Ryan Mathews is awesome. That's our silver lining. Despite limited touches this season, he's proven that he's every bit the Pro Bowl RB this season that he was last season.
Mathews is averaging over 6 yards per touch this season, which is a really good number to be at for a running back. Does he have some issues with fumbling? Yes, but as we've discussed here before, he's fumbling less each year. Does he have a hard time staying healthy? Yes, but sometimes you just have to ride the guy and see how much you can get out of him (ala Jamaal Charles, Michael Vick).
I think it's time for a change in offensive philosophy in San Diego. Philip Rivers is not an elite QB, he's a great QB that is going to turn the ball over if you throw too much. Let me show you something.
2008: 312/478, 4,009 pass yds, 34 pass TDs, 11 INTs
2011: 366/582, 4,624 pass yds, 27 pass TDs, 20 INTs
Philip Rivers number of pass attempts has gone up every single year since 2007. 2008 was his best season, and 2011 was his worst. Rivers is again on pace for 500+ pass attempts. The Chargers have never made the playoffs with Rivers throwing the ball more than 500 times in a season. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
I don't want to say that Rivers should be a "game manager" QB, but he should be in more of an Joe Flacco-type role than a Drew Brees one. Both Rivers and Flacco have the skills to be efficient QBs that can make the big throw, but they work best when the running game and defense are the focal point of the team's gameplan.
I've had enough of waiting for Philip Rivers to carry the Chargers to the Super Bowl on his back. It's time the load is shared. Ryan Mathews can not continue to average 16 touches a game. He ends up putting up "elite" stats for what would amount to a half of football, but that's not enough. This is your first round draft pick, one you moved up in the draft to make sure to get. He can handle the weight of being the star of the offense instead of a bit player. This isn't Darren Sproles.
From here on out, despite who the Left Tackle is, I think the Chargers need to become a different offensive team. San Diego needs to RUN MOAR, and pass more to it's star running back. They need to get the ball in Ryan Mathews' hands 25+ times per game, and they need to take Rivers' pass attempts from down below 30 per game. It's the only way that this team is going anywhere and if Norv isn't going to do it, I hope the next Head Coach will be smart enough to.