Welcome back to NFL relevancy Ryan Mathews.
After being shut out of 100-yard rushing games since December 11, 2011, San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews finally broke the century mark with 102 yards rushing on 22 carries on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
Mathews looked confident and decisive against the Colts, picking the right holes and even churning out extra yardage after first contact. His performance was certainly a main reason why the Chargers pulled the upset win. The Chargers used long drives to use up the clock, give the defense a rest, and keep Andrew Luck on the sidelines, who never seemed to get into a rhythm. Without a successful running game, this wouldn’t have been possible.
A lot of his success on Monday night can be attributed to a healthier offensive line and a great game by left tackle King Dunlap, who sat out the last two games due to a concussion. The mammoth left tackle, who’s always been a better pass blocker than run blocker, seems to have figured out both in his first season in San Diego. He easily put together his best game of the season against Indianapolis.
Of course, Mathews wasn’t all perfect. While trying to run out the clock, the Chargers ran Mathews to the left, who went out of bounds after a short gain, stopping the clock. Nick Novak bailed Mathews out by making a 50-yard field goal, stretching the lead to 10, but it’s that type of bone-headed move that can cost the team a victory in a close game. Mathews isn’t new to these types of mistakes that can cost the team victories. Untimely fumbles, particularly near the goal line, has become a specialty of his.
It should be noted that the Colts run defense is nothing to write home about – they rank 31st in the league giving up 132 yards on the ground per game – but still, Mathews’ overall performance was promising and can be a confidence booster moving forward.