Three yards short.
Melvin Gordon was sitting at 997 yards in the first quarter of Week 14 a year ago when he suffered an injury in Carolina. The running back missed the remainder of the year, falling short of the 1,000-yard plateau.
Reaching that mark may seem like an arbitrary number, but for a running back, it means the world.
Gordon stewed over falling three yards shy, making it a major goal his entering his third season. That’s why it was so sweet to go over 1,000 yards in the 14-7 win over the New York Jets.
However, like any great player, the running back remains unsatisfied.
“It’s a milestone that every running back wants,” he said. “It definitely was a goal of mine. Obviously 1,000 yards is cool, but I want more success.”
While Gordon will receive the lion’s share of kudos, he knows the other 10 men on the field are equally responsible for his success.
“Just kudos to my o-line,” he said. “They’ve been working and going through a lot. Tight ends. Everybody. Receivers. Everybody’s been blocking down the field. Fullbacks. I want to give credit obviously to everyone. It’s a great accomplishment, and there’s still more to come…It shows that we’re effective running the ball as a unit. It might get shaky, but you find a way to get through it. It’s just a great accomplishment to the guys around me.”
It’s no secret that Gordon badly wanted to surpass the 1,000-yard plateau, which is why his accomplishment was a major talking point in the locker room.
Philip Rivers was one of many who mentioned how proud he was for the running back after all he’s been through.
“Obviously last year with his injury he came up just barely short,” he said. “He’s run hard all year and ran hard again today. He caught the ball really well again. That’s two weeks in a row. Screens and some big catches. Melvin’s done a nice job. You never like to speak of (young guys) like you’re above them, and I certainly don’t feel like I am, but when you’re an older player, it’s fun to see the young guys really turn into pros. Really see their progression. To watch Keenan (Allen) do it and now watch Melvin do it, it’s fun to see that because we all remember once when we were 22, 23, 24, 25. Going through that. He’s continuing to ascend.”
Meanwhile, Russell Okung has helped pave the way for numerous 1,000 yard rushers in his career. While he missed the game with a groin injury, he was quick to sing Gordon’s praises.
“It’s definitely a big deal” he said. “One, for Melvin’s own personal ambitions. I think every rusher wants to hit that benchmark. And we’re happy to help him do that as an offensive line. It’s extremely important to us to say we have a 1,000-yard rusher. I’m really proud of the guy. He’s been running hard and running tough. It’s been a good year for him.”
“It’s huge. It’s a big milestone. It’s not easy getting 1,000 yards in the NFL. That’s a big accomplishment, and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of the whole offense for helping make that happen. But Melvin is one of my best buddies, and I’m just really proud for him.”
Finally, no one knows running backs better than Head Coach Anthony Lynn, which is why he pointed out certain factors when it comes to that milestone.
“Really, it just means durability, consistency and showing up every week. That’s a little over 65 yards a game, something like that. That’s kind of what it tells me. That the guy, he’s available and he’s consistent.”
Source: Chargers | Ricky Henne | December 24, 2017