Promise or bust. That’s the situation the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in as regular-season aspirations have seemingly slipped considerably after seven games. After making it to the AFC semifinal playoff game last year, the Chargers held the promise of being that team that could knock off the Super Bowl champs.
Right now, what the Chargers need to focus more on is trying to run the table the rest of the way if they are still interested in a postseason berth. That window closes by the week. And if the Chargers fail to make it as far as they did last season or beyond, then the season becomes a bust. Losing five of their first seven games of the season is not helping matters.
Should Chargers season go off the rails or can stay on the tracks, the Melvin Gordon factor should be taken into consideration. Gordon is in the last year of his rookie contract. He held out this summer because he wanted more money. He didn’t get it.
He returned to the team after the regular season started, but so far, there has been next to nothing in the explosive plays department from Gordon.
Against Tennesse, Gordon had his chance to reconstruct his value or worth to the team in a big-time way. One yard and Tennesse’s defense was all that stood between Gordon and the Chargers from punching the ball into the endzone and silencing the Nissan Stadium crowd.
This was Gordon’s opportunity. It was his spotlight for the taking. After holding out of training camp and missing all preseason games and several games into the regular season because he wanted a better deal on his contract, Gordon’s primetime moment was at hand as the Chargers were looking to stun the Tennesse Titans with what should have been an incredible comeback road win.
Win this game and the bleeding of a losing streak comes to an abrupt end for the Chargers. Sometimes things don’t always go as expected or planned. Here it was that Gordon, all of 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds of him, stood in the backfield, ready and able to put an end to the team’s frustration of having suffered defeats in three of their last four games.
Running right middle behind the Chargers offensive line, Gordon had the ball slip out of his hands as he crash-landed into the endzone. All bets were off for the Chargers when Tennessee defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, a Long Beach Poly High and USC alum, scooped up the loose ball off the ground.
Instead of celebrating, the Chargers (2-5) saw their losing streak increase to three consecutive games with the 23-20 defeat to the Titans. Gordon and the Chargers didn’t do well running the football ball the entire game. As a team, the Chargers gained just 39 yards. Gordon carried the ball 16 times.
The result of Gordon’s steady contribution through the game was a measly 32 yards. In the three games he has played since he put an end to his holdout, Gordon has totaled 81 yards on 36 rushing attempts. During those three games, Gordon has put up 2.2 yards rushing per game. All he needed as time was running out in the fourth quarter was one yard.
That didn’t happen as a Tennessee defender bum-rushed the line of scrimmage and separated the ball from Gordon, who looked completely bewildered as to what had happened. What happened was that Chargers started this game slowly as they have done in previous games and made a mad rush at the finish line. They almost pulled it off. But getting close does not equate to brownie points.
Gordion and the Chargers had better figure this problem out quickly or else they risk being on the sidelines watching this postseason go by without their presence.