There was a clear message sent out to Ryan Mathews on Sunday. His fumble against the Atlanta Falcons put landed on the end of the bench to start the game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ryan had to watch Jackie Battle take the bulk of the carries and then watch Ronnie Brown take the 3rd down reps.
Don’t fumble that football! Lose the football, you lose playing time.
When does the punishment end? When does Ryan get another chance to show that he can hold onto the football? Then next time he puts the ball on the ground, will we see Jackie Battle be the starter the following week? What if Jackie fumbles?
It is easy to see that Ryan Mathews is the best running back on the team when he doesn’t put the football on the ground. He showed it in the final quarter of the game when he was trusted to close out the game.
The Chiefs defense knew the Chargers would be running the ball and Ryan Mathews was still able to gain yards. He led the team with 61 rushing yards and had 14 carries. Battle finished the game with 15 carries for 39 yards.
The bulk of the carries need to go to Ryan Mathews. He is the dynamic playmaker on offense and needs to get touches. Jackie is a perfect compliment in the goal line and short yardage situations.
Now, does Norv Turner think the same?
Norv said, “I like the mixture we had. I think every week we’re going to look at what gives us the best chance to win.” He also said that starting Jackie was not about sending a message, Jackie gave the team the best chance to win.
So, let’s see who gives the team the best chance to win the rest of the way out.