Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle in the first preseason game for the San Diego Chargers on August 9, 2012. Mathews missed the first two games of the 2012 NFL season and returned against the Atlanta Falcons.
Mathews started that game, had 10 rushing attempts, 44 rushing yards and fumbled on Atlanta’s seven yard line with the Chargers trailing 6-0. Atlanta scored a touchdown on the next possession to go up 13-0.
This, along with the fact that Mathews had 11 fumbles in 27 games, led to problems.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said that Mathews would be released or traded if he continued to fumble while head coach Norv Turner said that Mathews’ attempts could be limited.
Mathews did not start in weeks four and five, but he led San Diego in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints last Sunday.
According to Michael Gehlken of utsandiego.com, Turner said “Every time he has adversity, every time he has a setback, he comes back stronger. He’s done that since he’s been here. Every time everyone wants to count him out, he comes back and he’s better.”
Turner continued to express his thoughts on Mathews by saying “He’s just a mentally tough guy. When he’s on and he’s right, he’s awfully good.”
Jackie Battle is listed as San Diego’s number one running back on the depth chart, but Sunday’s game against New Orleans showed that this may not matter when it comes to attempts.
San Diego will play the Denver Broncos on October 15th at 5:30 PM PDT. In three career games against Denver, Mathews has 72 rushing attempts, 382 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Even if Mathews does not start on Monday, I expect him to get most of San Diego’s rushing attempts.