Ryan Mathews played in his first game for the San Diego Chargers during the 2012 NFL season last Sunday in a loss against the Atlanta Falcons. Mathews had 10 rushing attempts, 44 rushing yards, five receptions, 32 receiving yards and a fumble which led to a touchdown for Atlanta.
Earlier in the week, Chargers head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith stressed that Mathews has to eliminate his tendency to fumble. Mathews has 11 fumbles in 27 games and while San Diego has a 5-4 record when Mathews fumbles, they have a 2-4 record when he loses a fumble.
The best game in Mathews’ career was against the Denver Broncos during the 2010 season. Mathews had 26 attempts, 120 yards and three touchdowns. While Mathews had two fumbles that game, none were recovered by Denver.
San Diego will play the Kansas City Chiefs today at 10:00 AM PDT. In his career against Kansas City, Mathews has 70 rushing attempts, 298 yards and three touchdowns in four games. Mathews averages 4.3 yards per attempt against KC which is below his career average of 4.6 yards per attempt, but he averages almost a TD per game which is above his career average as he has 13 TDs in 27 games.
Mathews needs to have a big game today against the Chiefs to silence his critics. Mathews needs this game for himself and for San Diego’s quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers has four touchdowns and three interceptions and his 6.7 yards per pass attempt rank 25th out of 32 quarterbacks in the NFL.
As a team, San Diego averages 3.9 yards per attempt which ranks 14th out of 32 teams, while they rank 18th in yards per game at about 99.
Mathews was at 4.9 yards per attempt last season and if he is anything close to this today, it will open up the field for San Diego to improve their pass attack. I expect Mathews to have a big game today which will lead to a Chargers win.