108 carries. 646 yards. 6 rushing touchdowns.
And Jay Ajayi is not the top running back in today’s game.
The San Diego Chargers bring into their Week 10 matchup against the Miami Dolphins a second-year running back of their own, Melvin Gordon, who has has more carries, yards, and touchdowns than the Dolphins’ running back. Ajayi does have Gordon beat in yards per carry and in yards per game. In other words, two second-year running backs who are becoming stars in the league are about to go toe-to-toe.
How exactly do these two stack up?
Gordon: 193 (1st in NFL)
Ajayi: 108 (17th in NFL)
Gordon: 768 (3rd in NFL)
Ajayi: 646 (6th in NFL)
Yards per attempt:
Gordon: 4.0 (23rd in NFL)
Ajayi: 6.0 (1st in NFL)
Gordon: 48 (14th in NFL)
Ajayi: 62 (7th in NFL)
20+ yard runs:
Gordon: 6 (2nd in NFL)
Ajayi: 6 (2nd in NFL)
Gordon: 9 (1st in NFL)
Ajayi: 6 (8th in NFL)
Yards per game:
Gordon: 85.3 (6th in NFL)
Ajayi: 92.3 (2nd in NFL)
The two running backs are obviously pretty close in just about every category and near the top in the league in most of those areas. They might be even closer off the field.
“That’s my brother,” Ajayi said of Gordon this week. “I look at him as a brother, and it’s going to be fun going up against him as the matchup this weekend. We talked yesterday, and we talk quite often, so it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait.”
He continued, “I think just me training with Melvin helped build our relationship. That daily grind of we were working for the same goal, that helped us become even closer. Then when we all went to the combine, we knew we were in a strong running back class, and we knew how talented everyone was. With the group (text) message, it has been (about) keeping in touch with everyone (and) making sure everyone’s on the right track, because we all see ourselves as playmakers for our teams.”
“It’s always good to have a (friend) on the offensive side of the ball,” Gordon told reporters this week. “It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m glad that he’s having success.”
In last year’s matchup between the Chargers and the Dolphins, Gordon had 15 carries for 41 yards, while Ajayi carried the ball six times for 27 yards and his first career touchdown. “It was great,” Ajayi said of the game. “I remember playing in that stadium. I’ve played in it in college before, so it was fun getting to play in there for the first time as an NFL player. Even though we lost the game, for me to have gotten my first career NFL touchdown was huge, and I’ll definitely remember that for the rest of my life.”
“I’m always checking on Melvin every week to see how he does,” Ajayi explained of how closely he follows Gordon’s career. “I’m so proud of him to come back from last year, where he wasn’t able to score a touchdown and a lot of people were kind of starting write him off a little bit. Through talking with him, through the offseason and everything, he really put his head down and did a lot of things to set himself up for a great year. He’s starting to showcase the ability that everyone knew he had, and it’s exciting to see how well he has been doing.”
“We both wanted to be in the positions that we’re in now where we have a chance to show people how good we are,” Gordon added. “It’s kind of awesome that we get to go up against each other. We’re both competitive and still close, but it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m glad that we get the chance to be a part of it.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05pm ET Sunday.