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Ryan Mathews Delivers Again

Posted Dec 29, 2013

With two Chiefs chasing him to the sideline, Ryan Mathews slowed down ever so slightly.

It wasn't because he was gassed or evading a hit.  Mathews wanted to do to these defenders what he's been doing to his detractors all season -- pushing them aside, and running hard.

Mathews' first-quarter stiff arm induced a mini-riot at Qualcomm Stadium when it capped his 44-yard run.  His reputation as a running back who couldn't handle the grind of a full season was pushed further out of memory with each screaming fan.

"It feels good, but it wasn't just me," said Mathews. "I've said it a thousand times before; it's the big guys in the front.  My job is easy when you have guys in the front willing to risk their bodies week in and week out to give me five yards a play."

Those same big guys were quick to turn the credit back to the Bolts' newest record-holder, though.  Mathews holds the eighth-best rushing season in team history after his 144 yard day against the Chiefs.  He's notched a run of 20 yards or more in three straight weeks.

And on top of it hall, Mathews has topped 100 rushing yards in six games -- rivaled only by Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.

Today's 100-yard effort wasn't easy.  Philip Rivers said the Chiefs had a level of familiarity with the Chargers after their earlier meeting; even with top defenders like Derrick Johnson and Dontari Poe held out, the opposing defense was stout against the Bolts’ attack.

It showed in an adverse situation today. After delivering the stiff arm to end that 44-yard scamper, Mathews tallied just three yards per carry.

But Mathews stayed determined.  And with 13:54 in the fourth quarter, he rattled a 20-yard run that put the Bolts in position to pull within a field goal.

He showed restraint as he waited for his blocks to develop on the right side of the line.  And when they did, he cut quickly off the hip of one "big guy" and exploded ahead for 20 crucial yards.

That's what McCoy loves about Mathews. He's quiet and quick to share the praise, but after last week's win against the Raiders, Mike McCoy singled Mathews out for his grit and determination. 

The coach praised Mathews' team-first attitude.  You'll never hear Ryan Mathews complain about a lack of carries, but when he gets his chance, he's a threat to rifle off a big run -- or a bigger stiff-arm -- every time.

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