Offense Stumbled Without Ryan Mathews in Running Game

By Ernie Padaon

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

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.