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Melvin Gordon shines in Broncos’ rout of Detroit Lions

Melvin Gordon proved why he still remains such a significant contributor to the Broncos’ offense against Detroit

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NFL: DEC 12 Lions at Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Melvin Gordon has endured a bit of a hot/cold relationship with Denver fans and media. Many are begging for more carries for Javonte Williams (whether that’s influenced at all by their fantasy football teams is up to you), others acknowledge his presence has been a boon for the Broncos’ offense this season.

Javonte Williams provides plenty of the highlights, but when it’s 3rd-and-4, chances are the staff is calling on Gordon to go out there and convert. He’s been the more efficient back on the offense, and that’s a perfect complement to Javonte Williams as a rookie.

Against the Detroit Lions, that efficiency shone through. Gordon carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards and a crisp 4.6 yards per carry. He found paydirt twice against a pretty physical Lions’ front seven.

The NFL’s biggest trend in recent years has been Next Gen Stats tracking, enabled by Zebra Technologies’ on-field tracking. They release all sorts of interesting analytical data that measure player performance.

This week, they released their statistics and tracking data across the league through Week 14.

Melvin Gordon saw a stacked box on 54.2% of his carries but he was still able to churn out 111 yards (+20 RYOE) and 2 TD.

RYOE, or Rush Yards over Expectation, is exactly what it says. Put simply, it is the difference between actual rushing yards and expected rushing yards on an individual play or series of plays. The expected yards is calculated using down, distance, yard line, offensive line performance, and defensive alignment/box counts. These factors are used to find this “expected value” on a probability basis.

In layman’s term, Gordon gained 20 more yards than he was expected to based on the situation. He faced an 8-man or greater box on over half of his carries and still did that.

Talk about efficiency.

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