COSTA MESA , Calif. (AP) — Melvin Gordon wants to suit up fo
Thursday night at Kansas City, but he says his status will likely not be decided until 90 minutes before kickoff.The fourth-year running Jahleel Addae Color Rush Jersey back has missed the past two games after spraining the MCL in his right knee during the second half of the Chargers’ Nov. 26 win against Arizona. He is sixth in the AFC in rushing with 802 yards despite missing three games and leads the conference in rushing average per game (80.2).Gordon said he is stronger and confident about the knee, but he acknowledges that it will not be 100 percent if he plays against the Chiefs. He was listed as limited on the team’s Tuesday practice report, which was the first time he has participated in a practice since the injury.“We need all the playmakers we need to beat KC,” he said. “We have so much at stake right now and I want to help I can. If I can’t go out there and be me and can’t make my cuts I don’t want to be out there.”The Chargers (10-3) can clinch their first playoff spot since 2013 with a win against the Chiefs (11-2). It would also move them into a tie with Kansas City atop the AFC West, but the Chiefs would hold the tiebreaker due to a better division record.Los Angeles will need to win out if it has any hopes of winning the division and then hope Kansas City drops one of its final two games, which are at Seattle and home to Oakland.Gordon is averaging 3.7 yards per carry in six games against the Chiefs, which is below his career average of 4.1. He has made a bigger impact as a receiver in the past two meetings with 15 receptions for 193 yards. He had nine catches for 102 yards in the Sept. 9 loss to the Chiefs.“If I sat out until the playoffs. I could wait and know I would be full go. It’s just being smart and not prolonging injury,” Gordon said.Gordon’s status is more complicated with backup Austin Ekeler in concussion protocol and dealing with a bruised nerve in his neck, which occurred late in Sunday’s 26-21 win over Cincinnati. That could leave the Chargers relying on a pair of rookies. Justin Jackson will see a bigger role — either getting his first career start or as the backup — and Detrez Newsome could see his first significant action at running back.Another factor is that the Chargers are not having full practices due to the short week. Coach Anthony Lynn said they can get a lot accomplished during walkthroughs.“I really think if you focus and lock in in the meeting room like you should, you come out on the field and you go at a slower tempo but mentally you’re there and you’re in the present moment,” he said. “I think you can get just as good of work done as full speed without the collisions and injury. There’s a skill and an art to practicing without the pads and walking through, and I think this club is getting better at that.”Philip Rivers has confidence in the two rookies if Gordon and Ekeler are unable to go.“They are two young guys who are sharp. There will be added emphasis on my part to communicate, especially with the crowd noise, so that they can play fast,” Rivers said. “If that’s the case, we’ll just roll and go.” OAKLAND Russell Okung Color Rush Jersey , Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr had appeared to pass Philip Rivers in the pecking order of AFC West quarterbacks two years ago. He put together a season worthy of MVP consideration while Rivers led the NFL in interceptions on the way to a last-place finish.Carr looked like one of the NFL’s up-and-coming stars, while Rivers seemed to be on the downside of a career that started in 2004.The script has flipped heading into Sunday’s meeting between Rivers’ Los Angeles Chargers (6-2) and Carr’s Oakland Raiders (1-7). Rivers is playing as well as he has at any point in his 15-year career, while Carr is struggling to find his way in coach Jon Gruden’s offense.“Obviously quarterbacks get way too much credit and way too much blame already, but I think we don’t give enough credit to guys who have played that long,” Carr said. “I’ll say it this way, the hardest part mentally going through a season is the days leading up to the game. Sunday is fun, man. You cut it loose and you give it everything you have. Having to recover, ice tub, wake up early to get treatment, the lift, to lift heavy when everything hurts, that’s when those guys don’t get enough credit.“Here I am at five years, I’m fine. I’m good. I’ll keep doing this and I’m good. But, those guys that are in their 15th, 20th season, we don’t give them enough credit to mentally be that strong. It’s awesome.”Rivers has career highs in yards per attempt (9.1) and passer rating (116.5), and is on pace for a career-high 38 touchdown passes while leading the Chargers to five straight wins.The Chargers have strengthened their offensive line Junior Seau Color Rush Jersey , have a potent running threat in Melvin Gordon, have plenty of outside targets with Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams, and a strong defense.That has all taken pressure off Rivers to carry too much of the load.“These last almost 20 games or so, we’ve had good balance,” Rivers said. “Leaning on one another offensively and defensively taking care of the ball — all of those things are important. So we’ve done a nice job of it so far.”Here are some other things to watch:GORDON’S RUNMelvin Gordon has rushed for 407 yards and scored five touchdowns in his last four games. He also has three 100-yard games in three of his past four, the first time that has happened in his career. The only game when Gordon did not go over the century mark was Week 5 against the Raiders; he had just 58 yards on 19 carries. The Raiders are last in the league in rushing defense, but Gordon knows he has a tough test ahead.“They played me pretty tough last time we went up against them. It is never easy since they are a rival. As a group the offensive line is hitting on all cylinders. We hope to keep getting stronger.”PRESSURE POINTThe Raiders have struggled to generate any sort of pass pressure all season after trading away Khalil Mack. Oakland ranks last in the NFL with seven sacks and last with 35 QB pressures, according to SportRadar, 28 fewer pressures than the next-lowest team. Fixing that will only get harder after the team released top pass rusher Bruce Irvin last week. That puts more pressure on a trio of rookies — P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst — that has three sacks this season.“We put a lot on their plate and that’s because they’re the future of this team,” teammate Frostee Rucker said. “They have to come along and play.”KINGS OF PICKSThe Chargers have seven interceptions during their five-game winning streak and have 189 yards in returns, which leads the league. Second-year cornerback Desmond King has three of the interceptions and returned one 42 yards for a touchdown last week at Seattle to put the Chargers up by two scores.MISSING WIDEOUTSOakland has struggled to get any production from wideouts in recent weeks. Since the start of Week 5, Oakland ranks last in the NFL with 37 catches and 428 yards receiving from wide receivers. Amari Cooper had one catch for 10 yards in two games in that span before being traded to Dallas. Seth Roberts leads Oakland’s pass catchers with 12 receptions over those four games, while Martavis Bryant has the most yards with 138.NEW KICKER (AGAIN)The Chargers have become the Bermuda Triangle for placekickers. Michael Badgley is the team’s sixth since the start of last season and moved into the role fulltime this week after Caleb Sturgis was released on Monday. Badgley made all three of his field goals and seven extra points in the two games he kicked when Sturgis had a quadriceps injury.
Czw 27 Gru, 2018 7:44