledge.
Melvin Gordon carried the ball three times for 12 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry on the first drive. He had another run called back for a holding penalty. Danny Woodhead chipped in with a nine-yard carry on 3rd-and-3 as well.
Overall, the Bolts ran it 26 times for 115 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Six different players recorded at least one attempt, and they all averaged at least 3.8 yards per carry.
"The players knew this morning that we were coming in the game running the football for a number of plays until we had to throw it," McCoy said. "It didn't surprise me at all the way (Gordon) ran the ball and put his foot in the ground. But, it's all 11 guys doing their jobs; it's not one back. I was pleased, and I'll go back and watch the film, but I was pleased with how we ran the ball for the most part. (The) guys were decisive."
Tennessee sensed the Chargers' determination to establish the run, and Titans' Head Coach Mike Mularkey lamented his team's inability to limit the production.
"Disappointed in not stopping the run," he said. "That's something we kind of pride ourselves in, and I think they purposely came out to see if they could establish a run, and they did."
Now the key for San Diego is not only maintaining that level of success, but building on it moving forward. Fluker believes Gordon's performance in particular will jumpstart a confidence he's already seen blossom.
"He's more patient. He's a lot more mature this year. It's still early, and there's time to see what he's going to do, but he did a lot better reading the holes and getting out in space. That's Melvin's strong point; being in space and making guys come hit him because they're going to get run over."