San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has only one 1,000 rushing season during his short career. He’s on pace to achieve that goal again this season. With 782 yards and counting, Mathews has played liked the runner the Chargers envisioned he would become when they selected him in the 2010 NFL Draft.
In 2011, Mathews rushed for a career-high 1,090 yards in just 14 games for the Chargers. In just 12 games this season, Mathews is close to the 800-yard mark, with home games against the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs still to go. More than meeting that goal, however, is the fact that the Chargers are going to need Mathews’ powerful legs to help them win games down the final stretch of the season.
The Chargers are ranked 21st in the league in rushing. That will have to improve over the course of the next four games if San Diego wants to sniff out a playoff berth. Mathews rushed for just 61 yards on 14 carries in a 17-10 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.
If Mathews go for 100 yards or more during the next four games, the Charges stand a great chance of running the table, and could be looking at a postseason appearance. As great as quarterback Philip Rivers has played this season (MVP in any other year), Mathews’ play will be critical for the Chargers’ chances of making it in the playoffs.