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RB Melvin Gordon - San Diego Chargers

6-1, 215Born: 4-13-1993College: WisconsinDrafted: Round 1, pick 15

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Photo: Orlando Jorge Ramirez, US Presswire

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News you need to know

General News (Tue Jan 31): missed the final three games of the season and sat out of the Pro Bowl due to a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Week 21: bye week

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Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 14 vs CAR (3 / 5 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Gordon's relevance in this game was very short-lived after he was knocked from the contest with a hip injury. Following a Philip Rivers fumble, Gordon (who was standing a few yards away as a receiver) tried diving back towards the line of scrimmage to recover the ball. A defender dove on him from behind at an awkward angle, and Gordon didn't get up. He was eventually carted off the field, and reports afterwards are that the team believes he escaped serious injury. Still, with the season now lost, one wonders if he will play again in 2016. He was just three yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards for the season.

2016 Week 13 vs TB (17 / 84 / 1 rush, 6 / 4 / 54 / 0 rec)

Gordon did a little bit of everything in this game, as San Diego's leading rusher AND receiver, as well as adding another rushing score to his season tally. He has gotten consistently better as the season has gone along, and he's at the point where he's no longer just deriving value from his ability to find the end zone. He is really getting it done "between the 20s", showing elite vision and balance and regularly picking up more yardage than appears to be there when the play first develops. On one particular run, he followed an Antonio Gates block through a big hole but then added another 8-10 yards in the open field by beating his man and shaking off a tackle. In the passing game, he was Rivers' safety outlet whenever the quarterback was under pressure. Rivers always knew where Gordon was, and kept checking down to him whenever possible. He had all four of his receptions for 54 yards all by the early part of the second quarter. Late in the first quarter, Gordon showed his strength by slithering in between defenders from the 3-yard line and then banging through defenders at the goal line for his 10th rushing touchdown of the season. In the second half, he displayed some incredibly powerful running by dragging a number of defenders for several yards towards the first down marker despite the gang tackling effort. Arguably his best run of the year came with about five minutes left in the game. With San Diego trailing by seven points and facing a key third and 1, he was initially stuffed behind the line of scrimmage. But he kept fighting hard to push his legs forward and barely pick up the first down. It was a tremendous individual effort to keep the drive alive.

2016 Week 12 vs HOU (17 / 70 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 19 / 0 rec)

Gordon had 32 total yards on his two longest carries of the game, which just goes to show how difficult the other fifteen carries were. He didn't get a chance to run the ball in the red zone, but he did run with his customary power and agility. He continues to show a great deal of skill in small spaces, and his patience and vision off the edge is already close to elite if it's not there already. There were a couple of plays where one extra juke of a defender made the difference between a nice gain and a huge, "take it to the house" type of gain. There was some good open-field tackling displayed by Houston once he reached the second level, preventing him from a huge outing. He also had a big gain negated by offsetting penalties against each team. But late in the contest, he ran with a ton of power while pushing the pile and trying to grind out first downs to keep the clock moving. San Diego had a lot of success through the air in the game, which is the primary reason Gordon didn't put up bigger numbers - it was simply that he didn't have to.

2016 Week 10 vs MIA (24 / 70 / 0 rush, 8 / 5 / 62 / 0 rec)

Gordon found much less room to run in this game than he has in recent weeks. While his fantasy owners won't complain about 132 yards from scrimmage, he averaged fewer than three yards per carry on the ground and did most of his damage in the passing game. He was given a handful of rushing attempts near the goal line, but the swarming Miami defense prevented him from ever really getting close to scoring. Gordon ran hard all game long, and fought for every last yard he compiled on the ground. There just wasn't a whole lot of room for him to work. He had two really nice runs that accounted for most of his rushing yardage. The first was a single cut to the right where he stepped back and shot through the hole for a big gain. The other was in the second half when he picked up 18 up the left side by doing a really good job of reading the blocks in front of him en route to the big gain. Gordon was the go-to guy for a bit on the attempted game-winning drive with a big run and a huge screen pass for 20 yards to get them near field goal range. But once they fell behind again, they had to take to the air almost exclusively. Gordon had another nice reception in the first half. He chipped the blitzer that was heading towards Rivers before leaking out into the flat. He then hauled in the tough catch before righting himself and heading upfield to pick up a first down. If nothing else, Gordon continues to look much smoother and far more confident in himself and remains an elite option despite the rough go of it in this one.

2016 Week 9 vs TEN (32 / 196 / 1 rush, 4 / 4 / 65 / 0 rec)

Despite having better statistical games, Gordon looked as good as he ever has in last week's loss to Denver. But if last week was his arrival, this week was the coming out. Gordon announced himself as an NFL star with nearly 200 yards rushing on the ground, en route to the second-highest total yardage from scrimmage in San Diego history. He basically didn't make a mistake in the game, showing outstanding vision and patience before the hole as well as power and determination once he hit the hole. The biggest difference is almost not in his measurables. He just looks more confident running the ball. He is starting to get very creative on his runs, with one move a head fake to pick up 14 yards on a defender and the next being a quick speed burst to get to another level once he hits the edge and the next just being a straight-line power run right over a defender for a first down. Perhaps his most impressive run came on a busted play. Gordon didn't appear to realize he'd be getting the football, but suddenly Philip Rivers handed it into his gut. Gordon regrouped and not only corraled the ball, but actually took off up the right sideline and picked up 16-yards on the play. He also had separate runs for 43 and 47 yards, the latter coming on a 3rd and 7 run late in the game that basically sealed the victory for San Diego. He was being dragged down as the Titans knew he'd be running, but he fought right through a couple of arm tackles and keps his legs churning. As usual, Gordon found his way into the end zone as well. He took a carry from the 2-yard line that ended up getting stuffed on both first and second down. After a third down penalty gave them another first and goal, Gordon finally found the end zone by following a Derek Watt block in for the score. In the passing game, his biggest play was a perfectly-designed short screen that went for 35 yards where he just simply outran everyone. It was a career-best reception for Gordon.

2016 Week 8 vs DEN (23 / 111 / 0 rush, 7 / 4 / 44 / 0 rec)

Considering his final stat line wasn't skewed by one huge run and coupled with the quality of the opponent, it's not a stretch to suggest that this was the most impressive game of Gordon's young career. He consistently did a nice job of beating defendes to the edge, which has not always been the case with him. He also showed excellent patience and vision in reading his blocks at the line of scrimmage and consistently picking the right hole as well as the right time to hit it to maximize his returns. He still wasn't getting a ton of room from his offensive line, but he pushed the pile when he could and the team kept the rushing attack as a key part of the game plan for the most part. Gordon's long gain of the game went for 20 yards, a play on which he followed Hunter Henry's block to the outside. The only time they curiously went away from the run game was basically when Gordon was running his best. He had just become the first back to go over 100 yards against Denver since Jamaal Charles did it 21 games ago, and San Diego had a first and goal at Denver's 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter and trailing by one score. However, the team opted to throw four consecutive passes from the 2, all of which fell incomplete, and the Chargers turned it over on downs. To add insult to injury, they managed to get the ball back with just over two minutes left to play and opted to run it on first down. Gordon picked up three yards on the play. In the passing game, he didn't have regular involvement but he was involved in several key plays. The first was a really tough catch he made while reaching his arms around his defender who was facing him. The next was a wide open two point conversion conversion following a defensive touchdown that ended up getting negated by a questionable offensive pass interference penalty on Antonio Gates. And the last was a play action screen up the left flat where he did a nice job of following Dontrelle Inman's downfield block for a big gain of thirty.

2016 Week 7 vs ATL (22 / 68 / 2 rush, 7 / 6 / 53 / 1 rec)

Gordon continues to produce huge dividends for his fantasy owners, despite some very inconsistent performances on the season. He managed to find the end zone three more times in this game, giving him a whopping ten on the season. But aside from a lot more involvement in the passing game, he looked very pedestrian with the majority of his rushing attempts. There were glimpses of effectiveness, and he has shown himself to be quite adept in small spaces. He also shows terrific balance at times, such as on the first touchdown run when he bounced off the back of his own man, regrouped, and took it off to the left side for the walk-in touchdown. On his second score, he again showed a nice inside cut and terrific vision, taking a big hit but keeping his feet moving en route to the end zone. And perhaps his best run of the game came on a third down rush attempt late in regulation. He was stood up by the defense, but wasn't wrapped up on the tackle attempt. He bounced backwards, turned the run up the left side, and gained the first down yardage to the 15-yard line and helped get San Diego in position to tie the game. He also converted a key third and 1 handoff in the overtime session near the 35-yard line. He leaped over the pile to convert the first down, and if he hadn't done so then the potential game-winning kick would have been from about 52 or 53 yards out. By converting that run, he got the team a new set of downs so that they could set up for a much more manageable 42-yard kick. He certainly showed talent and vision on the short yardage runs, but he's still missing the big plays from his repertoire. For the vast majority of his attempts, the blocking up front is almost non-existent. He again barely averaged three yards per carry, continuing a disturbing trend that has been somewhat hidden by all the touchdowns. His third score of the game had come earlier when he leaked into the flat for an easy score from five yards out. Antonio Gates and Dontrelle Inman had drawn all the defenders away from Gordon, so he took the wide open pass from Rivers and waltzed into the end zone untouched. It should also be noted that with the game on the line and the Chargers needing a score to both tie and win the game, they didn't shy away from giving Gordon the ball despite his fumbling issues over the last few weeks.

2016 Week 6 vs DEN (27 / 94 / 0 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Those who want to find the positive in Gordon's performance will point to the fact that he very nearly turned in a 100-yard game. Detractors will point to the fact that he had a 49-yard run on one of his carries, and his other 26 attempts totaled just 45 yards (1.7 YPC). Granted, we can't just throw out the one big run and pretend it didn't happen. And perhaps Gordon is one of those backs who is going to be reliant upon the big play in order to boost his yards per carry average. But the home run derby approach leaves players with the possibility of a very low floor and wild inconsistency from week to week. Time after time in this game, he hit the line and was immediately met by tacklers. There was rarely a good push by the blockers up front, although Gordon did all he could do show some nice shiftiness and elusiveness in some really tight spaces. He did convert a fourth down attempt where all he needed was a foot, and he barely converted it. Then all of a sudden early in the second half, he busted one up the left side for 49 yards and wasn't even touched until he was about forty yards down the field. Once he hit the last line of defense, only one player stood between him and the end zone, but he couldn't beat him. Later on that drive, he took a handoff from the 2-yard line but was swarmed up by the Broncos goal line defense. There was just simply nowhere to run. Early in the fourth quarter, he limped off the field after a short run and was briefly replaced by Kenneth Farrow. But after two rush attempts by Farrow, Gordon resumed his duties and carried it the rest of the way. The Chargers were basically riding him on every drive to try and run out the clock, and with a chance to essentially end the game, Gordon was stuffed on a third and 1 attempt. The Chargers punted it away, Denver scored, then recovered the onside kick with a chance to tie, but came up a bit short.

2016 Week 5 vs OAK (16 / 69 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 18 / 1 rec)

After several weeks of middling performances, Gordon finally looked a lot better in this game. It wasn't necessarily reflected in the yards per carry average, which still only hovered around 4. But he just looked a lot stronger running the football. Right from the outset, he had a nice run to the outside by bouncing around the line and closing the edge to pick up a first down to close out the first half. He showed a lot of strength with a powerful inside run up the middle, bowling over defenders for nine yards late in the first half. It may have been a product of getting better blocking up front and thus more momentum, but he just looked to be running with more intensity. It was more of the same in the second half as he took an inside handoff, bounced off the pile, regrouped and then took it back ahead for a nice gain. Despite all these, he was still averaging just three yards per carry at the 13:00 mark of the third quarter. This shows that many of his runs were going into the line or being stopped behind the line of scrimmage. But Gordon is a player who will derive most of his value from big plays, and he turned in a nice 24-yard burst by following his blocking up the right side before taking it to the doorstep of the goal line. He nearly broke a really long one later in the half when he somehow managed to squirt through the traffic and get to the second level of the defense. He was stumbling the whole time, but if he had been able to keep his footing there was only one defender in front of him. Late in the contest, he lowered his shoulder into a defender and absolutely steamrolled him to pick up the first down around the 7-yard line. So he was still demonstrating a lot of power and intensity late in the contest. That's not to say all went well, however. He did cough up the football again at a key moment in the game, the second straight week he has lost a fumble. It probably won't cost him much work since there really isn't anyone else of note in this backfield, but it's definitely a concern for a player who had serious fumbling issues a year ago.

2016 Week 4 vs NO (19 / 36 / 2 rush, 7 / 6 / 43 / 0 rec)

Gordon scored his fifth and sixth touchdowns of the season, which hid yet another lackluster rushing performance by the second-year back. Lost in Gordon's touchdown barrage to open the season is the fact that he's barely averaging three yards per carry on the year. His long run of this game went for ten yards, which means his other 18 carries went for a total of 26 yards. He showed good strength on a couple of occasions, repeatedly fighting for extra yardage. And he shows nice start-and-stop abilities at the goal line and seems to have developed a real knack for running in traffic. The problem is that there's nearly always traffic. When he runs up the middle, defenders are always there to meet him. If he tries stretching a play out wide, he just doesn't show that second gear burst to get to the edge like he showed in college. It wouldn't be as noticeable against a good defense, but he had a very poor game on a per carry basis against one of the league's worst defenses in this game. To cap off his day, with the Chargers up by 13 late in the fourth quarter and just trying to salt the game away, Gordon was stripped of the ball on the first play of the possession and turned it over to the Saints. That led to a whirlwind of events that eventually cost the Chargers the win. With no one else of note in the backfield, he's not in danger of losing touches over that one fumble. But Gordon owners in 2015 recall that his fumbling issues in his rookie year led to a reduced role at times, so this is something to keep an eye on moving forward.

2016 Week 3 vs IND (16 / 35 / 1 rush, 7 / 4 / 43 / 0 rec)

Gordon had a tough go of it right from the opening handoff. He was met behind the line of scrimmage on his opening carry, and the day didn't get any easier from there. The San Diego line didn't create very many holes for Gordon, and he was met at or behind the line of scrimmage on a very high percentage of rushing attempts. On the plus side, he did find the end zone for the third consecutive week. After Dexter McCluster's quick slant set up a first and goal, Gordon took the ensuing handoff and followed his fullback into the end zone for the score. That touchdown made his fantasy day look better than it was, because most of his other rush attempts went nowhere. All wasn't lost, however, as he was more involved in the passing game than usual. He was even in on an early third down and long play, and was the recipient of the passing target. His expanded role in this facet can likely be attributed to last week's season-ending injury to Danny Woodhead, which makes Gordon more of an every-down running back (although it should also be noted that the recently-acquired McCluster has a similar skill set to Woodhead, and could see more action as he learns the playbook and scheme). On one particular passing play, Gordon was wide open for a third down reception, but Rivers put a bit too much touch on the pass and kind of darted it into the ground. After the play, he was seen yelling in Gordon's direction. So it wasn't entirely clear if Rivers had thrown a poor pass or if Gordon was supposed to stop his route. For what it's worth, announcer and former Pro Bowl quarterback Rich Gannon blamed Rivers. In the second half, Gordon picked up a career long 25-yard reception on a dumpoff that he took to midfield. With the game on the line and San Diego down by 1, Gordon was the man on the field in nearly all situations.

2016 Week 2 vs JAX (24 / 102 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 18 / 0 rec)

Gordon had a terrific day. He ran with toughness and explosion that seemed to overwhelm the Jaguars defenders. He moved at a different speed than the people trying to tackle him. His most impressive play came when he had a terrific cut to force Telvin Smith to look ridiculous in the hole. He frequently found the holes in the defense and was rarely able to be contained unless it was by fault of the blocking in front of him. All around, a very good day.

2016 Week 1 vs KC (14 / 57 / 2 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Gordon rushed 14 times for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gordon was used heavily in the red zone and tallied scores from 1 and 6 yards out. While Woodhead was given more carries on the day, Gordon figures to be the lead back and will see the bulk of the work all season long. Gordon was rarely used in clear passing situations and did not tally a target during the game. The loss of Allen in the passing game is going to put more pressure on Gordon to produce in the running game going forward.

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