When AJ Smith stated his views on “fumblers” last week, he was sending a direct message to Ryan Mathews.
“What happens to fumblers is, first, they play less,” Smith told the U-T San Diego. “Second, if it continues while they’re playing on a limited basis, then you don’t play for a while and you get to sit and think about it.”
Clearly Sunday was the second phase for Mathews.
Mathews didn’t start. He didn’t lead the team in rushing attempts. He didn’t get his first carry until seven minutes and two Chargers possessions into the first quarter. And he didn’t even see the field in the third quarter.
For a guy that’s been considered a focal point of the offense, this wasn’t a usual game.
Mathews, however, was not surprised.
“I kind of expected it from last week,” Mathews told the U-T.
So that’s great that he expected it, but, more importantly, did he get the message?
“I showed them I could put the ball on the ground,” Mathews told the U-T. “Now, I’ve got to show them I can keep it in my arms.”
Yes, yes he did.
Which is important because the Chargers won’t achieve their ultimate goal (hint: Feb. 3, 2013) with Jackie Battle running the ball full time.
When the Chargers chose not to play Mathews at all in the third quarter, they paid for it. Jackie Battle and the offense combined for negative one yard. And to make matters worse, the Chiefs were starting to change the momentum of the game.
In the final 13 minutes, Mathews fueled the offense on two drives for a touchdown and a field goal that effectively put the Chiefs away. On those drives, he ran for 60 yards on ten carries, caught a pass for eight yards, and picked up four first downs in the process.
That’s called getting the message, folks.
Flashes of Lightning
- Cornerback Shareece Wright is still recovering from a high ankle sprain. He wants to return against the Broncos on October 15th.
- Free agent cornerback Chris Carr is rumored to be close to signing with the Chargers. It’s rumored that uncertainty with the severity of Nate Kaeding’s injury is delaying the deal.