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Week 1 vs. KC
Rushing: 19 / 75 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 2 / 0 on 2 targets
Mathews came out of the gate looking like the bell cow that FF owners were hoping he would be. He ran very hard and on the inside very often (20 total touches), providing a steady and solid (but largely unspectacular) production. Mathews had a costly fumble in the 2nd quarter but it did not deter Norv Turner from continuing to call his number. Surprisingly though, Mathews was completely absent on 2 late drives, riding the pine while Sproles and Tolbert saw some action. All in all...a very blue collar effort.
Week 2 vs. JAX
Rushing: 5 / 26 / 0
Receiving: 2 / 29 / 0 on 2 targets
Mathews looked good early on, hitting the hole hard and showing a good burst. His long run went for fifteen up the middle, and also added a long reception of twelve yards. He came close to scoring when he showed a nice effort from the five yard line, lunging forward as he tried to cross the plane. But he was taken down just shy, and Mike Tolbert scored on the next play. Mathews looked much quicker on the dry turf than he did last week in the torrential rain of Kansas City. However, it wasn't all good news for Mathews. Like last week, he also coughed up the football as he was being tackled. Making matters worse, he had his ankle rolled up on and he was down for several moments before limping off the field. He was eventually carted to the locker room. He was able to jog back out to the sideline and looked ready to go back in, but with the game quickly getting out of hand, HC Norv Turner opted to hold him out. Several things can be taken from the game that largely detract from the positive of Mathews looking good early on. 1) Mathews is going to have to protect the football better, 2) he may be banged-up heading into next week, and 3) Mike Tolbert may have a role as the goal line rusher regardless of the health of Mathews. Tolbert looked extremely strong after Mathews' exit, and outrushed Darren Sproles 16 carries to 5, so we at least know who the likely handcuff is to Mathews should he miss an extended period of time at any point.
Week 4 vs. ARI
Rushing: 9 / 55 / 1
Receiving: 1 / 13 / 0 on 1 targets
Mathews was supposedly not quite 100% going into this game, so Mike Tolbert saw the majority of the first team work. Well if this was Mathews at less than 100%, then he's got a great career ahead of him. Showing no ill effects of his sprained ankle, Mathews ran hard every time he touched the ball. He hit the hole, was able to bounce it outside, pretty much whatever the team needed from him. He showed nice hands on a floating screen pass, and showed an all-around ability later for his first career NFL touchdown run. Following an Arizona fumble, Mathews took the very next carry to the outside. He beat the defender to the corner, shook off a couple of weak tacklers at the five yard line, and showed nice agility in diving for the pylon at the end of the run. He later turned a simple run off left tackle into a 20 yard gain by cutting back against the grain of the defense. It remains to be seen how the Chargers will divvy up the running back share moving forward, but this game has at least got to given them confidence in Mathews' health.
Week 5 vs. OAK
Rushing: 9 / 59 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 0 / 0 on 1 targets
Matthews had a solid but unspectacular day on the ground. He wasn't asked to do much in the passing game and stuck to mostly inside runs for tough yards. He had a few decent explosive runs to the outside, beat the defender to the corner and turned upfield, but was mostly held somewhat in check. San Diego really leaned on the pass in this game like most, so it's tough for Matthews to really get into a rhythm on the ground
Week 6 vs. STL
Rushing: 12 / 64 / 0
Receiving: 3 / 12 / 0 on 4 targets
Mathews has looked better than Mike Tolbert for a couple of weeks now, but until this game he didn't see a vast majority of the work. He showed great balance and strength on an early carry up the middle. He was met at the point of attack for what should have been a four yard loss. Instead, he backed up, regrouped, and turned it up the left side and toward the sideline for a first down gain. He hit the holes hard, and made a nice play in the passing game in picking up a first down off a nice catch and run in the flat.
Week 7 vs. NE
Rushing: 8 / 15 / 0
Receiving: 2 / 7 / 0 on 3 targets
Mathews took a huge step backwards in his attempt to become the team's featured back. He very much looked like a rookie in this game, averaging less than two yards per carry and making a critical error in the passing game. He dropped a very short pass that would have gone for a first down, but he took his eyes off the pass. He tried turning upfield before securing the ball, and the Chargers drive was stalled. Making matters worse, he once again gave way to Mike Tolbert on the only goal line situation the Chargers encountered, and Tolbert was able to convert for the score.
Week 8 vs. TEN
Rushing: 15 / 43 / 1
Receiving: 3 / 11 / 0 on 3 targets
Mathews had the highest total number of touches of anyone on the Chargers, but he wasn't terribly productive with those touches. He averaged fewer than three yards per carry, and again gave way to Mike Tolbert when the Chargers had their first goal line opportunity. Mathews did manage to score later on off a toss from nine yards out, showing nice speed and a quick burst to the edge. He also displayed excellent strength and balance on his first catch of a the game, a play that probably should have gone for no yardage but instead ended up going for 13. The play prior to the Tolbert goal line run, Mathews had a head of steam towards the goal line and ran with determination, but when the team came up short of the end zone, Tolbert was called upon. And for the fifth straight game, he converted for the score. As long as that keeps happening, Mathews' touchdown opportunities will be few and far between. Midway through the third quarter, he was down and in pain and left the game. He was being checked out on the bench by the trainer, but everything seemed to check out okay since he went back into the game when Tolbert left with a mild injury of his own.
Week 9 vs. HOU
Rushing: 9 / 42 / 0
Receiving: 2 / 18 / 0 on 2 targets
Once again, Mathews looked good running the football in the first half. And once again, he ruined a lot of that by coughing the ball up on a late fumble. And even worse, he once again left the game with an injury. He ran strong early on, fighting through tacklers repeatedly and pushing ahead for extra yardage. When he was given room to run, he was he was hitting the hole hard. And when he wasn't given holes, he was making them himself. Mike Tolbert, Jacob Hester, and Darren Sproles were getting only token work with Mathews carrying the load, and he was even getting some looks in the passing game. On one run, he went off tackle to the right, stiff armed the defender, and took off down the sideline for a nice gain. But he re-injured his ankle at some point late in the first half, and walked off to the locker room prior to halftime. He never returned to the game, and no updates were given on his condition.
Week 14 vs. KC
Rushing: 16 / 65 / 1
Receiving: 1 / 6 / 0 on 2 targets
After missing three games due to injury, it was tough to know what to expect from Mathews in this one. And while he may have had a handful of better statistical performances to date, he has never looked quite as impressive as he looked in this game. He started on the opening possession, pounding ahead without reservation and moving the pile with regularity. Mathews rarely went down on first contact, and always seemed to be willing and able to fight for the extra yard on every play. In the second half, he really showed tremendous skills in turning minimal losses into positive gains. Every time the Chiefs thought they had him down, he managed to barely keep his knee off the ground or put a hand into the turf to hold himself up. Despite being hit and dragged by several defenders, there was a strength to his running that was mostly unseen prior to this game. On his touchdown run, he displayed tremendous power and balance. He was hit by a defender almost immediately, but put his hand on the ground briefly to regain his composure. After propping himself up, he then turned on a burst from a dead stop and hustled into the end zone for the score from 15 yards out. The game was already well within reach by that point, but it was one of Mathews' more impressive runs of the season, and a sure sign of positivity moving forward as he closes out his rookie campaign.
Week 15 vs. SF
Rushing: 17 / 56 / 0
A week after a very impressive showing, Mathews again split duty with Mike Tolbert in this one. There weren't a ton of holes early on, but Mathews kept pounding and eventually found them. His best run came on a stretch play to the outside. He started out wide to his left, made a nice cut-back to the middle, and showed excellent balance to pick up the nice gain. He wasn't given any goal line opportunities, but that has been a trend that has gone on with Mathews and Tolbert since very early on in the season.
Week 16 vs. CIN
Rushing: 12 / 55 / 1
Receiving: 3 / 28 / 0 on 3 targets
Mathews was thrust into the feature back role when Mike Tolbert went down and performed well. He didn't find much room to run, but when he burst to the second level in Bengals territory, he broke a tackle and turned on the speed for a 24-yard TD. Mathews was stoned on a dive for the goal line earlier in the game and didn't convert a second shot on third and goal or he could have had a two TD game. Mathews also flashed nice natural hands as a receiver and good balance in the open field. He could have had another long run in the second half, but he slipped in the open field. Mathews's 2010 has been injury-riddled, but he is finishing strong.
Week 17 vs. DEN
Rushing: 26 / 120 / 3
Receiving: 3 / 19 / 0 on 3 targets
Mathews finally showed why the Chargers traded up to #12 to land him in the draft. He ran with great initial burst and urgency, but still used his superior vision to find lanes. He broke numerous tackles and displayed terrific balance and feel around his feet. Mathews did fumble twice, but the Chargers recovered both. His first TD utilized almost all of his skills, and the third one was pure speed to the corner and down the sideline on a 4th and 1 carry. He also had good hands on his receptions and flashed some nice open field moves. Mathews is underrated heading into the offseason.