Chargers’ RB Gordon makes return against winless Broncos

Joe Reedy Ap Sports Writer
Friday, October 4, 2019

It looks as if Melvin Gordon has picked the right time to return to the Los Angeles Chargers backfield.

The Pro Bowl running back is expected to see his first action on Sunday when the 2-2 Chargers host the winless Denver Broncos in an AFC West matchup. Gordon held out for 64 days due to a contract dispute before reporting back to the team on Sept. 26. He was moved to the active roster two days later and did not play in last week’s 30-10 win at Miami.

Gordon will face a Broncos defense that is third worst in the league against the run after Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette ran for 225 yards last week.

“He looks good. It’s great to have him back,” Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said of Gordon. “You never know when a player has been out like that for a while what the chemistry is going to be like once he comes back. I give Mel a lot of credit. He has handled it really well. He’s done a nice job in how he has interacted with the team and gone about his business. He’s genuinely excited to be back.”

Gordon has had two games against the Broncos in which he had 155 scrimmage yards or more. One of those was last season when he had 156 (69 rushing, 87 receiving) in a Week 11 loss. The fifth-year running back has gained 120 scrimmage yards or more in six of his last seven games against division opponents.

Gordon also returns to an offense that did not sputter in his absence. Austin Ekeler is fifth in scrimmage yards (490) and leads all non-kickers in scoring with six touchdowns (36 points).

Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said one of the adjustments the Broncos might make on run defense is bringing the secondary closer to the line of scrimmage to put pressure on the outside.

Offenses facing the Broncos have thrown the ball 48.3% of the time. According to Inside Edge, that is the third-lowest passing rate in the league. Denver coach Vic Fangio offered another solution to the run defense woes.

“We just have to play more physical and be able to hang in there on the blocks better, tackle better and just play better,” he said.