Melvin Gordon has experienced enough personal highs and lows in his first two seasons to fill an entire career.
As disappointing as his rookie season was, the running back has emerged as one of the elite rushers in the NFL through the first three quarters of this season. He has run the ball 251 times for 992 yards (4.0 yards per carry) with 10 touchdowns on the ground along with 41 receptions for 419 yards and another two scores.
Gordon's 1,411 yards so far marks only the 17th time in franchise history that a player has topped 1,400 in a season. Meanwhile, his 10 rushing TDs are the first by a Bolt since Mike Tolbert, and only the 16th time it's occurred in Chargers history.
However, if you think Gordon is satisfied with his turnaround performance, think again.
Aware that he has made a name for himself around the league, Gordon is focused on taking his game to even further heights. In the immediate aftermath of another strong performance in which he accounted for 138 yards of offense on 21 touches, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 12.5 yards per catch, number 28 focused on what he could have done better in order to secure a victory.
"Those runs I had in open space, I make a guy miss and I need to make another guy miss," he said. "The elite ones do and then take it for a touchdown… I'm not pleased. I had some runs. They were good but they could have been great runs and I'm frustrated."
Sometimes those emotions come out in the heat of the moment, especially following another tough loss. However, 24 hours later, Gordon doubled down on his comments, stating that in order to achieve the status he wants in this league, he needs to make even more plays.
"Just critiquing myself, there were some runs that could have been bigger. (I've) got to make some guys miss, whether it's one or two, regardless, if you get that opportunity to make a guy miss and take it to the house you've got to do it."
There are two plays in particular that eat away at him.
"One was on a sucker play where I went to the right at the beginning of the game, made the first guy miss, (but) if I were to make the safety miss, it would have been to the house. There was another one where I don't know if I would have taken it to the house, but it would have been an explosive play. It was the same play actually. Those two plays really stick out."
Although he is determined to take his game to another level, Gordon has cemented his status as one of the NFL's true game breakers. He ranks second in total yards from scrimmage, second in carries, fourth in rushing yards, fourth in total touchdowns and fifth in yards after the catch (378). Gordon also is tied for the most total touches (292), most rushes over 40 yards (three) and has the second most first downs in the NFL (59).
Despite the heavy workload, he feels no worse for wear.
"I'm actually (feeling) decent, probably because I'm a young player. I feel decent for the most part. I try to take good care of my body."
Gordon is constantly reminded about his success finding the end zone a year after failing to find it as a rookie. He doesn't shy away from how meaningful it is for him to have double digit rushing TDs.
"It's a great feeling," he explained. "I don't know if it happens often, but it's not easy to get it. There is a lot of things that have to happen for you to be able to do that. So I'm grateful for it. It means a lot to me and to the guys on offense."