Chargers outlast the Colts on Sunday

 Austin Ekeler makes a move against the Colts, while scoring 3 TD’s, in the Chargers season Opener. (Bing Photos)
Austin Ekeler makes a move against the Colts, while scoring 3 TD’s, in the Chargers season Opener. (Bing Photos)

By Cameron Buford,

As the Chargers look to win their season opener at Dignity Sports Park, in Carson, CA., against the Indianapolis Colts, they would have to overcome a 4-year trend of not winning their Season Opener. In their 27th time matching up against each other, a win over the Colts would increase their All-Time winning total against the Colts to 17-10.

No one would question whether veteran Chargers Quarterback Phillip Rivers would be ready to produce this season and take his team to the next level. Though many Los Angeles Chargers fans are wondering what life may be like without Melvin Gordon looks like. Though those same Chargers fans may have had faith that Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson could collectively produce enough to replace the production of Gordon, who has chosen to hold out amid a contract dispute.

Where most teammates had enormous confidence in Austin Ekeler’s abilities to fill in for the aforementioned Gordon, he displayed why the league should have confidence him as the lead running back for the Los Angeles Chargers. Ekeler tallied 154 combined yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns against the Colts. His 96 receiving yards including 2 Touchdowns, his 58 rushing yards included the game touchdown. This production made Austin the first undrafted player to gain at least 150 scrimmage yards since Dan Reeves had 156 yards total scrimmage yards and 4 touchdowns in 1967.

Ekeler’s backfield running mate Justin Jackson, “I’m so happy for him; because I see how he works every single day! So, to see that coming to fruition in a game, I’m really not surprised!” In grand Austin Ekeler fashion, he refused to take all the praise for his performance citing his teams play that helped him have a record-setting day, “People being in the right spot. On the screen, I told Hunter ‘that was a touchdown block’ as he was on the perimeter blocking for me 15 yards down the field. On that last touchdown the O line washed everybody bye, I cut back right off them. So, without them I have nothing! Big props to those guys and us for coming together as a team!”

2-time Pro Bowler and Chargers Defensive End Melvin Ingram proudly and emphatically stated, “Ekeler is a dawg! I am not surprised at all about what he did today!” I also asked new teammate, 3-time Pro-Bowler and 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner Linebacker Thomas Davis about Ekeler’s performance and his lit up as he went on to say, “He was awesome; He had a great game! This league is about taking advance of your opportunities that are presented to you and Austin is a great example of that.”

2nd year Defensive Tackle Justin Jones chimed in on Ekeler’s performance post-game saying, “Austin Ekeler is a dawg! That’s a testament to what his work ethic is! In the facility, in the weight room or when nobody is looking, Austin Ekeler works hard! That fact that he goes on the field and does everything like that doesn’t surprise me! I’m happy that he finally gets to show his ability! That’s big time!”

As anyone may have expected Chargers Head Coach reiterated the teams on Austin Ekeler saying, “he played well! He broke tackles and showed speed through the hole. He looked good!” When asked about what he was concerned about from this game Coach Lyn stated, “We got to stop the run! We held them to 2.7 yards in the first half, (in the) second half they averaged about 6 yards per rush. So, we got to do better at stopping the run!”

Outside of Austin Ekeler’s 2 receiving touchdowns and his single rushing touchdown in overtime to win the game, I was surprised to see the Chargers defense give up over 200 yards rushing in the first game of the season. I look forward to seeing if they can sure up that side of the ball to support the balanced offense the bring to the field each week against the Detroit Lions.

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