Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) scores a touchdown past Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Geno Hayes (55) and safety Josh Evans (26) during the second half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Rushing Attack Helps Secure Victory Over Jags


Last week I wrote piece about how we should utilize our running backs in the redzone. You all gave your thoughts on it, and the Chargers finally executed it the way we wanted… sort of. Basically, the consensus was that Woodhead AND Ryan Mathews should both be used, but in different roles. Inside the ten, Mathews should be used for the power running. Well, Ryan Mathews FINALLY got a chance to carry the rock in the red-zone, and guess what? He scored!!!! How about that? Danny Woodhead also took one in for a touchdown. Mathews broke the longest streak for a running back in the NFL, as he hadn’t scored a rushing TD in over 200 carries. I’m sure it was great for him to get that embarrassing monkey off of his back! Overall, this was our best rushing performance of the year.

However, I can’t stop wondering that if they had used Mathews in the red-zone on an earlier drive in the first half, they could have had another one. Furthermore, if they would have used him on the last possession before halftime, instead of messing around with all that nonsense, this game would have been an even bigger blowout. I know we had no timeouts, and approximately 20 seconds left on the clock, and that the right call was probably made. But, I remember looking at the situation, and thinking “Don’t get cute, just pound it in, and spike it”. I would have rather seen Mathews in there on that first play, and seen the team get to the line, and give Mathews the same opportunity they gave him later in the game. If not that possession, then the earlier possession, where he was taken off of the field when we got inside the 20.

I know people are going to say “There wasn’t enough time to run the ball, with no timeouts”. But, trying to shovel a dangerous pass to Gates, and have HIM try to pound it in like a running back is not the right way to go about it. He almost coughed up the ball on the goal line. Nor should our Baby Giraffe of a QB try to run it in himself from ten yards out, and not get there. Why didn’t he throw it away, instead? That possession was a mess, and we went into the half with 14 points, instead of 17 or 21. If they were going to get that cute with it, they might as well have run Mathews, who is running the ball VERY well. Leaving points on the field like that is not going to cut it against better teams, and gives the opposing defense a HUGE shot in the arm before half time.

Obviously, there was not a whole lot to complain about in this game. We got the victory, and our defense held another team to less than ten points & no touchdowns for the second straight week! Even if it’s the winless Jacksonville Jaguars… that is not an easy thing to do in this league. Our rushing attack was impressive for the second week in a row, and that is great news!

If Whisenhunt can stop overcomplicating the red-zone situation, this team is going to be very hard to stop. They can stash another “team win” under their belts, and have time to get healthy over the bye week. I hope that Ryan Mathews has earned the trust of Ken Whisenhunt, and will be the key to scoring TD’s in the red-zone, moving forward. Mathews is doing a heck of a job, and deserves the touches.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

Peter Thompson


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Tags: Danny Woodhead Ryan Matthews San Diego Chargers

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  • Tazzster

    Kudos to the running game! They did a great job.

    I think there is more going on with the running backs then we know. I think Matthews gets pulled at times for making mistakes. Here is my case in point. On our first drive we had the ball, 1 and 10 at the Jags 24. We hand off to Matthews, McClain leads, the guard pulls and there is some awesome blocking going on and a hole is developing on the left side.

    Now for some reason Matthews changes his mind at the line and cuts this back to the right for two yards. If he goes left this is a 15 yard gain – easy. Those of you who DVR’d the game go back and watch this play.

    After this play Matthews exits the game and we see Woodhead the rest of the drive where Woodhead scores.

    I don’t think this was a Redzone decisions as much as it was Matthews going to the sideline to get some instruction.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Great comments! I will definitely go back and watch that. But, I still think they should trust him a little more down there. I DO notice that he misses some pretty nice holes at times, though.

      • Tazzster

        Exactly my point. I don’t think he was pulled, because someone said, “We are close to the Redzone get Matthews out of there.” I think they had every intention of letting him finish the drive. Then he missed that play and someone tapped Woodhead so they could have a few minutes to talk to Ryan.
        And not to take anything from Matthews performance. I can’t expect him to be perfect on every play. He had a great game and pounded the rock hard.

  • Sergio Quintero

    Can’t say much more Pete 100% concur, the league appears to have figured the chargers finesse pick red zone offense, have to go back to I-formation power football in the red zone, if you establish success and commitment to run there, the play action game will open up, and Rivers who always seems to be a little tentative in the Red Zone will have easier throws to compliment the running game.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      You said it, Sergio…. I wouldn’t even get that mad if they went all passing… just stop overthinking it as soon as you step inside the 15, and don’t get all antsy. That drive at the end of the half looked so friggin’ awkward, except for the one pass PR threw away, due to coverage. They start trying trick shovel plays, or shotgun handoffs. They need to stop trying to get cute, and trying to dupe the defense. Just smash em’ in the mouth with Mathews & McClain when it gets inside the 5 or 10, and be done with it. Nothing tricky.. just do what all the other football teams around the league do. It’s called “pounding the rock into the endzone”. Been around for years…hahahaha.

  • bk

    Peter, you have hit it out of the park again. Bull’s eye!…..Great defensive win, albeit against an opponent on life support. Pass rush getting nastier, and the secondary learning how to play defense. Ryan was again a beast, and Danny a nightmare for the Jags. They are becoming quite a combo! Love it, but a long ways to go…..The series at the end of the first half was coaching retardation! Danny had slammed the ball to the one, and all we needed was another Matthews slammeroo! Instead, we end up with the most pathetic pass plays on the goal line I have ever seen. And to top off the moronicness, Rivers tries to run it in with hips that barely know how to walk. It wasn’t Philip’s fault at all. It was a coaching debacle under pressure, an Unwisenhunt moment that must never happen again, because it will cost us games down the line…..Finally, way too many penalties on our linemen. I know it is hard at times to control adrenalin and desire, but we have a pattern here that must be addressed and fixed. Penalties are the worst ways to kill drives, and Woodhead will not always be able to bust open screen plays for 26 yards to make up for lost yardage…..Go Chargers and skin the Redskins!!!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Thanks mang!

  • boltingindiego

    agree on majority of all points. Just gotta say the horrible shovel play call and gates fumble was in the 3rd quarter. Glad they fed mathews the ball in the red zone in the 3rd.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      You know what? It was… my mistake. It was three incompletions to Keenan. Still… they should have used Mathews there. And definitely in the 3rd quarter, instead of Gates.. lol.

      • boltingindiego

        yep they did learn after that and fed rm the ball. was their any news on why allen went into the locker room?

        • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

          He hurt his shoulder… Think he will be alright

  • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

    Grand Slam my man!!! Totally agree, let the kid out of the dog house already….he’s earned it.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      It needs to stop today. You are right.

      • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

        Whiz’s O has plenty of weapons, just stop the cutsie crap & get er’ done….

  • Bill Nichols

    I was screaming at the top of my polluted lungs from here, Austin, TX. Damn, thought they could hear me for sure.. “give it to Mathews, GIVE IT TO MATHEWS FOR GODS SAKE!!” I’m with you, 20 seconds left, let dude do one of those fly-overs into the money. Damn, but still one hell of a good game, props to even R Brown, very timely gains….. And what is the deal with Clary and the dirty laundry? Can’t remember hearing his name that much ever. We are on one hell of a roll, get healthy, let’s do this………

  • JoseSD

    i really think all those penalties against the Jags actually hurt us at the end of the first half. twice they were given first and goal and they kept throwing it with the extra opportunities. in my opinion they should have bulldozed into the endzone with mathews if he didnt get in then quick spike to stop the clock and kick the field goal. but we kept getting gifts from the jags D and those pass plays each took 4-6 seconds off the clock until Philips failed qb draw ended the half without scoring from the 1 yard line

  • OP Bolt

    Peter – this week one of the blogs had some stats on use of RM (sorry I can’t remember who/where). Assuming that was correct, there is a significant correlation of running plays when RM is in. The assessment was that he is still undependable on passing plays as he seems to have decision making difficulty on blocking and has technique shortcomings when receiving the ball. So,when they want a full spectrum package on the field – DW is the guy.

    This could be a fatal flaw against the increasingly good defenses we will see in the second half. We need RM to be able to take on those big DL and LBs, who will eventually hurt DW, and we need him to be a player in the pass game (remember the first play of the year). Plus, if we can create uncertainty when he is on the field it can only help the running and passing game.