There would be no revenge game Monday night for Broncos running back Melvin Gordon against the Chargers, his former team of five years.
What's worse, he never even got the chance. The two-time Pro Bowler logged only eight snaps -- none past the second quarter -- in Denver's 19-16 overtime loss and had only three official carries for eight yards after an apparent demotion to third choice in the Broncos' backfield.
"I'm not gonna lie. It hurt a little today watching," Gordon told NFL Network's Bridget Condon following the loss. "You know, [the Chargers] threw up the little clown logo on my face [on the video board], and I noticed it all. It sucked. It sucked knowing that I wasn't able to do anything about it. Go out there and help my team win. Going into overtime, sitting watching the whole game, knowing that I could be out there. So, that kinda hurt. But it's part of it. What don't kill you makes you stronger mentally."
Instead of Gordon, head coach Nathaniel Hackett opted to lean heavily on newcomer Latavius Murray, who the team signed off New Orleans' practice squad following Murray's two-touchdown performance against the Vikings in Week 4.
Murray sat out the following Thursday nighter against Indianapolis in order to get better acclimated, but he dominated the workload against Los Angeles with 27 offensive snaps, and led the team with 66 yards on 15 carries.
Mike Boone, who outperformed Gordon last week on half the attempts with 5.4 yards per carry versus 3.6, also gobbled up Gordon's vacated opportunities with 19 offensive snaps. He only had one carry, but he did place second on the team with four targets.
Gordon had appeared to be Denver's running back of choice on the first drive before eventually being relegated to the sideline, unable to answer for Los Angeles' clowning or its scoring.
He received handoffs on the Broncos' first two plays. The first went for 4 yards but was wiped away by a Lloyd Cushenberry holding penalty, and the second went for 2. His third carry, another 2-yarder, accounted for the entirety of Denver's running game on its first possession.
Gordon took one more carry for 4 yards during the Broncos' third drive in the middle of the second quarter, and that was the end of his night.
Cameras caught Gordon silently stewing on the sidelines at points of his benching.
"Kind of just waiting for my number to get called so I can go out there and help my teammates," Gordon said when asked what he was thinking on the outside looking in. "It was a close game. Felt like I could've helped make a difference. But apparently not."
Although Gordon has struggled with ball security this year, putting the ball on the turf four times through his first five games, that was not a problem in his limited work Monday. He simply stopped getting chances.
The Broncos opened the season with Javonte Williams and Gordon as their 1A and 1B combo. Since then, Williams has gone down with a torn ACL, and unless this was only Hackett's attempt to reverse Denver's season-long scuffle on offense by trying something new, Gordon looks to have plummeted down the new pecking order.
"I don't know," Gordon offered Condon about a possible explanation for the benching. "You and me both kind of clueless on that. So, you know, I'm sure it'll be a conversation that's had but to tell you exactly what happened, I can't say. Because I don't know."