Los Angeles Chargers Running Back Ekeler Sets Shocking Record

The Los Angeles Chargers are heading to the playoffs for the first time under quarterback Justin Herbert, but their star passer shouldn't get all the credit. With his four catches in Week 18 against the Denver Broncos, running back Austin Ekeler set a franchise record for receptions in a season with 107. Wide receiver Keenan Allen previously held the record with 106 catches in 2021. Ekeler is the second Chargers running back to nab 100 receptions: Ladainian Tomlinson caught exactly 100 in 2003. He is the fourth running back in NFL history to achieve the feat, following Tomlinson, Matt Forte (2014), and Christina McCaffrey (2018, 2019).

Ekeler's enormous reception total is a testament to his talent, but it speaks to a flaw within the Chargers' offense. Ekeler only totalled 722 yards on his 127 targets for a middling 5.69-yard average. Herbert was perhaps too reliant on his back so far this season: his 6.4 intended air yards per attempt are a career-low and ranked third last in the league among qualifying passers. As a result, the Chargers have fallen from fifth in points scored in 2021 to 13th through 16 games this year.
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