LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Chargers fell 36-34 in their season opener against the Miami Dolphins despite a monster effort from their running game - including 16 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown from veteran back Austin Ekeler.
Ekeler joined Daniel Wade and David Droegemeier on Locked on Chargers to talk about the team's Week 1 loss, where they can improve, and why the run game is so crucial to this team going forward.
"Getting the ground game going is so important for us, because we know the receivers we have, so we know we are going to be able to throw it," Ekeler said. "You're going to have games where you're going to lean heavily on one or the other based off the defense you're facing."
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was expected to bring a more balanced offensive attack to Los Angeles, and the result on Sunday was 233 yards on the ground and 229 yards in the air - an offense that looked difficult to stop all game long despite ultimately falling at the end.
Ekeler mentioned the performance of LA's other running back Joshua Kelley, who carried the ball 16 times for 91 yards and a touchdown in perhaps his best performance across four years with the team.
If Ekeler and Kelley form a dynamic two man running game, it opens up the offense for quarterback Justin Herbert and the team's star receivers, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, to really stretch opposing defenses and find the end zone with regularity.
If the defense can improve from Week 1, where they allowed 466 passing yards to Tua Tagovailoa, this is a team that will be very dangerous come playoff time.