DENVER — Melvin Gordon can run. Melvin Gordon can catch. Melvin Gordon … can fly?
The former Heisman Trophy finalist entered his third season as the Chargers’ backfield workhorse — a promising young runner expected to take another step under new head coach Anthony Lynn, a running backs coach for over a decade. Last fall, Gordon shook off a subpar rookie year, breaking out with 1,416 yards from scrimmage and a Pro Bowl nod despite losing three games to injuries.
What could Chargers fans expect to see in Year 3?
Melvin Gordon goes flying pic.twitter.com/BtCTdAmBtu
— Vikings Blogger (@firstandskol) September 12, 2017
The third-year tailback leapt into the end zone for the Chargers’ first points of the season on Monday, vaulting over safety Justin Simmons for one of the most acrobatic touchdowns of Week 1. It was the team’s biggest highlight in an uneven first half — one that ended with Denver holding a 14-7 lead.
The Chargers missed out on a number of big plays at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Their opening drive began with a false start on left guard Matt Slauson — a 5-yard penalty — and ended four plays later, when Keenan Allen dropped a likely third-down conversion.
On the Chargers’ ensuing defensive snap, cornerback Casey Hayward dropped what would have been a near-certain interception return for a touchdown, bobbling the ball away some 30 yards from the end zone. Quarterback Trevor Siemian took advantage of the reprieve, marching the Broncos down the field for a 13-play, 70-yard scoring drive.
Through two quarters, the Chargers only called one play that resulted in at least a 15-yard gain: Gordon’s 21-yard run to start their first offensive possession.
The Chargers activated receiver Geremy Davis from their practice squad, supplementing a depth chart that was missing Dontrelle Inman. Inman, who caught for 810 yards last year, has been in and out of the lineup since undergoing sports hernia surgery in May.
Inman was left inactive on Monday night, along with receiver Mike Williams (back), quarterback Cardale Jones, offensive tackle Sam Tevi, tight end Sean McGrath, defensive end Jerry Attaochu and safety Dexter McCoil.
To make room for Davis, the Chargers waived cornerback Jeff Richards, whom they had claimed last Sunday.
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley both stayed on the sideline in Denver on Monday — favoring face-to-face interactions with their…