I have to be honest, I was not a fan of Melvin Gordon after his rookie campaign. The guy looked terrible at times during his rookie season but something clicked during his sophomore season. Gordon looked like a completely different player throughout his second season in San Diego. What he was able to do around one of the worst offensive lines is flat out impressive. In 13 games, Gordon gained 997 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns and was also able to post a 41-419-2 receiving line. He did it all for the Chargers. I will be looking at five plays from the 2016-17 season that showcased Gordon’s talents as a football player. I want this to show not only what he did in 16-17 but to showcase what he also can do in the future.
Week 7 vs. Atlanta
4th quarter, 42 seconds left, down 3 on 3rd and 1. This play showcases what Gordon had to deal with on an every down basis. This play was actually defended really well by Atlanta, all gaps were filled once Gordon received the handoff.
As you can see, MG3 did not have much to work with here as Atlanta was able to play the perfect defense for this Gordon run. Atlanta’s all-world rookie Deion Jones had the perfect opportunity to secure this tackle and wrap up Gordon which would have resulted in a 4th and short. Instead of wrapping up Jones charged with his shoulder which let Gordon bounce this run off to the left side. This run allowed San Diego to kick a field goal to head into overtime where they would eventually pull off the victory.
Gordon showed off his physical running ability which is something we did not see his rookie year. When he runs hard he is very difficult to tackle and as his offensive line improves we should see some more big runs for Gordon.
Week 9 vs. Tennessee
Melvin Gordon’s best professional game came in Week 9 when he accumulated 261 total yards with 196 of them coming from the ground. It was 3rd and 7, Tennessee was down 8 and needed this stop to get the ball back to tie the game. With 2:37 left in the fourth quarter, Gordon pulled this spectacular physical run that once again sealed the deal for San Diego. CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan exclaimed “he’s amazing!!” as Gordon broke what looked like his 30th tackle on the play. Let’s see what MG3 had to work with once he received the handoff
San Diego lines up in 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE’s) and brought in another OL instead of having 2 WRs. The Chargers lined up in 2 TE unbalanced left and the TE’s brought in are primarily used as blockers so Tennessee pretty much knows a run is coming. Kevin Byard is in a good spot and is in the gap needed to stop Melvin Gordon. Byard and Cleveland #45 arms get tied up which gets Byard off balance for a second. Byard is now attempting to arm tackle a physical Melvin Gordon. Gordon then goes beast mode and breaks a ton of tackles to seal the victory. This is the physicality you want to see from MG3 because when he runs like this he is incredibly tough to bring down.
Week 13 vs. Tampa Bay
This play more than anything is to showcase how Melvin operates in the open field since we do not get to see it often with this terrible offensive line. This play is blocked and perfectly designed to beat this defense which allows Gordon to get a full head of steam in an one-on-one opportunity against a DB.
Once he gets by the second level of the defense MG3 showcases how agile he can be in the open field. He gets the DB to react to his outside leg but if you look at his shoulder/hips they are leaning towards the side he will eventually run to. When you have that kind of burst though the hole a simple dead leg or one cut will do the damage. Gordon gets the DB to completely fall for his cut. He is a lot more agile than we give him credit for and that showcases a lot more in the pass game because they are able to get him into the open field more.
Week 2 vs. Jacksonville
This run is out of the pistol (one of the more underrated formations) and it involves a center pull which is extremely impressive if pulled off. The left guard also pulls on this play. This play is well executed by the two pulling offensive linemen. #74 stops Jalen Ramsey and #68 takes out Cyprien. This play shows off Gordon’s patience as he waits for the center to complete the block and once he sees that he bursts up field. To end off the run he shows his athletic ability by hurdling the DB. This angle does not do his speed justice.
The broadcast angle really shows just how fast and effortless Gordon hits the edge on this play. He glides when he hits the open field and it is beautiful to watch.
Week 5 vs. Oakland
I wanted to put another play on this that showed Gordon’s burst because I do not think people realize how fast he his through the hole. The broadcast angle of his runs really just show you how he glides through the hole. New head coach Anthony Lynn has been apart of seven 1,000 yard rushing seasons and he should have another with Melvin Gordon. This year should be the year where MG3 cements himself as one of the better backs in the NFL.