Ekeler tallied 17 carries for 66 yards and one touchdown while hauling in all six passes for 67 yards during Sunday's 13-10 loss in Detroit.
Once again, Ekeler handled the lion's share of the running back reps, seeing 23 touches to Justin Jackson's eight. The result was Ekeler's second consecutive outing with at least 130 yards from scrimmage and one TD. Moreover, Ekeler ranked second on the team in targets behind top wideout Keenan Allen, who received a whopping 15. As long as Melvin Gordon's holdout lasts, Ekeler appears to the favored option out of the Chargers' backfield.
Ekeler carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards and registered six receptions for 96 yards to go along with three total touchdowns in the 30-24 overtime win Sunday over the Colts.
It's safe to say the Chargers didn't miss Melvin Gordon (contract holdout) on Sunday, as Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 215 total yards. Ekeler in particular was a dynamic force, picking up four separate plays of 10 or more yards throughout the contest, including a beautifully set up screen that turned into a 55-yard touchdown thanks in large part to impressive balance from the diminutive offensive weapon. Ekeler capped off his impressive day with the go-ahead touchdown in overtime -- one of a number of red-zone looks he received throughout the afternoon. The 24-year-old out-touched his backfield competition 18-to-7 despite Jackson's impressive 9.5 yards-per-carry average, essentially slotting into the same type of usage that made Gordon a top fantasy option at running back the past three seasons. It's possible the Chargers could operate with a more balanced attack in future weeks, but there's no question that Ekeler will remain a focal point regardless.
Ekeler could be in store for an extended run as the Chargers' starting running back with top option Melvin Gordon (contract dispute) potentially extending his holdout until late November, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
As Schefter notes, Gordon would only have to show up 30 days prior to the Chargers' regular-season finale in order for his contract not to toll over into 2020, making it likely that he'll report to Los Angeles at some point before the Dec. 1 game in Denver. Of course, Gordon may end his holdout well before that date if the Chargers trade him or meet his demands on an extension, but he'll at least be unavailable for the Week 1 matchup with the Colts, and quite possibly, additional games to follow. While Gordon is away, coach Anthony Lynn has expressed a desire to use a backfield timeshare of Ekeler and Justin Jackson, though the distribution of snaps and touches should tilt in favor of Ekeler. The 24-year-old thrived in a change-of-pace role behind Gordon the previous two seasons, averaging an efficient 5.3 yards per carry and 10.3 yards per reception.
Coach Anthony Lynn hinted that he'll likely have Ekeler share the backfield snaps with Justin Jackson in Sunday's game against the Colts, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports. "I've always used those guys as a tandem," Lynn said. "That's not going to change. We're going to put guys in good positions to do what they do best.
With Melvin Gordon's holdout continuing into the regular season, Ekeler is on track to receive the Week 1 start, but he apparently won't be asked to fill the high-volume role that the former has filled when available. Though Ekeler averaged a robust 5.2 yards per carry on 106 attempts in 2018 while also showcasing utility as a receiver, he hasn't logged more than 17 touches in any game during his two-year career. By not asking Ekeler to handle the overwhelming share of the backfield work, the Chargers are likely hoping he can maintain the efficiency he's displayed in the past and ensure the Los Angeles offense doesn't lose much potency without its top back in the fold.
Ekeler rushed four times for 11 yards and brought in two of three targets for 22 yards in the Chargers' 23-15 preseason loss to the Seahawks on Saturday.
Ekeler was thoroughly stymied on the ground save for one carry, a nine-yard run. However, he also notched an impressive 17-yard grab in what was likely his final tune-up for the regular season. The third-year pro increasingly appears set to start the season as the Chargers' No. 1 running back with Melvin Gordon still holding out, although backfield mate Justin Jackson should also see a solid complementary workload while Gordon remains out.
Ekeler carried the ball three times for nine yards and caught his only target for six yards in Sunday's preseason loss to the Saints.
He got the starter treatment in this one, seeing minimal snaps with the first-team offense before giving way to other backs the coaching staff wanted to get a better look at. Ekeler remains on track to be the No. 1 RB for the Chargers in Week 1 if Melvin Gordon is still holding out or not yet up to speed, but whether he would see the bulk of the backfield touches in that scenario, or be first among equals in a committee with the likes of Justin Jackson, isn't yet clear.
Ekeler rushed five times for 40 yards and brought in all three targets for 29 yards in the Chargers' 17-13 preseason loss to the Cardinals on Thursday. He also lost a fumble.
Ekeler's first official 2019 audition as the lead back in the wake of Melvin Gordon's ongoing holdout had only one blemish, a lost fumble that short-circuited the Chargers' first drive at the Cardinals' two-yard line. The third-year back otherwise shined through both the ground and air, flashing his signature skills with the ball in his hands. The extent of Ekeler's role this coming season naturally depends on Gordon's status, but the Western State product did inspire confidence in his ability to help keep the run game afloat Thursday, his one miscue notwithstanding.
Ekeler stands to benefit from the absence of Melvin Gordon, who announced Wednesday that he won't be reporting to training camp until he receives a long-term extension, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.
Gordon's negotiations remain a fluid situation, but it seems clear the 2015 first-round pick is willing to sit out the entirety of training camp and the preseason in order to secure a new deal. Considering the Chargers' championship aspirations along with the fact that Gordon is still under contract through 2019, it seems likely both sides will come to a resolution before Week 1. In any event, Ekeler should be a prominent figure in the backfield, though his outlook would undoubtedly brighten if Gordon's stalemate with the Chargers should drag into the regular season. The preseason might yield valuable information as to how the Chargers might deploy their backfield sans Gordon, but Ekeler likely won't be in store for excessive usage regardless as the team aims to preserve his health for the regular season.
Ekeler said he will focus on his route running this summer.
Ekeler often replaces Melvin Gordon on passing downs, though the latter also gets plenty of work as a receiver. Their roles should look much the same in 2019, considering undrafted rookie Jeremy Cox was the only offseason addition to the Los Angeles backfield. Ekeler's career marks of 5.3 yards per carry and 7.8 per target rank as elite by RB standards, but he was limited to 3.2 YPC and 3.8 YPT in three starts last season, failing to approach his usual efficiency when tasked with a larger workload (40 carries, 20 targets in those three games).
Ekeler recorded no carries and hauled in three of five targets for 19 yards Sunday in the Chargers' 41-28 divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
New England scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the game, which effectively forced the Chargers to abandon the run. That left limited work available for top back Melvin Gordon (nine carries), while Ekeler's usage was restricted exclusively to passing downs. Though Ekeler made little impact in his final game of the 2018 season, it still was a relatively successful campaign for the second-year player. Over his 16 appearances (including two postseason contests), Ekeler was supremely efficient with 5.0 yards per carry and 9.5 yards per reception on 163 total touches.
Ekeler (groin) rushed 11 times for 29 yards and brought in all four of his targets for 14 yards in the Chargers' 23-17 wild-card win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Ekeler shook off the groin issue that had him listed as questionable heading into the contest to put together an unremarkable but serviceable final line. The change-of-pace back essentially handled a normal workload, and his availability became even more valued when backfield mate Melvin Gordon had to exit the game for a time with a knee injury. Ekeler will now look to manage his physical condition carefully over the next week ahead of next Sunday's divisional-round clash against the Patriots.
Ekeler (groin) is officially active for Sunday's playoff game against the Ravens.
This was the expected outcome after Ekeler practiced throughout the past week, albeit in a limited fashion. The 23-year-old is thus slated to work in a complementary/change-of-pace role behind lead back Melvin Gordon in Sunday's wild-card contest. In doing so, Ekeler should maintain PPR utility in postseason fantasy contests.
Ekeler (groin) is slated to be active for Sunday's game against the Ravens, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Ekeler, who practiced this past week in a limited fashion, is thus poised to be available for Sunday's wild-card game. He'll continue to work in a complementary/change-of-pace role behind lead back Melvin Gordon, an assignment that provides Ekeler with a degree of PPR utility.
Ekeler (groin) is listed as questionable for Sunday's wild-card game at Baltimore.
Contained to only some activity in practice this week due to a groin injury, Ekeler could be in danger of sitting out for the third time in four games. That said, he'll serve in a complementary role to Melvin Gordon this weekend, if Ekeler is active. That gig translated to 8.5 touches for 73.7 scrimmage yards per game for Ekeler in the 11 contests in which both running backs were active this season.
Ekeler (groin) logged a limited practice again Thursday.
Ekeler's groin issue has limited him in each of the first two practice sessions to begin the week, leaving his status somewhat unclear. Friday's injury report should provide a bit more clarity on his status, though Melvin Gordon figures to lead the way for the Chargers' backfield regardless.
Ekeler was limited at Wednesday's practice by a groin injury.
Ekeler sat out Weeks 15 and 16 due to a pair of health of concerns -- a stinger and concussion -- but returned for the regular-season finale in Denver, tallying eight carries for 58 yards and one touchdown while failing to haul in his only target. His ability as a receiver helps him gain reps in a Melvin Gordon-led backfield, so with no receptions since Dec. 9, Ekeler is an iffy prospect heading into Sunday's wild-card game at Baltimore. Further hurting Ekeler's case is the availability of Gordon, who managed to practice fully Wednesday just three days removed from injuring his ankle against the Broncos.
Ekeler posted eight rushes for 58 yards and one touchdown but didn't haul in his only target during Sunday's 23-9 victory in Denver.
Most of Ekeler's production came after Melvin Gordon's final touch early in the fourth quarter, including a 41-yard dash around right end and a one-yard TD on the same drive to put the game out of reach. Afterward, Gordon told Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com that he "tweaked" his ankle but expects to be fine for a wild-card game in Baltimore. The preceding could result in more first-team work than normal for Ekeler in the coming days, but he would take a back seat to an active Gordon in the do-or-die setting next weekend.
Ekeler (concussion/neck) was a full participant in practice Wednesday.
Unable to practice in any capacity last week, Ekeler was held out of Saturday's 22-10 loss to the Ravens. His advancement to full practice in the Chargers' first session of Week 17 suggests he'll be ready to go for the regular-season finale in Denver. He'll return to his usual role behind starter Melvin Gordon, with potential to handle more work after halftime if the game between Oakland and Kansas City isn't close. Of course, the Chargers may turn to third-string back Justin Jackson if it appears they don't have any shot to jump from No. 5 to No. 1 in the AFC playoff seeding. The only path to improvement is a Chargers win combined with a Chiefs loss.
Ekeler (neck/concussion) practiced Wednesday, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Ekeler is thus trending in the right direction as Sunday's game against the Broncos approaches. If he's able to play this weekend, Ekeler would be in line to work in a change-of-pace role behind top back Melvin Gordon, likely bumping rookie Justin Jackson down to the No. 3 role.
Coach Anthony Lynn expects Ekeler (neck/concussion) to return Sunday at Denver, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Lynn may be hinting that Ekeler has gained clearance from the concussion protocol, but official word on that front has yet to emerge. Perhaps working in Ekeler's favor was his limited listing on the final Week 16 injury report before he was ruled out for Saturday's eventual loss to the Ravens. In the end, his activity level will be watched closely to get a bearing on his potential to play in the Chargers' regular-season finale.
|4||9/29/19||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|7||10/20/19||@ TEN||4:05 pm|
|8||10/27/19||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|10||11/7/19||@ OAK||8:20 pm|
|Bye: Week 12|
|13||12/1/19||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|14||12/8/19||@ JAC||4:05 pm|
|17||12/29/19||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||47||260||5.5||35||2||3||12|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||3||106||554||5.2||41||3||4||25|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||2||2||29||124||4.3||19||2||0||7|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||27||279||10.3||38||3||3||0||12|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||3||39||404||10.4||44||3||5||1||18|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||2||2||12||163||13.6||55||2||3||1||5|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||5||85||17.0||22||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2019||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||14||9||9.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2019||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||14||1||1||0||2||0||0||2||0|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|