SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Ryan Matthews #24 of the San Diego Chargers runs past a tackle for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during their NFL Game on September 25, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
149 total yards, 2 TDs. That makes Bam Bam 3-for-3 this season in amassing 100+ total yards in a game this season. So much for the talk about Ryan being out of shape and childish. In the second half of the game, I said out loud that "Mathews is carrying this team on his back." It felt weird to say, but it was true. If the Chargers won in spite of Philip Rivers, they won because of Ryan Mathews.
Although it happened because of Mike Tolbert's injury, Mathews getting 25 touches against Tolbert's 7 felt right. It felt like a faster-paced, more dangerous ground attack. Ryan's speed really does a lot to cover up some of the holes in the O-line's run blocking, which makes me wonder if those holes weren't always there and just covered up by LaDainian Tomlinson's quickness before he declined.
I don't know about you, but I was pretty nervous about Novak kicking important FGs in this game. Luckily, nobody is mentioning Novak's name today. When you're a Kicker, that means you've done your job. Not only did he knock FGs from 35 yards and 41 yards through the center of the uprights, but he showed off a strong leg on his kickoffs as well.
Eric followed up a pretty poor game against the Patriots, where he struggled to cover Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, with a pretty great game against the Chiefs. He provided solid coverage downfield, and created the only turnover of the game for the Chargers defense. You can tell that he wasn't needed to play too big of a role in the run game because he finished with a low-for-him 3 tackles, but when the Chargers defense needed their leader he was there.
Playing with a Lead
The Chargers scored the first points of this game and never lost the lead, even if they got close. This is not a methodology that the team is familiar with, so it's good for them to get some practice at it.
Lead the team with 8 tackles and looks more comfortable on the field with each passing week. Butler looked decisive and strong, certainly not like a rookie playing with a recently-repaired
ACL Achilles, and played his best game as a pro. He had one of two times when the Chiefs exploited him in zone coverage, but he'll learn from that. He's showing real potential to become the all-around ILB that the Chargers coaches think he can become.