Already in an 0-2 hole to start the season, the Los Angeles Chargers may be facing even more of an uphill battle as the year goes on.
Running back Austin Ekeler suffered an ankle injury in the Chargers’ Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins and missed LA’s Week 2 contest against the Tennessee Titans.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said there was “no timeline” on Ekeler’s return to play, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reported.
"No timeline" on Austin Ekeler's return from his ankle injury, Brandon Staley said.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) September 18, 2023
Los Angeles’ rushing game struggled against Tennessee without the dual-threat back, as the Chargers gained just 61 total yards on 21 rushing attempts. While quarterback Justin Herbert played well, it was clear he was missing Ekeler as well. The running back had 107 receptions last season, a Chargers running back record and the second-most receptions by a running back in NFL history.
Joshua Kelley got the majority of the carries for Los Angeles in their loss to Tennessee and averaged just three yards per carry.
An 0-2 start is tough to overcome in the NFL. Since 1990, just 31 of the 270 teams (11.5%) to start 0-2 have made the playoffs. If 0-2 is tough to overcome, 0-3 is virtually impossible. Since 2002, 99 teams have started 0-3, and the only one to make the playoffs was the Houston Texans in 2018.
Despite seemingly being without Ekeler, the Chargers will have a chance to avoid falling to 0-3 as they travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings, who are also 0-2.