Buccaneers at Chargers: Five Game-Changing Players
By Bailey Adams
Philip Rivers is the key to success for the San Diego offense, but that doesn’t take away from the importance of Melvin Gordon. If the Chargers can get the run game going, it will open up the rest of the offense for Rivers. The former Wisconsin Badger has rushed for 908 yards and nine touchdowns on 234 carries this year. He’s gone over 100 yards rushing in just three games this year, but he’s been a big part of each win that San Diego has picked up.
The Buccaneer defense has been dominant in recent weeks, and part of that has been because of the run defense. Tampa Bay has still given up 115.8 rushing yards per game, which certainly isn’t great. But, during the current three-game winning streak, the defense has been able to shut down the opposition’s featured running back. Chicago’s Jordan Howard did run for 100 yards, but Kansas City’s Spencer Ware went for just 69 yards on 17 carries and Seattle’s Thomas Rawls carried the ball 12 times for 38 yards. Gordon is the next test, and if the Bucs can keep him in check, it’ll do wonders for their chances of leaving with a win.
Gordon has totaled just 70 yards in back-to-back weeks, but that was after back-to-back 100-yard performances. He’s been fairly streaky this year, but he’s a big threat for the San Diego offense. If he gets going, it could be dangerous.