With Ryan Mathews having missed so much time and the confidence existing in his backfield mates, the Chargers were committed to a rotation at the position, possibly to a fault. Mathews was rotated out following a 19-yard run in the second quarter, and the drive stalled shortly thereafter with a quarterback Philip Rivers interception on third-and-goal.
For that matter, Mathews spent much of the second quarter on the sideline, as the Chargers were in their two-minute offense to end it.
He was the offense's central point to begin the third quarter, capped the team's opening drive with a 32-yard touchdown. The scoring run was the longest of his career.
Mathews exited with a shoulder injury when at least one player, perhaps two, fell on top of him. He returned late in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers are committed to keep Mathews fresh and healthy, although that didn't seem to help this week. But they want Donald Brown and now Branden Oliver to get their work so Mathews is ready to go at key parts of the game, and perhaps more importantly, in the playoffs. Mathews was banged up last year after a stretch of 20-plus carries to end the season and wasn't himself in the postseason. As a result, Mathews' fantasy value will likely be capped, but so far he's making the most of his touches. It's also not a friendly SOS pretty much the rest of the season.
Sunday, November 16, 2014, 2:41pm
Chargers every-down running back Ryan Mathews is expected to return and practice this week.
Having all the injured playmakers back should give the San Diego Chargers, losers of three straight, a boost on both sides of the ball. But don’t tell that to Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, who said the rest of the team has to play better in order for those injured players to have an impact on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
“Ryan Mathews does not guarantee us 200 yards rushing,” McCoy said. “It’s the other 10 guys on the field that have to do their jobs better. We’ve talked about that as a football team. We ran the ball fairly well with No. 43 (Branden Oliver) back there plenty of times. We won five games without these guys."
Everyone seems to agree that Mathews will at least bring a physical presence back to the running game. Mathews could be eased back into a normal workload against the Raiders, but it seems reasonable to expect 15-18 carries a game for Mathews when he's back up to speed. Oliver could very well take on a Danny Woodhead-like role, but also proved a capable back to spell Mathews. Donald Brown was supposed to be that guy as the team looked to keep Mathews fresh for the playoffs. Mathews is certainly worth grabbing if he's still on your wire.
Friday, October 31, 2014, 5:43pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 9. Brown makes his return after missing more than three weeks with a concussion. His presence will put a dent in Branden Oliver’s workload, though we expect Oliver to remain the lead back.
Thursday, October 30, 2014, 6:15pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) took full practice reps again Thursday. It looks like Brown is on track to play in Week 9. His presence will put a dent in Branden Oliver’s workload, though we expect Oliver to remain the lead back.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 6:48pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Wednesday. It looks like Brown is on track to play in Week 9. His presence will put a dent in Branden Oliver’s workload, though we expect Oliver to remain the lead back.
He knew he wouldn't face the Jaguars or the Jets, the Raiders or the Chiefs. It became clear, well in advance of Thursday night, he wouldn't be active against the Broncos either. This next game, Nov. 2 in Miami, is different. For the first time, there seems a chance he could play.
"That's in my head," Mathews said Friday. "I'm just going keep doing my treatment this week, come back on Monday, and see what they say."
The Chargers running back missed his sixth straight game Thursday night to a right knee injury. He sprained his medial collateral ligament Sept. 14 against the Seahawks. Mathews is nearing a return, unlikely to miss more than one additional game, if that, the story said. If he plays Nov. 2, he could be eased in, but perhaps the thing to note is if Mathews is on your wire, now may be the time to pick him up. Branden Oliver hasn't been impressive rushing the ball the last two weeks, so there's a good chance Mathews slides right back into his RB1 role. Oliver did catch seven passes Thursday night against Denver so he's still likely to have a role in the offense. Donald Brown is also expected to practice next week.
For the Broncos, RB Ronnie Hillman continues to fill in for an injured Ball. Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson will work behind him. Rookie WR Cody Latimer is active for the Broncos for the first time in a while, though we're not expecting much production from the rookie with the entire Denver receiving corps healthy and accounted for.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 6:13pm
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 2:42pm
RB Branden Oliver will again receive a heavy workload with Mathews and Brown out.
Friday, October 17, 2014, 6:20pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 7. Brown is still in the league’s concussion protocol. Branden Oliver should have the San Diego backfield all to himself in Week 8.
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6:18pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Brown is still in the league’s concussion protocol. If he sits out again, Branden Oliver will have the San Diego backfield all to himself in Week 8.
Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:13pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 6. With Brown out, Branden Oliver is a strong play against a shaky Raiders defense. The Chargers recently signed Ronnie Brown as a Plan C and Shaun Draughn looms as another possible committee member if the Chargers continue their trend of spreading touches around their backfield. We like Oliver this week given his recent play and generous matchup against Oakland.
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 6:46pm
Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Brown seems very doubtful to make it through the concussion protocol. If he’s out, Branden Oliver would become an even stronger play. The Chargers recently signed Ronnie Brown as a Plan D.
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