Nick Chubb’s 92-yard run was the longest offensive play of the week, however, Melvin Gordon’s shorter 67-yard run barely eclipsed Chubb’s as the can’t-miss play of Week 10.
Gordon doesn’t receive the same acclaim as his Los Angeles-area counterpart Todd Gurley. He probably should though. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, he has ranked second in touchdowns to Gurley with 35 TDs to Gurley’s 42.
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has only enhanced his explosiveness. As a former running backs coach for the Jaguars, Cowboys, Browns, Jets and Bills, Lynn is a guru of the running game. He understands which position breads his offense’s butter. After he assumed control of the Buffalo Bills offense in 2016, LeSean McCoy soared.
After averaging fewer than four yards per carry during his first three seasons, he’s now picking up 5.38 yards per carry every time he totes the rock out of the backfield. As a receiver, he’s more engaged than ever. He’s on pace to surpass his career-high in receptions, targets, yards and touchdowns.
On Sunday, Flash Gordon cremated the remains of the Oakland Raiders defense for 163 yards, including 72 yards receiving, which accounted for half of the Chargers’ total yardage.
Gordon accumulated a large chunk of that yardage on a single 67-yard catch-and-run play early in the third quarter. On 2nd and 10 from their own 34-yard-line, the Chargers aligned with three receivers, a tight end and Gordon in the backfield.
The Raiders sent an all-out blitz after Philip Rivers, who quickly dumped it off to Gordon. Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley had an opportunity to tackle Gordon at the line of scrimmage, but he whiffed. After passing the first down stick, Gordon plowed forward with a full head of steam towards safety Reggie Nelson.
While Gordon found plenty of empty runway space for takeoff, he also used a combination of breakaway speed and shiftiness to turn a first down into a clear path touchdown. Gordon sidestepped to his right and sped past Nelson.
Keenan Allen delivered a block to defensive lineman Jacquies Smith before he could creep up on Gordon’s blindside. There was no trickery involved. The Raiders defense miscalculated and Gordon pounced on their mistake.
“I saw the linebacker blitzing and I knew I was going to be hot,” Gordon explained afterward. “I knew I had to look quick. Phil knew that too, and got me the ball. I made a guy miss and then obviously I got some help with Virgil [Green] and Keenan [Allen] down the field. I think Keenan knocked off a D-end for me, and he was hauling ass.”
Gordon’s touchdown was the longest reception of his career and pushed the lead Chargers lead to 17-3. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was also his 17th “explosive play,” defined as runs of 15-plus yards or receptions of 20-plus yards, which is only two fewer than the NFL-leader, Tyreek Hill.
*Out-of-market games only. Select int’l games excluded.
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