There is a few different angles to take away from the Chargers 37-20 win in Arrowhead on Sunday.
Let’s start here. Despite the Broncos flashy off-season signing it is the Chargers, not the Broncos, who find themselves on top of the AFC West. But, more impressively, is that the Chargers are now 2-0 on the road in the division. To me, this is far more important. The Chargers play 6 games against division teams a year. With 4 of those games left, and 3 of those coming at home, the Chargers are poised early to stay in this AFC West race for awhile.
So, that’s one story. Here’s another.
Suddenly this defense looks good. Yes, the Falcons game was a disaster on all ends. Defense was on the field a long time, offense put them in terrible spots, and oh by the way the Falcons are really good. And sure, the Chiefs, Titans and Raiders are not exactly a murderers row. But you play who is on your schedule. Nothing more, nothing less. But this defense is creating turnovers, swarming the QB and is generating energy and and excitement on the field. It’s a throw back to the peak of the Merriman days and it is great to see. Because there is one clear blue print to beating Peyton Manning. And that is pressure. Lots of it. And let’s not kid ourselves. The division title will be won by beating Denver.
And finally, the Ryan Mathews. He was considerably absent from this game. It was nearly a split of touches between Mathews and Battle. But more noticeably was the fact that Mathews did not start. Battle did. Mathews was not brought in for a consistent amount of work until the 4th quarter.
Look, I’m all for teaching players a lesson. I’m for showing that no player is untouchable and that these fumbles are a problem. I’m not into teaching that lesson by cutting off your nose to spite your face. Benching Mathews proved your point. Benching him for a half proved your point. But refusing to play him well into the 2nd half is hubris. Battle, for as well as he has done in his role, is not Ryan Mathews. Mathews is a Pro-Bowl caliber running back. Hopefully, this is a one off game and Mathews will return as the starter moving forward.
But what if he doesn’t.