The San Diego Chargers officially entered their Sunday Night Football showdown against the New Orleans Saints with Jackie Battle as the starting running back. No disrespect meant to Battle but the Chargers need a star at the position and were hoping that Ryan Mathews could come off the bench and flash the potential stardom that he was hyped up to have prior to being injured in the preseason.
After a slow start, Mathews did just that.
Mathews rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also contributed in the passing game with six catches for 59 yards. The performance caught the eye of head coach Norv Turner and brought Mathews out of the Chargers dog house.
“Ryan was outstanding,” Turner said. “Everything I’ve said about him in the offseason, everytime he’s had adversity, he’s come back stronger. People want to count him out or say, ‘Hey, you can’t count on this guy,’ but he’s come back stronger.”
As he continued with his praise of Mathews, Turner hinted that Mathews could be headed for an increased workload.
“You can’t ask for more than he gave tonight,” Turner said. “I told him the Wednesday we met after the Atlanta game, I expect him to be one of the league’s leading rushers.”
If Mathews is fed the ball early and often for the Chargers in the coming weeks, it will be great news for fantasy owners that took him with an early draft pick in their draft and have been disappointed with the lack of early production.