Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is in a position to do something fairly notable during Sunday’s game against the Falcons.
As pointed out by Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times, if Ekeler catches 10 passes, he’ll become the first running back in league history to have at least 10 receptions in three consecutive games.
Ekeler caught 10 passes for 47 yards in the team’s 19-16 victory over Denver in Week Six. Then he had 12 catches for 96 yards with a touchdown in the 37-23 loss to Seattle in Week Seven.
Los Angeles had its bye last week.
But Ekeler’s targets and receptions have gone up in part as a consequence of the injuries all around the offense. That’s a situation that won’t get any better this week as top receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both set to miss the Week Nine contest against Atlanta.
“It’s strange, hard to even explain how it’s played out,” Ekeler said, via Miller. “With all the injuries, the flow of our offense is different. We have expectations based on what’s happened in the past, but that doesn’t define your future or your present.”
Ekeler’s increase in receptions coincides with a notable stat from quarterback Justin Herbert. Over the last two games, Herbert has averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt on his 108 passes. He’s thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions and lost a fumble.
So, when asked about the potential to catch at least 10 passes again, Ekeler laughed and said, “I’m not sure if that’s the best thing.”
“I would like to see some of those balls going down the field to some of these receivers and tight ends,” Ekeler said. “But it’s the scenario we’re in right now.”
Though Allen and Williams are out for this week, the Chargers are expected to have Joshua Palmer back. But Ekeler’s availability could be in question, as he was added to Thursday’s injury report as limited with an abdomen injury after he’d spoken to reporters before the session.