LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles.
LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner.
Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead.
Philip Rivers has had some potent running back duos over the years joining him in the backfield. Thus, when he offers praise like he did when talking about the Melvin Gordon – Austin Ekeler tandem, it certainly makes your ears perk up.
“These guys have a chance,” Rivers said. “I don’t want to slight them in any way - I love these two. I also don’t want to slight the other guys that sustained it, but these guys have a chance to be something else. Now I’m telling you, the two of these guys, they can be like those others (like) when we had those kinds of combinations. There’s no doubt they’re dynamic guys the way they catch it, run it and the way they’re different. They’re not the same. It’s been fun to kind of see how that whole thing can grow. There’s no telling how many plays we can run with those two on the field together.”
Gordon and Ekeler were at the top of their game in the 31-20 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Number 28 was a force in the red zone, tying his career high with three total touchdowns. He also carved Buffalo up through the air as well as on the ground, totaling 66 yards from scrimmage on 15 touches. It was just another day at the office for Gordon, who passed RB Don Woods (4,045) for the 10th-most scrimmage yards by a running back in Chargers history. He also moved into sole possession for sixth in career receptions by a running back in Chargers history, passing Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles.
Still, it was his three-TD performance that really stole the show.
“You can always smile when you can get into the end zone,” Gordon said after the game. “Getting in there once is a blessing. You get it in there three times, it’s a pretty good feeling.”
Meanwhile, Ekeler ran for a career-high 77 yards. He did it on 11 carries, averaging a gaudy 7.0 yards per carry. Ekeler also chipped in through the air, catching three passes for 21 yards.
“They are an incredible one-two punch,” said Russell Okung. “Defenses don’t know what they are going to get from those guys. When you give them a little hole, and they can burst through the line like that, it’s tough (for a defense). Those guys, they’re incredible.”