5 Good Things: SD Chargers at NE Patriots

Whoops, broke your ankles. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Ryan Mathews
Let's get through the stats first.

First 2 games of 2010: 25 carries, 104 rush yards, 3 rec, 31 rec yards, 2 fumbles
First 2 games of 2011: 24 carries, 109 rush yards, 10 rec, 135 rec yards, 1 TD

Can I first point out something? Ryan Mathews lost 3 fumbles in all of 2010, and only 1 after his first 2 games. Bam Bam has played in 14 career regular-season games, and in the last 12 he's lost exactly 1 fumble. That fumbling problem might be a little overblown.

Second, it's silly that anyone is surprised at how well Mathews has been running the ball. It's quite literally the same way he ran the ball in his rookie season. The only difference this year seems to be that he's inherited Darren Sproles' old job of the RB that's really dangerous when you throw the ball to him and get him in space. He had his second straight very-good game, and it even included some strong pass-blocking in the 4th quarter.

Vincent Jackson, or Mr. Jackson if you're nasty
10 catches. 172 receiving yards. 2 touchdowns. The logical side of my brain thinks that Bill Belichick and the Patriots decided "We'll take away Antonio Gates and see if Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson can beat us on their own." However, I think they were at least trying to make Vincent Jackson not look like the best WR on the planet. In that regard, they failed.

After his second TD catch, I tweeted "Vincent Jackson, please take all of my money." I mean it. With Gates' never-ending foot injury and Malcom Floyd being Malcom Floyd, Jackson is becoming the only reliable weapon in the passing game for the Chargers. Rivers survived last year without him because Antonio Gates was so good, but if both of them are gone and/or ineffective.....well, it's not good.

 

Antonio Garay
It's hard to put d-linemen on these lists because they don't do much in the way of stats, but Garay racked up 6 tackles (that's a lot for a d-linemen, especially going up against a pass-heavy offense) and seemed to be causing trouble at the line of scrimmage quite often. I'm very happy to see that Antonio's 2010 doesn't appear to be a fluke, and that he'll continue to be a near-dominant Nose Tackle for a while.

 

Special Teams

Kick Return TDs given up vs Patriots: 0
Punt Return TDs given up vs Patriots: 0
Blocked Punts given up vs Patriots: 0

Take a bow, Mr. Bisaccia.

 

and since nobody else on the Chargers deserved to be called 'good' yesterday.....

Ron Rivera and Rob Chudzinski
I'm going to try really hard not to sound bitter here. Ron Rivera and Chud are great guys, and beloved at Chargers Park. Everyone, myself included, is very happy to see Chud having the success he's having calling plays and developing Cam Newton into a real QB. I'm also happy to see Rivera have success as a Head Coach, because it's an opportunity that he's been deserving of for a long time.

Sure, the Carolina Panthers have started the season off 0-2, but they've played two good teams hard and close. That's about as much as anybody could've asked for, and the future looks bright in Carolina.

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