The San Diego Chargers had a horrible rushing attack in Monday’s win against the Oakland Raiders. As a team, San Diego had 32 rushing yards on 20 attempts. A major reason why they struggled is the fact that 2011 Pro Bowl running back Ryan Mathews did not play.
Mathews finished the 2011 NFL season ranked 12th in rushing yards per game with 78 while his 1,091 rushing yards ranked 10th and he was first in yards per attempt among players in the top 10 in rushing yards.
As a team on Monday, San Diego had 1.6 yards per attempt while they were at 4.3 per attempt last season. Mathews could miss Sunday’s home opener against the Tennessee Titans, so Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Le’Ron McClain or Curtis Brinkley has to step up.
Tennessee was tied for 22nd with the New York Giants last season as they allowed 4.5 yards per attempt. Brown and McClain are the only rushers with experience against the Titans and legitimate experience as starters in the league.
In two games against Tennessee, Brown had 38 attempts, 101 yards and two touchdowns. In one game against Tennessee, McClain had 11 attempts, 51 yards and a touchdown.
McClain was brought in to primarily block for Mathews and while he had 232 attempts, 902 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008, he has 89 attempts, 316 yards and three touchdowns since then.
Brown should get the chance to lead San Diego in rushing attempts due to his experience in the NFL.
According to cbssports.com writer Dan McLellan, Mathews is unlikely to play on Sunday. San Diego needs someone to make an impact on the ground to take pressure away from Philip Rivers and the pass attack.