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
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!