San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has turned into a major force.
In Sunday’s win over the Titans, Gordon rushed for 196 yards, the most by a Chargers player since LaDainian Tomlinson had 198 against the Raiders in 2007. His 261 yards from scrimmage were the second-most in a game in Chargers history, surpassed only by Tomlinson’s 271 in 2002. Gordon has nine rushing touchdowns in nine games in 2016, after recording none in 2015.
How he did it Sunday mirrors his season success
Gordon gained 95 of those yards after initial contact, the most by a Chargers player in the past eight seasons. Gordon’s 398 rushing yards after contact are the most in the NFL. Last season, he totaled 310 rushing yards after contact, which ranked 23rd in the NFL.
Gordon's 101 rushing yards before contact Sunday are the most in a game by a Chargers player since Ryan Mathews in Week 12 of 2011 (109 vs Broncos). The Titans entered the game allowing 47.9 rushing yards before contact per game, fourth-fewest in the NFL.
Gordon dominated inside the tackles Sunday, with 28 rushes for 171 yards and a touchdown. He has bumped up his between-the-tackles average per carry from 3.3 yards in 2015 to 3.9 in 2016.
Through nine games, Gordon is on pace for 1,365 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. The yardage would be the most by any Chargers player not named Tomlinson. The touchdown total would rank fifth, trailing three seasons by Tomlinson and one by Chuck Muncie (19 touchdowns in 1981).
What will be interesting to see is if Gordon can handle the workload. He leads the NFL with 193 rushes this season. He totaled 184 in 14 games the past season. Gordon has handled this before, however; in 2014 at Wisconsin, he rushed 343 times for 2,587 yards in 14 games.
ESPN Staff | espn.com | November 7, 2016