Ryan Mathews has been tearing it up lately with some impressive rushing performances. In the last 3 games, he has topped over 100 yards in each and has a total of 363 rushing yards. This is the type of performance we demanded to see after we had traded up from pick number 28 to number 12 in last year’s draft.
You can see him getting more comfortable carrying the rock and his confidence is soaring out through the roof. We will still be cautious with our excitement until he can show that he can keep his mits on the football. He has kept tight grips on that football since the game against the Chicago Bears where he got lazy with his ball handling. We need him to keep that death grip on the ball before we can be comfortable watching him tote the rock every Sunday.
His last three games has been strong, but he has a tough 3-game stretch coming up where he will have to show that he can make big plays against tougher teams. The Baltimore Ravens have a hard hitting defense and will be a nice challenge for Mathews this weekend. Ray Lewis should be back from injury and he will be revved up to put a few licks in on Mathews. Then he will have the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders in the games to follow. Ndamukong Suh is a mean dude on that defensive front and Ryan will have to show that he can take the beating and get back up again.
We need him to perform at this high level next season. He has a plenty of things to improve on in the offseason and this will be his first chance without the lockout slowing his development. He needs to find a way to get into the end zone more. He only has put up the seven points once in the last 3 games and he only has scored 4 times this season. When he breaks off those big runs, he needs to find a way to make the last guy miss so that he can hit that home run. He could become a good goal line back in the future and he can always work on his blocking skills for Philip.