RB Ryan Mathews - Free Agent
|6-0, 218||Born: 5-1-1987||College: Fresno State||Drafted: Round 1, pick 2010|
2016 Week 1 vs CLE (22 / 77 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews was relatively disappointing in this game even though his overall stat line may not reflect it. Mathews really struggled to get anything going against a Browns defense that has had trouble stopping the run over the last few years and the preseason. Mathews long of the day was a seven-yard carry. The Browns were loading the box forcing the rookie Carson Wentz to beat them, and that's exactly what happened this week. One key thing to note is that Mathews did not have a target in this game as he was staying in to help protect Carson Wentz when they were passing. While pass catching is not a huge part of his game, he does average two receptions per game throughout his career.
2016 Week 2 vs CHI (9 / 32 / 2 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
In a 29-14 game, we would have liked to see Ryan Mathews have more of a role in this game especially after he had 22 carries last week. The Eagles favored Darren Sproles on trying to rush the ball outside the tackles. Neither Sproles nor Mathews were successful in this game as neither had over 3.6 yards per carry. This is now a trend for the Eagles as Mathews has struggled so far this season in terms of carrying for significant yards. What Mathews has done is shown that he is the goal line back as he was able to convert two of his nine carries for touchdowns inside the five yard-line.
2016 Week 3 vs PIT (2 / -5 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews rushed two times for negative five yards and did not contribute very much on the field. He was out-touched by both Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, and there are questions about whether or not he is injured as he has been limited with his ankle. Mathews is the lead back when healthy and is not in jeopardy of losing that role. Look for him to bounce back after the bye week as he will have time to get healthy.
2016 Week 5 vs DET (11 / 42 / 0 rush, 5 / 5 / 33 / 1 rec)
Mathews was largely bottled up in the run game, only running the ball 11 times for 42 yards with a long of 10. He played a much bigger role in the passing game than usual, pulling in all 5 of his targets for 33 yards and a touchdown. It is normally Darren Sproles getting the looks on passing downs, and nice to see Mathews expanding his role. The touchdown came on a 1-yard catch at the goal line, adding a new wrinkle into his expanding role. Look for Mathews to feast on the Redskins 31st ranked rush defense next week as they have allowed 8 rushing touchdowns in the early going this season.
2016 Week 6 vs WAS (9 / 60 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews was one of the lone Eagles who found success in Washington today, but he only rushed the ball 9 times for 60 yards today. The majority of the yards came on one big 22-yard rush, but it is interesting to note that he only touched the ball 9 times and did not have a single target in the passing game. This seems to be the story of the year for Mathews who had 22 carries in week one, but has only had 40 carries in the next five games averaging eight carries per game. It is going to be hard to trust this running game going forward as they just are not committed to the run as other teams are.
2016 Week 7 vs MIN (14 / 56 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 27 / 0 rec)
Volume continues to be the key thing for Ryan Mathews as this was his fifth game in a row under 15 carries. Mathews was largely unproductive in this game on the ground as outside of a nice 20-yard carry he only averaged 2.7 yards per carry. The concern here is that Doug Pederson called Mathews out after the game for fumbling issues, so if these keep up, we may see a shift in carries or a change at the running back position. Mathews fumbled in a key four-minute scenario as he was trying to stay in bounds and fight for extra yardage.
2016 Week 8 vs DAL (4 / 10 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
Mathews was out-touched by Darren Sproles this week, and for good reason, as he was largely ineffective. He did vulture a touchdown away from Sproles on the one-yard line, but that was his only real contribution to the game. Mathews only touched the ball five times all game and continues his downward trend. He got the ball on the one-yard line because he is the bigger back and Sproles needed a breather after helping the Eagles get all the way down the field. Coming into the season Matthews was supposed to be the feature back but has yet to live up to that billing. Matthews looks to get back on track against a top 10 rush defense in New York but will struggle to find room against a team allowing only 3.6 yards per carry.
2016 Week 9 vs NYG (5 / 15 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews did not get many touches again this week but was able to cap off a big play from Wentz to Bryce Treggs for a touchdown. With the Eagles trailing for the entire game and Sproles getting the number one back touches, Mathews was used sparingly. This continues the trend of recent weeks and looks to go on for the rest of the season. The lone highlight came on the 8-yard touchdown where he bounced it to the outside and went in untouched.
2016 Week 10 vs ATL (19 / 109 / 2 rush, 2 / 2 / 30 / 0 rec)
Mathews was finally used as the feature back, receiving 19 touches and racking up over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mathews also converted a 2-point conversion taking the ball right up the middle after Atlanta was flagged for defensive holding on the first attempt. Mathews took the ball in from 4 and 5 yards out and had a 20-yard reception and 21-yard rush on the day to set up scores. After being used sparingly for the majority of the season, Mathews was finally utilized like a feature back and put up the numbers the Eagles expected when bringing him in.
2016 Week 11 vs SEA (7 / 31 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews came out of the gate as the lead running back and was finding some success against a tough Seattle run defense. Mathews ripped off a nice 18-yard gain around the left end early in the first quarter but had his day cut short due to injury. Early reports indicate the Mathews has a sprained MCL and will miss extended time. The injury further complicates an already murky running back situation.
2016 Week 14 vs WAS (15 / 60 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews came back after injury and lead the Eagles in rushing this week. The big back has yet to really establish himself this year after dealing with several injuries and inconsistent work distribution for the Eagles backfield. Mathews had a nice 21-yard rush off the left end to help set up a Philadelphia field goal attempt. The ball was later fumbled on the snap and no kick was attempted. This just speaks to the overall kind of day the Eagles had. Mathews was not targeted in the passing game today despite 46 attempts from Wentz. Mathews will face a very tough Ravens defense next week but needs to put up better numbers if he looks to factor into the Eagles long term plans.
2016 Week 15 vs BAL (20 / 128 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
The Eagles finally showed a commitment to both the run game and Ryan Mathews today. With Daren Sproles sidelined due to a concussion suffered last week, Mathews was the clear lead back today. He eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark and even gave the Eagles a brief lead early in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run right up the middle, and ensuing two-point conversion. This was only the second time all season he managed to break 100-yards but was also only the second time he received 20+ carries. Mathews has dealt with some injuries and sporadic playing time all year but should see a spike in his workload with more performances like this one. The big running back did most of his damage between the tackles today, but still did not play a big role in the passing game. Mathews has two tough games ahead with the Giants and Cowboys but has a chance to show that he was worth the investment.
2016 Week 16 vs NYG (18 / 46 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 16 / 0 rec)
Coming off one of his best games of the season, Ryan Mathews had a chance to cement his status in Philadelphia for next season. He got off to a hot start with a rush of 17 yards. Unfortunately, Mathews herniated a disk in his neck and is done for the season. Mathews played the majority of the game but did not see a carry in the fourth quarter after he was stuffed on a 4th and 1 at the end of the third. It has been a largely disappointing season for Mathews and it looks as if it will be the Darren Sproles show for the rest of the season.
2015 Week 1 vs ATL (3 / 4 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 24 / 0 rec)
What the box score doesn't say about Ryan Mathews is how penalties got in the way of his evening. He was the focus of a few big screen passes that ended up being called back thanks to holding by one of his teammates. The box score also doesn't describe how he invites defenders to hit him, and then pushes them back, just as he did on his one touchdown run of the night. He did have a key drop in the first half that could have resulted in a long play - maybe even a score. But he recovered and made the most of the snaps he was limited to.
2015 Week 3 vs NYJ (25 / 108 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 20 / 1 rec)
Ryan Mathews was the star of the show. Spelling an injured DeMarco Murray, who was labeled inactive before kickoff, Mathews made a case for a bigger workload going forward. He displayed an impressive combination of decisiveness and power, battling for positive gains and creating yards when his blockers failed. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry in the first half and was the focal point of a short-field offense. After bobbling a few passes that could have gone for big plays, he redeemed himself with a beautiful wheel route for a score that put the Eagles up 24-0 going into halftime. One the dust settled, Mathews was asked to close out the game as the Eagles went into clock control mode. He finished with the most carries he has had since Week 14 of the 2013 season, and averaged 4.3 yards per tote in the process. Should Murray miss more time, or even if he doesn't, Mathews wont' be forgotten in this offense and has all kinds of flex appeal.
2015 Week 4 vs WAS (5 / 20 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The most notable point of interest regarding Ryan Mathews' Sunday was how he barely saw the field. Even after stepping up and putting together a great performance last week in the absence of Murray, Mathews was used sparingly. This had a lot to do with the Eagles playing from behind the entire game and the ground attack stymied by the defense. From a yards-per-carry standpoint, he was the most effective. But that effectiveness won't translate to future success if the offense doesn't provide opportunities.
2015 Week 5 vs NO (8 / 73 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 23 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews saw his first action during the Eagles third offensive series. He immediately looked just as good as Murray by pounding his way to large gains. After his first two carries netted 23 yards, Mathews caught a short pass up the sideline, broke a pair a tackles and spun his way to 13-yard gain. His combination of power and speed is why Murray's job will never be secure, and part of why Mathews ranks fourth in yards after contact per attempt. He averaged 9.1 yards per carry in this contest, which isn't a sustainable number, but indicates that the offensive line is finally making things happen, and Mathews is qualified to be a lead back for any team in the league. He'll continue to produce for the Eagles, even if he doesn't get the bulk of the workload. Only Murray has seen more red zone looks (15) than Mathew's seven (they have three touchdowns apiece).
2015 Week 6 vs NYG (9 / 40 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
With DeMarco Murray doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, Ryan Mathews only logged 10 touches. But he looked powerful and decisive in limited attempts and averaged 4.4 yards per carry while spelling Murray. This offense is setup to feature a pair of running backs; Mathews fits more of a lead/early game back and Murray looks better suited to close things out. Both players should see plenty of work going forward as Bradford is asked to do less.
2015 Week 7 vs CAR (6 / 97 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 24 / 0 rec)
Responsible for the only touchdown of the day for the Eagles, Ryan Mathews is making a case to be the starter. Granted, a big chunk of his stat line came on one big play, but it was a heck of play whereby he started right then cut straight ahead, blasted out of the backfield and weaved his way to a 63-yard score. Even if you remove that play he still averaged 6.3 yards per carry and chipped in as a pass-catcher with a 20-yard catch in the first quarter. Everything about his game meshes perfectly with what Chip Kelly asks of his offensive players: speed, agility and strength. All he needs is more opportunities.
2015 Week 9 vs DAL (11 / 67 / 1 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews played the fewest snaps of all running backs on Sunday night but, once again, looked like he might be the best of the bunch. His first three carries netted him only two yards, but deep in the second quarter he took advantage of a heavy offensive line formation on a cut-and-run counter to the left that went for 21 yards. A few plays later, he showed off his agility with a 12-yard sweep around the corner. He wouldn't see another carry until midway through the third quarter - a left sweep where he, once again, displayed an impressive mix of balance and speed on his way to six yard touchdown. It's worth wondering what kind of season he would have if not for DeMarco Murray being signed (note that Mathews was here first). In a limited role, he looked like the better of the two backs Sunday night. Removing the four yard loss early in the game that came on a bad snap, seven of his 10 carries went for at least four yards. He wasn't a factor in the passing game, seeing just one target which he dropped, but looks fully capable of being a lead back for any team.
2015 Week 10 vs MIA (8 / 18 / 1 rush, 3 / 2 / 22 / 0 rec)
Late in the third quarter, Ryan Mathews was pulled from the game with an apparent concussion and wouldn't return. His day was saved by a first quarter one-yard touchdown run, but was otherwise uneventful. The Eagles running attack was held in check for most of the afternoon.
2015 Week 14 vs BUF (13 / 38 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 4 / 0 rec)
Active for his first game since Week 10, and with some uncertainty regarding DeMarco Murray's workload, Ryan Mathews chipped in 15 total touche - more than any other Eagles' running back. Unfortunately, those touches were met with poor run-blocking, and he wasn't used in any goal line packages, which were a rarity for the Eagles in this game. He ended up playing fewer snaps than both Murray and Sproles on his way to unspectacular box score.
2015 Week 16 vs WAS (4 / 5 / 1 rush, 3 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews handled the ball just six times but accounted for six points. He plunged into the end zone on the Eagles opening series for one-yard score after a defensive pass interference put the Eagles on the goal line. His only other highlight was a catch-and-run for 11 yards on a check-down. He didn't see a single touch once the game was out of reach.
2015 Week 17 vs NYG (4 / 11 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews was barely used in this contest, despite getting the first crack at carries. His best play of the day a catch and run in which he bullied a few defenders on his way to a solid gain - was erased by an offensive tripping penalty called on the right tackle. Seven of his 11 rushing yards came on one run. He had the fourth fewest touches among Eagles' running backs on the day.
2014 Week 1 vs ARI (12 / 40 / 1 rush, 2 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
Mathews tried to pick up where he left off last season, totaling sixty yards and a score. The counting stats aren't all that impressive but that was due more in part to a lack of use than anything he did wrong. Mathews actually looked very good on the rare occasions his number was called. The Chargers had a tough time establishing the run game. with Mathews fighting for every yard he did end up getting. He got the call on a fourth down run, which he barely converted. Early in the second half, the Chargers looked to be gaining control of the game and Mathews was a big reason why. He scored on a very impressive 20-yard handoff up the left side. He broke through the first level of defenders with relative ease, and once he got to the second level there was only one man to beat. After beating the safety following a weak arm tackle attempt, Mathews simply raced the rest of the way to get into the end zone. He consistently beat his man to the edge and looked very good both running and catching the ball, but it should be noted that RB Danny Woodhead was the back in the game on San Diego's last gasp drive at the end of the fourth quarter.
2014 Week 2 vs SEA (11 / 31 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 26 / 0 rec)
Mathews was slow and steady (not too much emphasis on 'slow', but some), and made very little progress against a tough D. He did have a short TD run called back, which was the only play of his that really stood out. Mathews made one cut and showed a surprising burst of speed to get outside. In the fourth quarter, just when he seemed to be picking up steam, Mathews fumbled a handoff and injured his knee on same play and did not return. It was actually his second fumble of the day; the first one was knocked out by a defender. The latest is that he will be out for 4-5 weeks.
2014 Week 11 vs OAK (16 / 70 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
Returning from a knee injury suffered in Week 2, the Chargers wasted no time in getting Mathews back involved in the offense, handing him the ball on the first offensive play of the game. Soon he was getting his regular workload, and late in the first half he was involved in a play that really took the shackles off. He found a hole, met up with the defensive back, and held nothing back. A big collision after a 9-yard gain showed that he was back and got that first big hit out of the way. The San Diego line didn't do him very many favors in terms of opening up holes, but he had very few negative runs, and hit the hole hard when he got the ball. Late in the game, he hit the pile and bounced off. He regrouped and took it up the left side for a nice 8-yard gain. His big gain of the game was a 20-yard scamper, and it was vintage Mathews as he ran around and through several defenders on his way. While Mathews had success running the ball, backup Branden Oliver averaged less than three yards per carry, suggesting that the rushing split could grow larger in the ensuing weeks as Mathews gets his legs under him.
2014 Week 12 vs STL (12 / 105 / 1 rush, 2 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
Mathews had just 14 offensive touches in the game, but he did a whole lot more with his workload than he did a week ago. He seemingly ran with more confidence in this game than he did a week ago. The Chargers particularly had a lot of success running draws off of delayed handoffs via Mathews, with most of his work getting done between the tackles. His touchdown run came off of a draw, and featured him breaking through a handful of potential tacklers before bursting across the goal line. He looked as good as he has in years, running around and through Saint Louis defenders all game long. His biggest gain of the day was a 32-yard scamper up the left side after his offensive line had opened a gaping hole. In fairness, the Chargers got away with a hold on the play that enabled that run to occur. Mathews didn't have a ton of action in the passing game, but he did show some nice lateral quickness on a catch out in space. He juked the first defender that engaged him before turning upfield for a first down, demonstrating that the knee injury he suffered in Week 2 may be completely behind him. Unfortunately, he left the game with a shoulder injury and was reported as being questionable to return. He did come back in just before the two minute warning on the potential game-clinching drive, getting a carry and fighting for extra yardage as he hit the pile (so the shoulder issue appears to be a minor one).
2014 Week 13 vs BAL (13 / 38 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
Forty yards and a 3.3 YPC average are nothing to write home about, and neither is 12 rushing attempts. But it wasn't the workload or the effectiveness that mattered so much in this game; it was how much of a share of the workload he received. While 13 total touches in a game isn't impressive in and of itself, the fact that the other running backs on the roster combined for just 3 means that Mathews now owns the job 100%. Both Branden Oliver and Donald Brown have been relegated to nothing more than backup, change-of-pace options. Early on, Mathews didn't find very many holes at all. He ran with power and fought for whatever yardage was there, but there just wasn't much to be had. As the passing game opened things up a bit more in the second half, the running game had a bit more room as well. Unfortunately for Mathews, the team trailed for all but 38 seconds of this game so there wasn't much running to be done. Mathews salvaged his fantasy owners with a late rushing touchdown. Taking a handoff up the left side, TE Antonio Gates opened a gaping hole and Mathews burst through it for the score. He nearly had an earlier score, but dropped a possible touchdown on a slant over the middle at the Baltimore 10-yard line.
2014 Week 14 vs NE (11 / 44 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)
Mathews made a lot happen on his own, because the offensive line didn't really open a ton of holes. There was some space at times, but a lot of the yardage Mathews attained, he fought for himself. He found the seams wherever they were, slithering through when the opportunity presented itself but more often than not just banging into defenders to fight for extra yardage. He had a nice second down run late in the first half and had just started bouncing to the outside when a New England defender attempted to trip him. Contact was made with Mathews' shin, and he was soon seen limping around on the San Diego sideline. When the second half opened, Mathews was no on the field. But he came back on the second series after halftime, showing no ill effects.
2013 Week 1 vs HOU (13 / 33 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 22 / 1 rec)
Mathews' night began as well as possible, as he leaked out to the sideline on a wheel route up the sideline, resulting in a diving touchdown reception. QB Philip Rivers led him perfectly up the sideline, and Mathews did the rest by maintaining concentration to remain inbounds and haul in the pass. On the ground, Mathews looked more like the 2011 version than the 2012 one. He appeared very tentative and hesitant to really hit the hole hard last season, but in this game he constantly hit the hold hard and fell forward. He showed nice patience going off-tackle on one run, and showing power when the situation called for it. The San Diego run blocking was effective, particularly on a fourth down run up the gut. Mathews was met at the line by All-Pro J.J. Watt and was bumped backwards. But he maintained his footing, regrouped, and powered ahead for the conversion. About the only negative aspect of Mathews' night was the fact that new coach Mike McCoy appears to plan on using Mathews in much the same way former coach Norv Turner did. Mathews came off the field on third downs, was out of the game for entire series at a time, and did not see any action when San Diego was on the goal line. If his usage pattern doesn't change soon, his upside will be limited and he will not get enough opportunities to rejoin the league's elite tier.
2013 Week 2 vs PHI (16 / 73 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
Mathews looked strong running the ball, even if the results weren't spectacular. The pace of the game dictated that each team's offense was moving the ball almost at will, so the running games kind of took a back seat in the second half. The offensive line gave him lots of running room in the early going though, and he did a great job of repeatedly picking up the edge by beating the contain defender to the outside. As per the preseason plan, Mathews came off the field on most passing downs for Danny Woodhead. Late in the first half, Mathews took a simple handoff off the left side and had the ball poked away from behind. He has had issues with ball security throughout his career, so that combined with the lack of receiving work is not something Mathews owners want to hear. But the team went right back to him to open the second half following the fumble, showing that they haven't lost faith in him just yet. He also got the call on an enormous third and 1 carry late in the game, a play on which he powered up the middle to pick up the first down.
2013 Week 3 vs TEN (16 / 58 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
It won't show up in the stat sheet, but Mathews ran hard and was pretty effective with the limited room he was given to run. The San Diego offensive line did him no favors, and every one of the 58 rushing yards he picked up was earned the hard way. He took some big hits in the game, and made something happen out of nothing on just about every one of his rushing attempts. If Mathews owners have one complaint, it is in the way the team is distributing the workload. Both Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown were expected to have a role on the team, but it has come at the expense of Mathews and has also come frequently on early down situations. More importantly, he exited the game on the team's lone trip down to the goal line area (Ronnie Brown came in for the 1-yard touchdown). And the commentators made mention several times of defenders just trying to rip the ball out of the hands of Mathews, who has been prone to fumbling in his career so far. He did get some short yardage work, once in the first half on a third and one carry. He looked a bit tentative to hit the hole and ended up getting stonewalled by the defense. But late in the game as San Diego tried to run the clock down, it was Mathews and not the other two who was on the field. He even converted another third and short handoff on a toss to the left side. But if his workload is going to be maxed at sixteen touches in a close game against a non-elite team like Tennessee, it will be tough for him to move up to a higher tier of back this season.
2013 Week 4 vs DAL (19 / 62 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 41 / 0 rec)
Mathews had a game-high 23 touches in this contest, although it was a quiet 23 touches. He totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage, but his longest play was a 14-yard reception and his longest run went for just seven yards. More importantly, he was upstaged by fellow running back Danny Woodhead, who found the end zone twice. Mathews continues to run with a very physical style with some strong inside running, but his usage is fairly inconsistent. He was never in the game on third downs, but he also came out on a number of second down plays too. The offensive line is also having trouble opening up very many running lanes for him, which means all the yardage he is getting is very well-earned. It is important to note that with the Chargers trying to run the clock out at the end of the game, it was Mathews who was getting the carries to salt away the lead.
2013 Week 5 vs OAK (3 / 8 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews left the game late in the first half with a concussion. However, even before the concussion he wasn't getting a great deal of action. Danny Woodhead has seemingly supplanted him as the lead back in the team's committee of running backs, even getting a goal line carry in this game.
2013 Week 6 vs IND (22 / 102 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Coming off of a concussion and with Danny Woodhead running so well, it was assumed that Mathews would be eased back in and might see a somewhat limited workload. Instead, he had a season high 22 carries (more than twice as many as Woodhead). And not only that, but Mathews responded with his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season. Mathews looked good in getting to that 100, powering up the middle and hitting the hole time after time. The great majority of his attempts came on power rushes up the middle, and he fearlessly lowered his head into the defenders on multiple occasions. Mathews has a reputation for being injury prone, but a large part of that may have to do with the fact that he runs with such a physical style. On a couple of occasions, the formation called for Mathews to take it to the outside and those were typically the times that he picked up greater chunks of yardage. Of course, that could be due in part to having softened up the defense by powering everything up the middle beforehand. Early in the second half, Chargers beat writer Michael Gehlken reported that he saw Mathews gingerly jogging to the sideline and being checked out by the trainers, but he was back in the game two plays later and getting carries shortly thereafter (with no mention from the television reporters either). With the Chargers trying to run the clock down late in the game, it was Mathews who was in getting the calls. He mostly looked good even with the defense knowing he was getting the ball, particularly on one handoff up the right side that he burst into the open field for a near game-clinching first down run. But on the very next play, he made a very boneheaded decision by running out of bounds on a handoff up the left side. He should have just fallen down to remain inbounds and keep the clock moving, and the gaffe enabled the Colts to save a timeout. Despite an angry head coach, Mathews remained in the game and got the call on the very next play, picking up four yards up the middle.
2013 Week 7 vs JAX (21 / 110 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews went over 100 rushing yards for the second consecutive week, and made it look easy in this one. The San Diego offensive line, despite suffering a handful of additional injuries, managed to open a couple of gaping holes for Mathews, who repeatedly took advantage. His very first touch of the game went off left tackle and picked up ten yards. On the next few runs, the Chargers had a tough time opening up very many holes for him but he continued to run hard. Eventually that hard worked paid off, as the Jaguar defense eventually got worn down. Similarly to last week, Mathews took a couple of handoffs that were designed cut-backs where he picked up large chunks of yardage. He didn't get an enormous workload, but every time he got the ball he ran with power and explosiveness. One of the biggest concerns of Mathews owners this season was his lack of activity in the red zone and in the passing game. While he didn't factor into the passing game in this one (and Danny Woodhead did get the call on a short handoff for a touchdown), Mathews still got the call on a handoff off right tackle from the 3-yard line. He bowled over a couple of defenders and powered his way into the end zone for his first score of the season. Finally, with the Chargers trying to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter, Mathews was the player in there to wind it down. Danny Woodhead As usual, the majority of Woodhead's production came in the short passing game. He did get a significant workload on the ground, even scoring a rushing touchdown from short yardage, but more than half of his yardage came through the air. His biggest pass play was a designed screen to pick up 26 yards on 2nd and 20. There was some excellent blocking down the field, and as usual Woodhead did a terrific job of reading his blocks. On the lone scoring play, he actually nearly scored on the previous play. He hit the hole hard up the middle and appeared to be headed for the end zone, but ended up getting popped just as he reached the five. He was given the call on the very next play, and dove over the pile and into the end zone for the score. He nearly added a second score later on in the first half, but was stuffed right at the doorstep of the end zone.
2013 Week 9 vs WAS (7 / 34 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mathews was effective in the early going, running strong up the middle and picking up chunks of yardage at a time. On one play in particular, a would-be tackler had his ankle wrapped up but Mathews managed to step out of the tackle and shake free for extra yardage. Oddly enough though, despite the fact that the game remained relatively close throughout, the Chargers rarely went to Mathews again after halftime. Danny Woodhead got the call in nearly all situations, both through the air and on the ground. There was no mention of injury to Mathews, and no reports as to why he wasn't in the game. Late in the fourth quarter as San Diego drove for a potential game-winning score, Woodhead was the back for nearly the entire drive. After getting stuffed on a goal line attempt, Mathews did briefly come into the game. But San Diego opted to run a fade pattern to TE Antonio Gates, and Mathews was back out of the game on the very next play. After back to back 100-yard efforts, it was more than a bit curious why the Chargers opted to just completely get away from getting the ball to their starting (and effective) halfback.
2013 Week 10 vs DEN (14 / 59 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
Mathews got some early work on the opening drives, but soon left the game without explanation following a huge 39-yard run that was negated due to a holding penalty. After Ronnie Brown got a fairly heavy workload in his absence, it was reported that Mathews was out getting his hamstring taped up. Mathews returned to the game early in the second quarter and wasted little time, ripping off a 35-yard run off a misdirection to the left side. With San Diego trailing the entire second half, they got away from the running game a bit so the opportunities were limited. But following a couple of big pass plays, it worked out perfectly for Mathews to be able to score. QB Philip Rivers completed a 6-yard pass down to the goal line to RB Danny Woodhead. San Diego fans will remember last week, when the team got on the goal line but never gave Mathews a chance to score, only to be blasted for the decision all week. Well this week, Mathews was more than up to the task. He took the handoff and dove over the pile, managing to reach the ball out over the top. Mathews did an excellent job of leaning in and using his body to protect the ball but also extend over the goal line for the score. With his propensity to hit the hole hard and regularly push the pile forward, he seems like a natural for goal line work (if he can improve his ball security).
2013 Week 11 vs MIA (19 / 127 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 16 / 0 rec)
Mathews has finally seen some consistent workloads recently, and has responded with some fantastic performances. This game was no different, as he saw the ball 21 times and responded with 143 yards from scrimmage. He has mostly taken a back seat to Danny Woodhead (and others) in the passing game, but in this one he saw two receptions on the team's opening drive. However, he didn't catch another pass after that fast start. What he did do a lot, and do effectively, was run the football. His 127 yards paced both teams, and included a career-best 51 yard run in the second half. He found a seam up the left side and just blasted into the open field, getting to top speed VERY quickly before Miami even got near him. At various points in the game, he just flat out ran over defenders, showing excellent power and burst on his many inside runs. And on nearly every occasion, he ran through the tackler at the end of the play and fell forward. He is doing all he can to quiet the critics who have labeled him as "soft" and "injury prone", but it's a tough reputation to shake. Sure enough, he had to leave this game momentarily to have his left hand looked at, but he returned in the second half obviously looking no worse for wear.
2013 Week 12 vs KC (14 / 55 / 1 rush, 2 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec)
Once again, the performance of Mathews was more about what could have been rather than what actually was. He was enjoying a solid day, with 65 yards from scrimmage on 16 touches, but missed the entirety of the 17-point fourth quarter outburst by San Diego with what was deemed a hamstring issue. Like last week, he was involved in the passing game early on with two first quarter receptions. And as the Chargers softened up the defense, the holes in the running game opened as well. On two occasions, he hit the second level of the defense hard and looked to be about to take it into the secondary, but his momentum was stopped cold. On one such run, he actually fumbled the ball (though he did manage to recover it himself). He was being utilized in all facets of the game, both on early downs and on short yardage runs later on in drives. Mathews went over the pile on a fourth and one run but managed to keep his footing to pick up a few more yards after the fact, showing very nice balance in the process. In the third quarter, he took a nice run off of left tackle to the outside and showed a quick burst to the edge. He was tackled down at the 1-yard line, and one has to wonder if he would have reached out to try and extend the ball over the goal line if he hadn't fumbled earlier. It didn't matter much, because on his next run he went WAY over the pile to leapfrog everyone for the touchdown. Unfortunately for Mathews owners, it would be his final highlight of the afternoon due to the hamstring injury.
2013 Week 13 vs CIN (14 / 61 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 31 / 0 rec)
Mathews came into the game still feeling the effects of a sore hamstring. While his stat line didn't 'wow' anybody, he certainly didn't look limited in any way by an injury. On one first half carry, he started out towards the otuside before making a hard inside cut. There were no issues with that play. Mathews later showed terrific acceleration on a swing pass up the left side. He caught it in stride and burst up the sideline for a nice first down gain. It was thought that Danny Woodhead and to a lesser extent Ronnie Brown might see a larger workload with Mathews less than 100%, but Mathews had 19 offensive touches compared to just nine for Woodhead and only one for Brown. With the Bengals leading for most of the second half, the Chargers kind of got away from the run game. They also had several promising drives stalled by turnovers, so it was difficult for him to really get into any kind of rhythm.
2013 Week 14 vs NYG (29 / 103 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 32 / 0 rec)
Most Mathews owners have complained about underuse this season. That wasn't an issue in this game, as he saw a whopping 32 touches from scrimmage (29 on the ground). Mathews fought hard for every yard he got, getting banged around inside for some tough gains. He took a number of big hits, but the player who has a reputation for being a fumbler managed to hang on every time. He also showed nice speed on a run off left tackle, finding a seam and showing excellent patience to get there. His fantasy performance was punctuated with a score early in the second half. Following a pass interference penalty called in favor of WR Vincent Brown put the ball on the 1-yard line, Mathews was given three opportunites to cross the goal line. He was stuffed on first down, pushed back from going over the pile on second down, and then waltzed in untouched on third down. He looked good in the passing game too. On one play, he took a short catch over the middle, easily shook a tackler, and turned the corner after shoving him away to pick up the first down. He turned a minimal gain into a first down in the process. He's been much more involved in the passing game the past month. There was even a designed screen pass to him to pick up 12 yards.
2013 Week 15 vs DEN (29 / 127 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
In a game that featured arguably the league's two leading MVP candidates, it was San Diego's efficiency on the ground and not through the air that won out. That's not to say Rivers played poorly; just that his passing prowess took a back seat to the rushing duties of Ryan Mathews and company. Rivers had almost no production after halftime, as the Chargers opted to pound the ball on the ground. They were having a lot of success doing it, and Denver seemingly couldn't stop them, so why bother doing anything else? Fortunately for Rivers owners, he managed to connect on a couple of scores with his favorite target, WR Keenan Allen, prior to halftime. The first touchdown was a phenomenal individual effort by Allen. He came across the field on a crossing route and took the easy pass from Rivers. But from there, he streaked towards the end zone, leapt over a defender, and bowled over yet another defender at the goal line to push his way in for the score. The second touchdown was likewise a very good effort from Allen, who made a nice adjustment on a slightly underthrown fade pass from Rivers near the end zone sideline. The pass was okay, but not really where it needed to be. Another pass that wasn't really where it needed to be was an end zone pass to TE Antonio Gates. He made a throw that was too high for the big tight end (actually nowhere near him) and was nearly intercepted. But aside from that, Rivers was mostly efficient in moving the ball. He had one instance of mixing it up with the defenders after a scramble in which his helmet was shoved after the play, but by this point it's almost expected for Rivers to talk trash with his opponents during the game.
2013 Week 16 vs OAK (25 / 99 / 1 rush, 5 / 3 / 20 / 0 rec)
Mathews' late-season surge has provided fantasy owners with hope that he hasn't been laid to waste in the San Diego backfield. He turned in yet another dynamic performance in this game, with 28 more touches from scrimmage while going over 100 total yards and a touchdown for the third consecutive game. In doing so, he established a new career high with 1,111 rushing yards on the season and has rendered Danny Woodhead almost an afterthought. Despite a dropped ball on an easy swing pass, Mathews has even gotten it done in the passing game, with three receptions for 20 yards to 3-16 for Woodhead. The Raiders played him tough, seemingly embarrassed after last week's performance against Kansas City. Because there were some vicious hits in the hole. But despite that, Mathews again never shied away from contact and gained the vast majority of his yardage up the middle. His touchdown run perfectly showcased the power and determination he has run with this season. He was initially bottled up, but spun off and burst back up the middle while breaking through some weak arm tackles to get into the end zone for the score. The second half featured some more nifty inside running, slipping through tackles and eluding would-be tacklers from all angles. As San Diego began taking control of the game, he burst into the secondary on a delayed handoff for a huge gain, picking up 38 yards on the play. He was limping a bit after a late third quarter run, but was able to return. Still, he was seen after the game with his foot in a boot so his status is officially unknown for next week's critical game against Kansas City.
2013 Week 17 vs KC (24 / 144 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
Mathews had another monster game, albeit against mostly second-teamers. He had reportedly been suffering from a leg injury that he sustained in last week's game, and he did leave this contest on a few occasions limping a bit towards the sideline. But each time, he returned to the game showing no ill effects. His biggest play of the game came early on when he burst up the left side after breaking a tough tackle. He actually stumbled a bit once he reached the second level of the defense, which may have cost him the edge a little bit (and thus could have picked up even more yardage). But as it was, he went for 44 yards on the play. In previous seasons, it would have been a given that Mathews would come out of the game after such a run, but it's important to note that he remained in the game on the next play. In the second half, a lot of the holes that were there early on kind of closed up on him. Eventually though, as he continued to wear the defense down, those holes started opening back up. He busted into the open field for a 20-yard run after cutting against the grain for a big fourth quarter run, then had two critical runs up the middle (one of which converted a huge third and one) in the overtime session to help set up the game-winning field goal.
2013 Week 18 vs CIN (13 / 52 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)
Mathews had a strong first half, gaining 52 yards and gouging the Cincy defense, which was highly ranked. He's playing with heart, and he's got the size, speed and ability that separates him from many rb's. Mathews does a good job of running with vision as he showed on a toss to the right. He instantly cut back to the inside, and picked up 8 yards. On the same drive early on, he had another 6 yard run where he broke a tackle and kept his momentum moving forward. Mathews re-injured his ankle, however, and did not play in the second half. The loss was felt heavily as San Diego struggled to convert some key 3rd down runs on gains that Mathews likely would have closed out. Getting him back is going to be extremely important for San Diego if they hope to control the clock against Denver. If he's not there, they will have to air it out, and as good as Rivers has been, it's unlikely he can match Manning.
2013 Week 19 vs DEN (5 / 26 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews opened the game against Denver well, gaining 26 yards on 5 carries, but he still wasn't fully recovered from his nagging ankle injuries and over-use down the stretch for the Chargers. After receiving 3 consecutive carries to open the second quarter, Mathews was pulled for Danny Woodhead and never returned to the game.
2012 Week 3 vs ATL (10 / 44 / 0 rush, 8 / 5 / 32 / 0 rec)
Mathews made his season debut after missing the first two games while recovering from a broken collarbone. Norv Turner's stated goal was to get Mathews around fifteen total touches for the game, and he nailed that number exactly. Mathews showed no ill effects from the injury, and in fact seemed to invite contact at every possible occasion. His first touch of the game was a catch out in the flat. He lowered his shoulder and absorbed a big hit from the defender while running through the tacklers. All game long, Mathews ran hard and nearly always lowered the shoulder to deliver some punishing hits of his own. On one occasion, however, he tried to do a bit too much. He took a handoff up the middle and tried picking up extra yardage but fumbled the ball away to the Falcons inside the five yard line. On the next play following the fumble, he was targeted on a desperation pass from Rivers, so the team didn't go away from him or anything. Still, this isn't the first problem he's had with turning the ball over near the goal line. And with as good as Jackie Battle looked last week at the goal line and the decision to give goal line duties to Mike Tolbert last year, one has to be leery of how many goal line carries Mathews has in the near future. Mathews appeared strong and ran hard, and definitely provided more of a spark than the rushers they've trotted out in recent weeks; he just didn't get a great deal of work because the deficit was so high for much of the contest.
2012 Week 4 vs KC (14 / 61 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 21 / 0 rec)
This was supposed to be a breakout game of sorts for Mathews, who missed the first two games of the season recovering from a fractured clavicle. He was eased back into action a week ago with fifteen touches, and most people felt the Chargers would take the training wheels off this week and let Mathews do his thing. Instead, he found himself on the bench to start the game while Jackie Battle was in the starting lineup. Earlier in the week, San Diego GM A.J. Smith made comments that were critical of Mathews and his inability to protect the football. Perhaps this was some sort of punishment or motivational ploy, but either way it was curious that it lasted the entire game. Battle didn't just start the game; he was the guy throughout. Mathews never even made it into the game on the team's opening possession, and when the team got near the goal line it was all Battle, all the time. It wasn't until late in the game that Mathews was given regular work, and he responded with more rushing yards on San Diego's final possession than Battle accumulated throughout the entire game. Mathews' first touch of the game was a reception in the flat where he got a head of steam and burst through the hole, fighting for extra yardage (but with two hands on the ball to protect it). Soon after, he was given a rushing attempt and met in the backfield almost immediately by the defender. It was a minor miracle that he didn't fumble that one away too. On San Diego's final possession, Mathews carried the ball six times for 42 yards (though he was stuffed for no gain on a third and 1 carry to end the drive). It will be interesting to see if San Diego plans on going back to Mathews as the every down back like they said they would, or if Battle has carved out at least a goal line/short yardage role similar to what the Chargers had last season with Mike Tolbert.
2012 Week 5 vs NO (12 / 80 / 1 rush, 8 / 6 / 59 / 0 rec)
Ryan Mathews may not have started this game, but he quickly put Jackie Battle on the bench once he was introduced. Mathews ran hard and intelligently while looking after the football and being a dangerous receiver. Matthews' first carry went outside left tackle as he was instantly into the secondary for a big gain. He followed that play with a good catch on a low screen pass that went for nine yards. Mathews was showing good vision and getting the most out of the space he was afforded on every single play. He showed a variety of explosion, physicality, technique and patience throughout the game. He was particularly impressive running off the edges and scored his touchdown on one of those runs. In the redzone, the Saints were pushing the left side of the Chargers line backwards where Mathews was initially attacking. Mathews adjusted to loop outside of his tackle and used his acceleration to get the edge. He then leaped over a weak attempted tackle from safety Malcolm Jenkins to fall into the endzone. Mathews was cutting up the Saints running the ball, but he also showed off his ability as a receiver. At one point he lined up on the outside, caught the ball in the flat before skipping past a cornerback and running down the sideline for a first down and 10 yards. Mathews was on his own in space, so the cornerback had no chance of stopping him. He had six catches on the day. All of them came underneath with him carrying the ball forward. The plays were essentially extended running plays that put him in space against inferior defenders.
2012 Week 6 vs DEN (22 / 74 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 19 / 0 rec)
Unlike previous weeks, Mathews was the workhorse back for San Diego in this game. He had 22 of the team's 27 rushing attempts, and the Chargers fed him early and often. Unfortunately for Mathews owners, he was unable to find daylight for most of the evening. The Broncos defenders repeatedly beat him to the edge on toss plays and there were a lot of negative yardage runs on the night. Early in the second half, Mathews had a hole up the middle and looked to be headed for a huge gain but he was barely tripped up just as he hit the hole. There were a couple of occasions where it appeared he was one miss away from taking it the distance. Late in the game, it was reported that he was being stretched out on the sideline during a commercial break, but he came back in for the next carry. About the only negative is that Ronnie Brown is still the team's third down running back at this point, and was in the game on the team's final drives as they tried to come back. Overall it was an encouraging performance by Mathews because it shows that he is going to get the vast majority of the workload, but his offensive line is going to have to do a better job in run blocking if he wants to turn any of those attempts into fantasy production.
2012 Week 8 vs CLE (24 / 95 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Mathews got a lot of early work, and the Chargers are making a clear effort to get Mathews into a good rhythm. Unfortunately for Mathews, there hasn't been much room to run for him to this point. He is pounding the ball and picking up yardage wherever possible, but the long gains and game-breaking rush opportunities just simply haven't been there. Even more unfortunately for Mathews, he came off the field on nearly every third down situation. Backup Ronnie Brown did well in his stead, but it stands to reason that Mathews would have at least done as much as Brown had he remained in the game. Perhaps most unfortunately for Mathews, he lost the football on a first half carry wide to the right. Mathews has had fumbling issues in the past and was even benched at times due to the fumbling, though in this game he remained in following the fumble and actually got the next carry the team had on the ensuing possession. Mathews looked pretty good in the second half, running hard and rarely going down on first contact.
2012 Week 9 vs KC (13 / 67 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 5 / 0 rec)
Mathews' maddening fantasy campaign continued in this game. On a night where he had a juicy matchup against an overmatched defense, he managed just 72 total yards (31 of which came on one big run) and he was constantly rotated in and out of the game for different matchup packages. The San Diego offensive line is still doing a poor job of opening up holes for Mathews. Nearly half of his yardage came on the aforementioned 31-yard scamper. Even on that play, he was met in the backfield by a number of defenders. He simply took a step back, regrouped, and took off up the left side for a big gain. But those plays have not really been there too often for Mathews, and a lot of that has to do with himself. He often comes off the field on his own, such as when he came up limping slightly late in the first half. One has to assume the coaching staff sees this and feels the need to protect him by keeping him out in certain packages (third down, short yardage, etc). Without the third down plays, his receiving numbers will be kept low. And without the short yardage situations, his touchdown total will never be very high. And in today's NFL, it is difficult to be a fantasy RB1 based simply on rushing yardage and little else. With the Chargers up by so much late in the game, HC Norv Turner didn't even risk a possible injury to Mathews on the garbage time possession, instead opting to run out the clock with Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown.
2012 Week 10 vs TB (17 / 54 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 22 / 0 rec)
Mathews is in real danger of having essentially a lost season, both from a real life and fantasy perspective. He totaled a somewhat adequate 76 yards from scrimmage in this game, but did not record a single play over ten yards. He didn't find much room to run, and the Chargers never really made it a focal point to get him very involved in the gameplan.
2012 Week 11 vs DEN (15 / 47 / 0 rush, 6 / 4 / 36 / 0 rec)
It always seems like Mathews isn't getting a big workload, but at the end of the game you look up and he's got pushing 20 touches (19 in this one). The problem is that he just doesn't do much with them. There is very little room in the running game, and Mathews just doesn't look to be running as hard as he did a season ago. There was rarely a time that he didn't push the pile forward, but now he seems to be taken down on first contact with regularity unless he bounces it outside. This could explain why he was more effective in the passing game where he has some space to work with. He tied for second among all players with four receptions and he actually broke off a couple of decent gains. The problems are that they don't happen with enough frequency, and also when he finally does pick up a decent gain he immediately heads to the sideline for a rest. For very obvious reasons, it is very tough to get a rhythm going when you are in and out of the game every two plays.
2012 Week 12 vs BAL (19 / 72 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 16 / 0 rec)
Mathews was a workhorse early on and did end up getting 22 total offensive touches in the game, but he once again was unable to really get anything going. He averaged less than four yards per carry, with a long of just 10 yards. He appeared to be running hard and moved the pile on a couple of occasions, but the opportunities simply weren't there to bust very many big gains.
2012 Week 13 vs CIN (9 / 26 / 0 rush, 7 / 3 / 25 / 0 rec)
The Chargers ran 59 offensive plays in this game. Of those 59, 48 of them were pass plays and two of them were scrambles by Philip Rivers on plays that were supposed to be passes. Which means the Chargers, in a game where neither team ever trailed by more than one score, opted to throw the ball on 85% of its offensive plays. With a unit that has been horribly inefficient for the season. If that doesn't show what kind of faith HC Norv Turner has in his rushing unit, I don't know what does. Mathews was uninspiring with the ball in his hands, averaging less than three yards per carry on the ground. He was a little bit better through the air, but that's not saying much as he caught just three passes in the game. With Ronnie Brown still handling the third down duties and the Chargers choosing to abandon the running game so early, Mathews will be hard-pressed to ever pick up big yardage totals anytime soon.
2012 Week 14 vs PIT (25 / 65 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rarely will you see a more nondescript 25-carry game than the one Mathews turned in. Despite the lack of success running the ball, the Chargers were able to stick with it because they had such a big lead. His longest gain of the afternoon (9 yards) came on his very first carry, and he never did break any big ones downfield. But he did just enough to keep the Chargers in some manageable down and distance situations that they kept going to him. On a couple of occasions, he did a nice job of beating Pittsburgh defenders to the edge and turning it upfield for a decent gain. As usual, he got a good-sized workload but there just wasn't much room. He did come relatively close to scoring, picking up a head of steam for a 7-yard gain to the 3-yard line but was stopped short by Pittsburgh defenders.
2012 Week 15 vs CAR (4 / 22 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 8 / 0 rec)
The nightmarish season continued for Mathews, and in fact his season may have simultaneously ended. Mathews looked pretty good early on, showing a nice burst on a couple of rushes up the middle. He was finding some room inside, displaying some elusiveness that we haven't seen much of so far. In addition to averaging over five yards per carry, he even had some decent involvement in the passing game due to the absence of Ronnie Brown. But despite all the positives, postgame reports are that Mathews reportedly broke his left collarbone early in the game (had had previously broken his right collarbone in the preseason). It is assumed that Mathews will miss the rest of the season.
2011 Week 1 vs MIN (12 / 45 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 73 / 0 rec)
For the Chargers, it's great to have two backs capable of shouldering the load. In this game, both Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews were extremely effective and got San Diego a rare early season victory. For Mathews owners, however, it's unfortunate that Mike Tolbert is around. Because it certainly appears as if Mathews is capable of being a featured back. He looked quick, elusive, and powerful in picking up 118 yards from scrimmage on just 15 touches. Tolbert is the one who was far more involved in the passing game, despite the fact that Mathews picked up fifteen more yards on six fewer receptions. He hit the hole hard on his rushing attempts, and showed great strength and balance in eluding tacklers (or just breaking tackles outright) downfield on both rushing attempts and receptions. Mathews is going to have to break some long gains if he is to have a lot of fantasy value though, because as expected it appears that Tolbert is clearly the go-to guy in goal line and most red zone situations - meaning Mathews' touchdown opportunities will likely be limited for the time being.
2011 Week 2 vs NE (12 / 64 / 1 rush, 9 / 7 / 62 / 0 rec)
Mathews continues to look impressive in all facets of the game. Despite Mike Tolbert's seeming stranglehold on the short yardage gig, Mathews took one in from 10 yards out in the first quarter for San Diego's first score of the game. He took an inside handoff off the left tackle on a delayed draw, and went in nearly untouched aside from a handful of weak arm tackle attempts. He did have another goal line type of carry later, when Tolbert came out for a breather after a 21-yard reception to the five yard line. Mathews took a carry to the two yard line, but it was his only carry from close range as Tolbert came back on the field for the next play. Mathews did a nice job with the ball in his hands. When he found a hole, he hit it hard. And when the situation called for patience, he showed excellent field vision to know where he has to get to. Late in the game, he resembled Tolbert on a couple of occasions. He fought for tough yardage up the middle on a short reception, and later took out a defender when he took a pass in the flat and absolutely lowered his head into the defender's back with a vicious collision. With Tolbert's inability to punch in a short yardage touchdown and his late game fumble helping to cost San Diego the game, it remains to be seen whether Mathews will see a greater role going forward. But in this game at least, he had 19 offensive touches for 126 yards and a touchdown versus Tolbert's 17 offensive touches for 83 yards and zero touchdowns.
2011 Week 3 vs KC (21 / 98 / 2 rush, 4 / 4 / 51 / 0 rec)
This can't be called a breakout game, because Mathews has had big breakout performances before. But perhaps this can be called a breakthrough game, because for the first time in a long time, Mathews was the focal point of the San Diego offense. With Mike Tolbert struggling last week, it appeared going in that Mathews was going to have a bigger opportunity to shine in this one, and he certainly took advantage. He was in for the entire first series of the game, and San Diego made it a focal point to put the ball in his hands. He had 25 total touches to Tolbert's 7, and even punched in two relatively short rushing touchdowns (typically a Tolbert specialty). On the first score, he showed excellent balance in keeping on his feet long enough to plunge ahead and dive into the end zone. He had told the announcers that Tolbert has really helped him by showing him how to "run low". He really did that on several occasions in this game. Mathews did a terrific job of reading his blocks. Unlike last season, he appears to know when it's time to burst ahead and when it's time to be patient and allow the play to develop before making his move. He displayed a lot of shiftiness, particularly with the inside running. And he had heavy involvement with the passing game as well, getting out of the backfield for a couple of swing passes as the Chargers created ways to get him the ball in space. Late in the game, he showed his goal line prowess as well. He turned the corner off a simple handoff up the right side, found the edge, and beat the Chief defender to the spot despite not having the angle initially. He showed great burst and acceleration to get to the outside, and really looks to be well on his way to an even bigger role in the offensive gameplan going forward.
2011 Week 4 vs MIA (16 / 81 / 0 rush, 5 / 5 / 68 / 0 rec)
Mathews got the bulk of the carries in this one. Although Tolbert is still on the goalline, it seems like Turner is going to finally give Mathews his shot to be the man. Mathews has very good speed, and on an early run towards the left sideline, he showed some strength, as he took his man and drove him backwards 5 yards on the way to a first down. Mathews also was GREAT as a receiver, looking extremely natural coming out of the backfield, and shredding Miami with his speed and elusiveness. Mathews was the real difference in this game, continuing to get positive yardage, and giving the Chargers a bigtime spark out of the backfield. Tolbert is still getting goalline carries, which tempers Mathews numbers a little bit, but at this point, most rb's in the NFL have to deal with an RBBC, so Mathews is no different in that respect.
2011 Week 5 vs DEN (24 / 125 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Once again, Mathews handled the load for the Chargers' offensively. He was heavily involved in the ground attack, and did a nice job getting to the edges and showing unexpected power. There were a lot of weak arm tackle attempts that Mathews mostly just ran through, and he showed terrific balance and vision in picking his spots out. He really does seem like an ideal fit for this offense at times. Late in the first half, he went to the locker room with what was called a calf strain but he eventually came back in. On his first carry following the injury, he made a terrific cut to break the ankles of a defensive back that had squared him up. In the second half, he again put a scare into owners when he was upended on a run and was very slow to get up. He was initially ruled to have fumbled, although that was overturned when it was determined that the ball only popped out after he had hit the ground. He finally got up and seemed fine, but soon off he came up hobbling and limped off the field with what looked to be either an aggravation of the calf injury or an ankle injury of some sort. When the Chargers needed to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter, Mathews wasn't in the game. And later in the locker room, he was seen leaving on crutches. Fortunately for Mathews, the Chargers are on a bye next week so he'll have a full two weeks to rest up before the team's next game against the Jets.
2011 Week 7 vs NYJ (13 / 39 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 26 / 0 rec)
Coming off a career high in rushing yardage and facing a struggling rushing unit seemed like a recipe for success, but Mathews never got on track. He suffered a thumb injury early in the game and was originally questionable to return, but he came back in soon after. However, he wasn't very effective when he did. He had a couple of decent runs, but wasn't the dynamic rusher we've seen in recent weeks. Mathews fully gave way to Mike Tolbert at the goal line, and his longest gain from scrimmage all game long was just nine yards.
2011 Week 8 vs KC (13 / 57 / 0 rush, 7 / 6 / 55 / 0 rec)
The saga of Ryan Mathews continues. Mathews looked every bit as talented as his scouting report suggests at times, especially when the Chargers were able to get him the ball in open space. He had a brilliant 17 yard run in the first quarter where he showed both speed to get to the corner and power in breaking 3 tackles along the way. While he was finding no room between the tackles, Mathews was still having a successful day until he fumbled in the red zone in the second quarter. He did bounce right back and was instrumental in the Chargers 3rd quarter resurgence, catching the ball in the flat and making defenders miss. On one of those plays, early in the 4th quarter Mathews went for 14 yards but he seemed to twist his leg as he was pushed out of bounds. Mathews did not return and later it was reported the Mathews had suffered a groin injury. Power, Speed, Elusiveness...all things we've seen before from Mathews. Unfortunately so are fumbles and injuries.
2011 Week 10 vs OAK (6 / 34 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 23 / 0 rec)
Mathews showed zero ill effects from his groin injury. He ran outside to the left on a toss sweep early on, hit the hole hard and looked good and fluid. As San Diego moved closer to the red zone, he never really came close to scoring on a handoff but a good sign is that he was given touches inside the ten yard line. After a penalty backed San Diego up, Mathews took a short checkdown pass down to the two yard line, tackled just short of scoring. After halftime, the Chargers took to the air a lot more so the run game took a back seat. But that didn't mean Mathews didn't contribute. He picked up a blitz with a block so fierce that the Chargers may want to think about plugging him in for some of their banged-up linemen. Mathews essentially picked up the blitzer by the waist and dumped him on his back on the play, so not only did he run and move around well but he showed he wasn't afraid to mix it up a little bit too.
2011 Week 11 vs CHI (13 / 37 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
Once again, Mathews looked very talented with the ball in his hands. But once again, his fumbling woes resurfaced. Early on, he broke a 24 yard run up the left side, doing a good job of spotting the holes and bursting through with authority. In fact, he was barely dragged down by a tackler at the 16 yard line or else he may have scored. Soon after, he had another nice run up the middle but had the ball stripped away from him at the end of the run. Fortunately for him, San Diego recovered. At times, he was able to turn little or nothing into something. However, in the second half that proved to be costly. He made a nice run to the outside but was a bit too careless with the football, allowing it to be punched out of his hands as he turned upfield. This time, the Bears were able to recover it and that was really the key turning point in the game. The next time San Diego got the football, Mike Tolbert was on the field at running back. But that didn't last very long, as Mathews came back in two plays later.
2011 Week 12 vs DEN (22 / 137 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
Despite being a bit limited in practice this week, Mathews looked as good as he has all season long. There were some gaping holes given to Mathews to work with, and he never missed a beat. For the most part, he moved the ball very well on the ground but the passing game didn't do its part to help take pressure off. Early in the second half, he broke a great-looking run up the right side for his longest run of the year, a pickup of 39 yards. There was some terrific downfield blocking by the receivers as Mathews quickly got into the open field. He showed no ill effects from any kind of leg injuries or anything suggesting he had been limited in practice. Late in the game with San Diego driving for the potential game-winning score, Mathews was extremely close to breaking a game-winning touchdown run. He took a handoff up the right side, found a hole, and broke it back to the left into the open field. But a fantastic open field tackle ended up saving the game for Denver. Despite the tackle, that run established a new single game career high of 137 rushing yards for Mathews.
2011 Week 13 vs JAX (13 / 112 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 2 / 0 rec)
Mathews didn't get a ton of work, but he was outstanding on just about every one of his carries. The Charger offensive line created big holes all game long, even when the play called for an outside run and they had to pull to the sides to create space they did. Mathews took advantage time after time, running with authority and "downhill" all evening. He was very shifty in traffic and showed a lot of agility in getting extra yardage where it didn't seem like there was any. And he finally capped off his night with a phenomenal misdirection run that he cut back to the left side. He could have been taken down for no gain or a minimal gain at best, but he beat the defender in front of him with a quick side step to his left and a broken arm tackle. Mathews then took off quickly down the left sideline, tip-toeing the sideline at the end of the run and managing to stay inbounds for the score.
2011 Week 14 vs BUF (20 / 114 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 34 / 0 rec)
There wasn't a ton of running room for Mathews early on. The Chargers were throwing the ball all over the place, but the Bills were stuffing the run attack. The Chargers kept running it right up the middle and found that there was nowhere to go. When San Diego began breaking runs out to the outside, they had a lot more success. Finally late in the first half, Mathews broke a huge gain up the middle after a quick cut-back run to the right to find the hole. He really does have terrific vision and always seems to not only follow his blocks, but to follow the right block. He went over 100 rushing yards for the third consecutive game and really took advantage of the passing game having opened things up underneath. Unfrotunately for Mathews, late in the game he was tackled after a screen pass and got up a bit slowly. Replays appeared to show that he was kicked in the helmet by a defender who was in on the tackle, and Mathews did not return to the game (though the game's outcome was well in-hand by that point too, so there was little reason to risk him).
2011 Week 15 vs BAL (26 / 90 / 2 rush, 2 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)
Mathews found tough going for most of the game, as Baltimore had the middle of the field mostly bottled up. As the first half went on, he found less and less room and had even coughed up another fumble (which his teammates fortunately recovered for him). But Mathews got some rare looks near the goal line, and he cashed in on those opportunities for his fantasy owners to turn in a terrific performance against a stout run defense. There was a run just before halftime that came on a pitch from QB Philip Rivers to the outside. He quickly turned the corner to get upfield and then managed to cross the plane of the end zone despite S Ed Reed waiting for him at the goal line with a big collision. Mathews' second touchdown was a fantastic 3-yard score. He took the handoff in the backfield and leaped from the four yard line to go way up and over the pile before crashing down in the end zone with the score. Late in the game, he used a quick bounce step to hop to the left side for a 24-yard pickup and his biggest gain of the game. Mathews did a great job once again of reading his blocks and using all of the angles to pick up the maximum yardage possible on each and every run.
2011 Week 16 vs DET (11 / 58 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 16 / 0 rec)
There wasn't a lot of room for any running backs in the early going. That, coupled with Detroit jumping out to a big lead early on, made it difficult for Mathews to make much of an impact in this game. The Chargers trailed right from the outset and began passing almost non-stop, as evidenced by the 53 pass attempts versus just 16 rush attempts. Still, when Mathews did get the call, he looked good and explosive in averaging over five yards per carry. He didn't get any red zone opportunities, however, and his involvement in the passing game was very limited.
2010 Week 1 vs KC (19 / 75 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 2 vs JAX (5 / 26 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 29 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 4 vs ARI (9 / 55 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 13 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 5 vs OAK (9 / 59 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 rec)
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
2010 Week 6 vs STL (12 / 64 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 12 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 7 vs NE (8 / 15 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 7 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 8 vs TEN (15 / 43 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 9 vs HOU (9 / 42 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 14 vs KC (16 / 65 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 15 vs SF (17 / 56 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 16 vs CIN (12 / 55 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec)
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.
2010 Week 17 vs DEN (26 / 120 / 3 rush, 3 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)
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.