With Melvin Gordon not available as his holdout, due to a contract impasse, continues into the regular season, Ekeler accomplished that goal in a Bolts' 30-24 overtime win over the Colts on Sunday.
Ekeler finished with 154 yards from scrimmage, including 55-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, a 1-yard reception for a score and the game-winner, a 7-yard plunge up the middle on the first possession of extra time. He had a career-high 96 receiving yards on six catches and gained 108 yards after the catch, a number Gordon has eclipsed only once in his career (118), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Backup running back Justin Jackson also was productive, totaling 57 rushing yards.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Ekeler is the first Charger to total at least 150 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in a season opener.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he would lean on a running-back-by-committee approach with Gordon not available, and it proved effective in the opening week.
QB breakdown: Even though he did not play at all during the preseason, Philip Rivers was sharp. Making his 209th consecutive start, Rivers completed 25 of 34 passes for 333 yards, with three touchdown passes and one interception. He was sacked four times, posting a 121.3 passer rating.
Buy on breakout performance: Ty Long became the eighth kicker to play for the Chargers since the start of the 2017 and the second punter, joining former Charger Drew Kaser. The former CFL standout, who normally just punts, took over place-kicking duties with Mike Badgley nursing a groin injury. Long proved effective in Badgley's absence, finishing 3-of-3 on extra points and also making a 40-yard field goal. Long became the first Chargers' specialist since 2011 to have a punt, field goal and extra point in the same game.
Troubling trend: The Chargers struggled to defend the run in the team's final game of last season, an AFC divisional playoff loss against the New England Patriots. And even with the Bolts adding new personal along the defensive line and at linebacker, the Chargers allowed the Colts to bully their way to 203 rushing yards.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Tackle Trent Scott still has a big hole to fill with starting left tackle Russell Okung out for at least the first six weeks due to a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots. Scott gave up two sacks and was beaten a third time on a play negated by a defensive offsides penalty on the right side of the line. The Chargers have to figure out how to help Scott in pass protection so Rivers can make it through the regular season healthy.