NFL

You can smell the cologne but don't taste it – Ekeler not getting caught up in Chargers hype

By Sports Desk October 11, 2021

Austin Ekeler insists the Los Angeles Chargers cannot get caught up in the hype after their wild Week 5 win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Chargers improved to 4-1 on the season with a thrilling 47-42 victory at SoFi Stadium, scoring 26 points in the fourth quarter.

Running back Ekeler was central to their triumph, finding the endzone three times, including on the Chargers' final score, a three-yard run with just over 90 seconds left in the contest that saw him pushed into the endzone by Browns defenders trying to preserve time for the Cleveland offense to come back.

But the Browns' attack could not do so, meaning the Chargers now lead the AFC West following a stellar performance from quarterback Justin Herbert, who threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns.

The Chargers were also three for three on fourth down attempts as an aggressive approach from head coach Brandon Staley was rewarded, though another fourth down caused controversy as they were able to keep a drive alive thanks to a contentious pass interference penalty against Cleveland.

Herbert now has 11 games of at least 300 yards passing in his career, the most by a player in his first two seasons in the league in NFL history.

And, for Ekeler, the Chargers' offense has an unstoppable feel to it.

"Oh, my goodness. Oh man, I'm still taking in that win and what just happened," Ekeler told Peter King for his Football Morning in America column. 

"It was incredible. Wow. On the touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, it was a screen, a play I fumbled on earlier in the game. That made me sick to my stomach. I'm still sick about it. But that's the great thing about football – you can make up for plays like that.

"Man, it feels like when we get on the field, we're gonna go score. If we have to, guess what? We're going for it on fourth down. That's just the way we roll right now.

"J-Herb's been smart with the ball, finding us, and we've been getting open and giving him an option to throw to. It's that feeling like we're in a zone. We're scoring every time we get the ball.

"Crazy play at the end. I'm not trying to score. Right? I'm trying to waste time. Which, I mean, if I was smarter in that situation I would've just immediately gone down. I was like, 'Oh let me try to waste more time'. And I tried to get cute, kill some time, got greedy, and they came and grabbed me, picked me up, took me in the endzone. Weirdest play ever. Has anybody ever been sad to score a touchdown?

"There's not many situations where you're sad that you scored a touchdown, but that one was like, man, wow, I dropped the ball in that situation by not just going down.

"So now, big win. But we can't get caught up in hype. One of my old running back coaches used to tell me, 'You can smell the cologne but don't taste it. Don't taste it.'

"What does that mean? There's gonna be a lot of people talking about you. You can say thank you, but make sure you know every single week you gotta show up to work. This is the NFL.

"Wow. Today was incredible. I got a feeling you're gonna see this all year."

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    Bill Belichick's team ran the ball whenever they could, with Harris tallying 111 rushing yards from 10 carries, while Rhamondre Stevenson was handed the ball 24 times for a total of 78 yards.

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