Austin Ekeler earns Offensive Player of the Week honors

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler wins an AFC award for the first time in his career.

Austin Ekeler put on a show in the Chargers home finale against the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. His performance earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.

Ekeler carried the ball ten times for 122 rushing yards plus two touchdowns. One of his bigger plays came in the second quarter, when he took a hand-off, followed his blocking, and sprinted 72 yards; only Rams cornerback Troy Hill touched him.

“In my head, I remembered my old run from the Browns game, and I was just in my head thinking, ‘Do not get caught. Do not get caught. Pick up my knees and run.’ I had just enough speed to make it there,” Ekeler said.

He had a similar play in Cleveland in week five but was caught before getting into the end zone, and the Chargers had to settle for a field goal. He didn’t want a repeat.

The Chargers are one game away from going into the playoffs and are riding a four-game win streak. Ekeler has scored six touchdowns in those games and has provided a spark to the run game.

Going into the postseason, teams want to have balance when it comes to the run and passing game. The offense is running the ball more efficiently as of late, but it isn’t where they want it yet.

“We have gotten some holes, which has been nice,” Ekeler said. “We have been able to take advantage of those. We have been making some people miss, which has been nice. It has been different. It has been up and down.”

Since clinching the wildcard berth against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago, it seems like these final weeks are to make sure they can fix their offensive errors, like running the football more efficiently. 

As of late, it seems offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has used Ekeler and Joshua Kelley the most out of the other backs.

“I think we have one more game with the Broncos coming up where it’s like, ‘Alright, let’s dominate the run game again.’ Then I think that opens up the playbook for us a lot more and makes us a little bit more of a dynamic offense when we are going into the first round of the playoffs,” Ekeler said.

Ekeler started the season not being able to get in the end zone in the first three games. Questions about the scheme, his health, or just about everything. After the hat trick against the Houston Texans, Ekeler has scored in 11 out of 13 games following the three-game cold streak.

On Sunday, if Ekeler can score two touchdowns in Denver, he will have scored 20 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. It is also near his hometown.

“There is definitely some value in that as far as for me down the road,” Ekeler said. If it happens, I don’t know, but we’ll see. You never know with these games, but definitely something that is on my mind like it always is, getting in the end zone. But definitely want to get in there twice.” 

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x