Ekeler compiled 11 rushes for 77 yards and three catches (on three targets) for 21 yards during Sunday's 31-20 victory at Buffalo.
As an undrafted rookie last season, Ekeler surpassed 90 scrimmage yards just one time, despite cranking out 7.3 yards per touch. He hasn't been lacking for opportunity this year, though, totaling 24 touches through two games. Ekeler earned six of them after Melvin Gordon left this contest with 11:56 remaining in the fourth quarter. If Gordon's health is impacted moving forward, Ekeler would be the main beneficiary out of the Chargers backfield.
Ekeler rushed six times for 50 yards and one touchdown during Saturday's preseason game against the Saints. He also secured all three of his targets for 13 yards.
Ekeler shined in place of Melvin Gordon, who missed Saturday's exhibition in order to tend to a personal matter. While Ekeler -- who averaged 5.5 yards on 47 carries in 2017 -- was his usual efficient self in the featured role, he still seems cemented behind Gordon on the depth chart in advance of Week 1, rendering him nothing more than a handcuff with upside if Gordon is forced to miss any time. In the Chargers' previous two preseason games, Gordon commanded 25 of 29 first-team snaps, including four-of-five snaps on third down.
Ekeler sat out of Saturday's 24-14 preseason win over the Seahawks with a sore calf, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Williams added that coach Anthony Lynn said Ekeler could've played if it was a regular season game, meaning the Chargers were just practicing caution with their dual-threat running back. Ekeler had 47 carries for 260 yards and two touchdowns, while hauling in 27 passes for 279 yards and three scores in his rookie campaign. He should be considered a useful handcuff to Melvin Gordon.
As expected, Ekeler gets the nod over rookie seventh-round pick Justin Jackson, who is in danger of missing Saturday's preseason opener against the Cardinals due to a hamstring injury. Even if Jackson were to return in short order, Ekeler would still be a clear favorite for the backup job, coming off a rookie season with 5.5 yards per carry, 10.3 yards per catch and five touchdowns on only 74 touches. Melvin Gordon is locked in as the workhorse for early downs, but he may cede a few more snaps to Ekeler in passing situations this season.
Jackson finished his senior season at Northwestern as the school's all-time leading rusher, earning at least 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons as a starter. He figures to be healthy competition for Ekeler after the latter's surprisingly productive rookie season. The undrafted free agent is easily the better pass-catching threat of the two, but Ekeler's diminutive stature (5-foot-9, 195 pounds) might open the door for Jackson to wiggle in as the team's No. 2 running back, similar to how the Chargers utilized the since departed Branden Oliver.
|3||9/23/18||@ LAR||4:05 pm|
|6||10/14/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/4/18||@ SEA||4:05 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ OAK||4:05 pm|
|13||12/2/18||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|15||12/13/18||@ KC||8:20 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||47||260||5.5||35||2||3||12|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||2||0||16||116||7.3||22||0||1||6|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||27||279||10.3||38||3||3||0||12|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||2||0||8||108||13.5||30||1||1||0||5|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||5||85||17.0||22||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||2||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||19||15.0||4||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||2||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||0|