The San Diego Chargers may have disappointed us yet again, but no one can say that Ryan Mathews’ performance on Sunday was a disappointment. Mathews has now strung together a few good games and finally appears to have turned the corner and is playing like the guy the Chargers need him to be.
Despite a banged-up, reshuffled offensive line, the Chargers and Mathews continued their newfound running game against the Miami Dolphins. Mathews ran for a season-high 127 yards on 19 carries, 10 yards shy of his career high. Mathews also ripped off a 51-yard run, the longest of his career, proving to have the big-play ability that he has sort of lacked over his four-year career.
Since returning from a concussion that knocked him out against the Oakland Raiders in Week 5, Mathews appears to have his head on straight, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and delivering three 100-yard rushing games in the last five. More importantly though is that he has only fumbled once the entire season, all the way back in Week 2, and hasn’t missed a game to injury all year.
Mathews will need to remain on the top of his game to help control the clock and keep opposing offenses (and San Diego’s horrific defense) off the field. Though still playing well, Philip Rivers’ numbers aren’t as gaudy as they were in the beginning of the season, and still should benefit with a strong running game to support his aerial attack.
If the Chargers could only figure out how to convert in the redzone, the Chargers offense could be nearly unstoppable with the ground game and passing game being equally dominant between the 20s. Mathews’ performance may not have resulted in a win on Sunday, but is a start that could benefit the Bolts through the final six games if he can keep it up.