Since Ryan Mathews has returned to the field from his injury, the San Diego Chargers have not lost a game. I don’t think that is a coincidence. All the credit can’t go to Ryan, but part of the resurgence is because he is on the field. The team relies on the run game to set things up on offense. Even though Ryan may not get 20 touches in a game, the team relies on him to be a threat.
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Since returning from his injury, Ryan has averaged 5.37 yards per carry and he has scored a touchdown in 2 of the 3 games. 5.37 yards per carry! Defenses have to respect him when he is on the field. If teams are looking to stop the run game, that just opens things up for Philip and the passing game. If they keep looking to stop the pass game, then Ryan can run wild. There is balance.
I have said this over and over again on Ryan’s running style: he doesn’t lose yards. Any time he gets the ball, he is moving forward and sets up a manageable situation for the offense. Another trait about Ryan’s style: if you keep feeding him, he will eventually break loose for a big chunk of yards. All those carries for short gains will eventually set him up for a big time gain. Against the Baltimore Ravens, Ryan didn’t get a ton of opportunities to run the ball but he still found a 14-yard chunk for a touchdown. Just keep feeding the beast.
The team still has not given Ryan more than 20 carries in a game this season. It will be coming. With the Chargers facing off against Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the next pair of games, the Chargers will look to dominate the clock and keep the ball in the hands of the offense. That means we could see Ryan get a healthy share of the work.