Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) is tackled by Denver Broncos defensive end Jeremy Mincey (57) in the first quarter during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Offense Stumbled Without Ryan Mathews in Running Game


With Ryan Mathews hobbling, the Chargers were unable to execute their game plan on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Mathews has been a big reason for the team’s late run at the regular season, but his busted ankle was too much for him to overcome and we suffered on offense because of it.

Without Ryan Mathews, the Chargers don’t have another back on the roster to make plays in the running game like he does. Ronnie Brown is not that guy anymore. Brown is a running back just like Danny Woodhead, but slower. He made that big run against the Cincinnati Bengals, but that was an outlier in his production.

Danny Woodhead is a 3rd down back and is best used in a pass first offense. With Ryan Mathews out for most of the game, the team probably should have let it fly earlier. Woodhead will pick up the blitz and can make plays in the passing game, but he is not a featured back. He picks up a lot of running yards on draw plays.

There never was a proper replacement for Ryan Mathews on the roster. If Ryan was unable to play, the running game was going to suck.

Ryan Mathews had a phenomenal season for the Chargers. He took on the role as the featured back on the team, but the injuries finally caught up to him at a time we needed him the most. This offseason, we will need to find someone that can pick things up if Ryan has to take some time off. We need to find a running back that can take the role of the featured back. Ronnie Brown is not the answer.

We should be looking at the draft in the later rounds at the running back position. We need someone that can help carry the load in that department. Hoping for a speedy recovery for Ryan Mathews and look forward to what he can do for the team next season.

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

    Rest that ankle RM24! You did great, son! Now go get us another RB, TT!

    • tubbs45

      Seriously!!! RM did have a great season, but we need another reliable RB, not just for short screen passes, but that can pound the rock. With Woodhead, Mathews, and TBD we would have some serious running fire power.

      • Daryl Peek

        Agreed. Another RB would be nice! I still want RM24 as our feature but Brown is not the answer as his back up. Time for a new FB also. Actually they got McClain’s replacement already. I forgot his name but I know he was signed to a futures contract last week.

    • arnie

      I learned RM24 has been playing on a high ankle sprain. They take 4-6 weeks to heal.

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

        I know. I just didn’t want to admit it. I don’t want to hear shit next season. He carried this team on his back. Bet his momma is proud. I am.

        • arnie

          Agreed.

  • Stefanie Smith

    I know this is an article about Mathews, but what happened to Melvin? Never saw him do much of anything nor did I hear his name.

    • tubbs45

      No one on the DL or the OLB got to the QB. Manning did do a phenomenal job for the first 3 quarters of calling out blitz protections and even emphasizing weddle when he’d sneak up, he’d call out weddle as the mike linebacker…

  • boltingindiego

    i think it was a combo of missing rm24 and clary

  • PakMaN

    I don’t blame RM24, I blame whisenhunt. That son of a bitch was interviewing on SATURDAY. That is why our offense was uncharacteristically DEAD until 4th quarter. Piece of fucking shit, I hope he gets canned after the first year in Detroit.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      but… the players didn’t execute. ladarius green missed a catch that went right through his hands. The running game could not get anything going and any time philip went back to pass, he had defenders on his lap.

      • boltingindiego

        i agree both things are to blame nothing was clicking in the 1st 3 quarters play calling and execution.

        • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

          combination of the two… plus the Broncos beat us at our own game of holding onto the football and we were never able to establish a rhythm…. we were on the sideline forever

  • Daryl Peek

    The only thing I blame the coaching staff for from yesterdays game is sticking with the run game too long knowing RM24 was not 100. That was absolutely un-excusable.

    There were a few plays that doomed us IMO. The first and most important being the dropped Int by Wright. That set the tone for the off balance first half IMO. Denver came out fired up and was punching us in the mouf but had Wright caught that gift Manning presented him it would have took 7 points off the board and changed the early momentum.

    Troutman getting beat by SP90 when the Donkeys were in a three man rush was a crucial moment also. That sack seemed to fuel the pass rush feeding frenzy of Denver. Can’t get beat 3 against 5 like that. Ladarius Green’s dropped pass was another momentum killer.

    Bottom line, these young bucks were rattled by the enormity of the big stage. Again Denver came out hitting hard on both sides of the line of scrimmage and we did not match the intensity. The sixth man seemed to be a factor also. Lets hope those that are retained keep this taste in their mouth as a hash lesson learned and use it to fuel the fire for next season.

    Disappointed because I felt this group had the stuff but not mad at the season given we overachieved beginnings expectation. No moral victory, just a stepping stone. GO BOLTS

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      agreed with the momentum killers. Had early chances to change momentum, but couldnt make the play when we needed it.